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SuperContainer for Dummies


Jarvis
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I have some very rudimentary questions about SuperContainer.

I hope someone will be patient enough to answer them.

I am not real conversant about computers in general. I make my living as a cabinetmaker. I dabble in filemaker

I presently communicate remotely with my shop via shared space on a webserver.

I pay an organization $80 per month and they allow me to upload databases onto their serve.

I store PDF drawings and jpegs in container fields in the databases and the guys in the shop print their drawings from these PDFs.

These PDFs and jpegs are currently embedded in the container field. I have to be careful to not let the file get too big

because the database gets unstable or goes takes forever to download.

I would like to be able to keep all of my files always on the database so there is just one place to go to find or retrieve archived drawings.

I am thinking I could do this if the data in the container field was stored as a reference file instead of embedded directly.

SuperContainer seems like the solution for me but I don't know what is needed from here.

Can somebody list the basic ingredients to accomplish this?

MY QUESTIONS:

1) Where does SuperContainer reside?

2) Do I need a dedicated computer to host Supercontainer or can I just park it on a client station at my shop?

3) Do I need to have a Filemaker Server license in addition to SuperContainer?

4) Can I subdivide folders within SuperContainer?

5) Does SuperContainer keep track of filepaths for the referenced documents? i.e. if I move them from folder to folder can I still point to them?

6) How does this concept of thumbnails work? Am I just downloading pictures of files or am I accessing the stored file itself?

7) Do I need to have advanced programming skills to make this all happen?

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1) Where does SuperContainer reside?

SuperContainer is deployed on a single machine. I recommend deploying it on your FileMaker server. I'm not sure from your post if you are actually connecting to filemaker server or just mounting a share on your computer. Be warned that if you are just mouting a share and accessing a database directly that you are risking corruption if another user tries to access the same database file.

2) Do I need a dedicated computer to host Supercontainer or can I just park it on a client station at my shop?

No, you do not need a dedicated computer. I recommend installing it as part of your FileMaker server, but it can also run on a different machine.

3) Do I need to have a Filemaker Server license in addition to SuperContainer?

The filemaker server deployment is one deployment option, but it is not necessary. You can run in stand-alone mode or deploy it as part of a Tomcat installation. If you have multiple people accessing the same database I recommend using FileMaker server to host your file to avoid database corruption (not related to SuperContainer), though you still don't need filemaker server in order to use SuperContainer.

4) Can I subdivide folders within SuperContainer?

You can have as many directories as you like, though directories are more for your database calculations rather than presenting information to your users. Your users should not have access to your SuperContainer storage location, and your paths and folders will probably be ID numbers, and wouldn't be useful to your users anyway. SuperConainer is like a replacement for container fields. It uses a path on your server to store the files, but you should not access your files through the path.

This is similar to how if you hosted a website you would have your users access your website through a URL, rather than having them mount your server and navigate through your system to reach your index.html file. The files of a website are in folders, but the users of the website do not access or see the folders.

5) Does SuperContainer keep track of filepaths for the referenced documents? i.e. if I move them from folder to folder can I still point to them?

Supercontainer doesn't track any filepaths at all, and you probably won't see or access the filepaths that it does use to move files around. SuperContainer is like a replacement for a container field in your FileMaker database. Rather than adding a container field you will make a calculation to create a URL to your SuperContainer server which will be where your file is store on your server. since you have access to your server you would technically have the ability to move files between folders, but you database wouldn't know about

6) How does this concept of thumbnails work? Am I just downloading pictures of files or am I accessing the stored file itself?

When you view the file in the webviewer SuperContiner automatically generates a preview image for you which is the size of the webviewer. If you save the file to your computer you are saving the original, full-size file.

7) Do I need to have advanced programming skills to make this all happen?

Not really, though the concept of how SuperContainer works can be a bit difficult to grasp initially. Really all you need to do is calculate a URL which uses your record ID as part of a calculation field in your database, and then point a web viewer to that calculation. You don't actually need to install the SuperContianer Companion Plgin unless you want to do some of the more advanced scripting, such as batch uploads or downloads.

You can download a demo of SuperContainer and try everything out at http://360works.com/SuperContainer/. I recommend reading the documentation and looking at the example files.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Newbies

hope you don't mind me adding my two pence worth here

Smef's answers are nice and clear here (to the questions asked)

however i have read the documentation, played with the example file (bought the product) and still floundering

this could be of course that i am dense and inept, or

at least partly, the documentation is written by and for(?) more advanced techie types

but isn't filemaker and the mac system in general mean't to be easier for the user

either with straightforward installs or blow by blow instructions

Love the plugin, don't have any problems except getting it installed on a server

without having to spend a weeks worth of time to do it..........

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Note that we offer SuperContainer hosting, included with all of our FileMaker-type hosting accounts. You do need to purchase your own SuperContainer license, of course.

We install the software as its own stand-alone Tomcat instance for maximum flexibility and stability, then hand you your administrative login and you go from there. No need to dabble in server-install land.

Have a look at our services at:

http://www.pointinspace.com/

and let me know if you have any questions either here or off-list to jmay(at)pointinspace.com. Thanks!

- John

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