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Help understanding requirements and capabilites


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Hey all,

I am trying to determine what the best solution is for our company given some requirement by my boss regarding a database. Basically, he wants something that he can download to a laptop and bring to a client, have all the data there, perhaps enter new stuff and then sync up with the database at the office. However, he would also like to if possible have the database web-accessible. The company is mostly Mac with some PC's and he uses a Mac, but we need something that's compatible with both. From what I have gathered from my research we could do a couple of things. We could set up kind of a dual system and use SQL Server on our current host and built a front end in Cold Fusion or ASP and then we could periodically sync this data with a local version of Filemaker Pro and also build a seperate front end for the data in that to just use on our local network/mobile laptops. Or, perhaps there are hosting autfits out there that offer FM database for a low monthly fee? And perhaps we could sync a local version of FM with one hosted by this theoretical ISP? I'm sorry, but within all the FAQ's on Filemaker's site, it is hard to actually determine the various options one would have. I'm wondering if either of these are conceivable or if there are other easier ways of going about this? Also, what do we need here locally in order to accomplish this? Can we all share one FM database by simply have 6 or 7 copies of FM, or do we need a Server in order to handle the sharing? I understand the Unlimited version is only for web serving, so I'm fairly confident we would not be dealing with that unless we signed up with a hosting service that utilized this. Anyway, I'm sorry about all these questions, but I'm a bit befuddled with all the aspects of FM, having only experience dealing with SQL Server, Access, and Cold Fusion, Perl, JavaScript, etc... Thanks for any help!

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Dan, thanks! One thing that no one has addressed yet was my question concerning hosting companies out there providing accounts where you would share their copy of FM Unlimited in order for clients to serve their databases over the web, in the same way that hosts share boxes with Cold Fusion Server or IIS and SQL Server? If such sites exist, is there a list of them? What kind of pricing should I expect?

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Basically, he wants something that he can download to a laptop and bring to a client, have all the data there, perhaps enter new stuff and then sync up with the database at the office. However, he would also like to if possible have the database web-accessible.

From these requirements it looks like FM will do the job.

The company is mostly Mac with some PC's and he uses a Mac, but we need something that's compatible with both.

Still, FM is your tool..

You are asking alot of questions, without giving much detail as to what you really want the database to do. Are you building the database from scratch or are you building on to an existing database? Filemaker can't be used as a front end to SQL.

As to sharing the database between 7 people, depending on the size of your DB and your budget, you could either just buy 7 copies of FM and all share one database, but a better option for sharing a database with any more than 3 clients would be to also get FM server. If the server also had a net connection you could access the data from anywhere on the net using the IP number.

I hope this helps alittle.

Jerry

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Jerry, thanks for your reply. Sorry I wasn't very clear. We currently do not have the databases set up, they need to be developed. We are looking for some fairly simple stuff like listing contacts, resources, etc., but also some things that may require a bit more complexity like project management. This leads me to an additional question which I didn't get to in my last question regarding the flat-file nature of FM. Can this get in the way? With SQL Server, I do not set up relationships within the database, but rather use Cold Fusion to enforce these. Is there a similar workaround for creating relational-type methodology within FM? The ability to serve over the net does appeal, but we are running DSL right now with no external IP's and I'm not sure whether our ISP can provide these, so I will have to check on that. As far as not being able to use FM as a front end to SQL Server, I understand this, but couldn't you import and export data between the two via odbc, thus creating a mirroring of sorts between them?

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