I work for a non profit organization that is looking to publish our filemaker pro database online to our website. would server be the best software to purchase to have a professional, intuitive and interactive "collections" database? I am experienced in html, php, and java, so the technical side of the matter is not the issue, I was just hoping to get some insight into how comprehensive server is for this, or if there were better alternatives.
just for an idea, there would be a collections link on the main website. then have that organized by region, alphabetically, artist name, etc. then within each of those choices have a more detailed list view for all the items that fall within that category, and then finally have the single item viewed, with an image and much more detailed information. Do I have the right software with Server? Thank you for any insight that you can provide.
Filemaker provides a number of different ways to access information over the web. The solution that is right for you will depend in large part on (1) How much you want to integrate the database into your existing website while maintaining the same design pattern and (2) How many simultaneous users of the system you anticipate.
I know this is not you, but people with limited web design skills, a limited budget and who have a limited number of simultaneous users accessing the db over the web should look at Filemaker's Instant Web Publishing (IWP). This aspect of the Filemaker allows you to put your database online with no web design needed. The look of your database as presented by Filemaker is largely maintained - but it probably will not match the design of your website.
With IWP, there are some limitations on which script functions will run and the types of fields to which you can upload data, but in most cases it will work a lot like the UI on your Filemaker screens.
IWP can be low cost as it runs on Filemaker Pro for up to 5 simultaneous users. If you need more access than that and want to use IWP, you don't need Server - it doesn't support IWP. You need to go all the way to Server Advanced for support of up to 100 IWP users.
The other hosting option - that is favored most professional Filemaker developers - is to create PHP pages that access for FM database via either Server or Server Advanced. PHP based hosting will not work with FM Pro.
Server will support up to 250 web users at once. Server Advanced is theoretically unlimited in the number of users it will handle.
Both Server and Server Advanced provide a PHP Site Assistant that will help you generate these pages with little PHP design knowledge. The tradeoff is the the design will not likely match that of your website, so to keep the look and feel consistent some changes in the PHP and CSS will be required. Since you have skills in this area, you should have no problems either modifying the generated PHP or creating your own pages.