Unanswered: Accessing FMP data via the web - when site is hosted???
I have looked at the documentation, searched the FM sites and forums and i'm still missing something. so i'll just ask the direct question:
my website is hosted on a hosting service. the server is running Linux with Apache web server software. exactly how can i make my database live in on this server? and how do web people access it? where does the filemaker application go? can this even be done in this circumstance?
all the directions *seem* to assume that i have my web server right here in my office, running windows or mac, and filemaker application is running on the same box.
do i have to have a hosting site running windows IIS? seems like opening up a channel (as if i know how do do that) through our cable router and network router to run a web server in our office is inviting all the worms and virii to just come on over - i'd rather do my business than try to keep up with all the patches/firewalls/maintenances it takes to run a web server in-house. my partner would raise all eyebrows if i suggested we get a mac server - since the mac's aren't victimized by windows worms...
To host your FileMaker data at a hosting facility, they'll need to provide you with a dedicated server on which they'll need to install and configure FileMaker Pro Unlimited. Most hosting facilities will do this for you, albeit a hefty rate (usually $100-$150/mo USD). There are also other hosting facilities that specialize in hosting FileMaker solutions - I'd opt for one of those, as the price will be roughly the same but the support would probably be much better as they'd have more experience with FileMaker (which behaves quite differently than web apps or services). Either way, your data files would have to reside at the colo (co-location), meaning you couldn't run the FMP system in house AND on the web and expect them to remain synced. Alternatively, if the colo offers citrix hosting as well, then you could access your FMP files that are hosted at the colo using Citrix (it would feel like FileMaker was actually installed and running on your desktop but it would actually be running on the colo's server - the performance would be exceptionally good if you have at least a high speed dsl connection at your office).
If you do choose to do the hosting in-house, I'd highly recommend a PC over a Mac because (a) FMP runs much faster on PCs than Macs (I don't fully understand why, but I've heard several technical explanations which I've forgotten, but more importantly I've personally experienced the difference in performance) and (b) Macs are more error prone with FileMaker than PCs (PCs will generally give you more uptime) and (c) If you use a mac, and your application gets pushed to the background (instead of being the foreground application) then your performance will slow to less than a crawl.
Re Accessing FMP data via the web - when site is hosted???
I have used FM for more than ten years. A friend asked me a year ago to help her put a database backed website together. I have since learned that putting a FM database on line can be simple, easy, confusing and frustrating.
Simple (if you will have simple databases, simple users, few users, and simple expectations.
Instant Web Publishing....
Open FM 4 or greater, put your database in the Web Folder in the FM folder, activate the Web Companion, configure the Web Companion to port 80 or 591, connect to the internet (or intranet), open the databases, let people know that it is available and how to connect.
If you do not want to use the default html that will be generated by FM, or if you are going to have a larger number of users (per 24 hour period), or if you want to mix your html with the database's information.
You will need to design a Custom Website with CDML (or Lasso) code in the webpages to access the database information.
Custom Web Publishing...
During the search for a ISP to host the site, we visited www.digitalforest.net in Kirkland, WA and was given a tour of their server farm.
This is where we are planning to put the Website. It is not done - the design is solid, it is the database and CDML that is holding it up.
BTW, Lasso is definitely the most popular choice for web scripting FileMaker, but did you know you can also use ASP, PHP, and probably others as well? PHP works particularly well with the FX class that Chris Hansen wrote (free at www.iviking.org ).
Thanks for your link - I found it very useful indeed and have bookmarked it as well!
Howdy! I have heard of FileMaker problems on both platforms on another Forum I am on and no one has come up with anything definitive that I can recall. We use FileMaker Pro, Unlimited v.5.5 on a 300MHz G3 beige desktop running Mac OS X 10.2.6 and have been very happy, although we had had crash problems on Mac OS 9 when running for extended periods of time. Our temp solution was to have the computer re-boot every morning at 3am and we almost never had problems. Now that we are on OS X, we still get an unexpected quit every month or two, but it's not bad and not worth us auto re-booting every day using CRON in unix. FileMaker has relatively modest needs and can do well on humble systems.
One Windows user (NT, I think) I know of has been running his FMP server continually for a year or two without problems, but I do not think this is typical. If you know macs, I'd say go mac. Oh, BTW.. Mac OS X is an Apple version of Unix based on BSD. They all come with Apache pre-installed as a "personal" web server but it's the real deal and can act as your backup or alternate webserver, too. You have to decide which one will serve on port 80 though. You can even load Apache modules for php, perl, mySQL, etc.
IMO, a more siginificant consideration is what you are serving. FMP is not the most secure web server and if you are collecting confidential information or performing financial transactions, you would need a good tech person to take care of all that jazz you mentioned eariler, plus deal with SSL. In addition to a static IP, FileMaker Pro, Unlimited will be required, too, and that's not cheap. If you want to test before you buy, use your client version of FMP to serve your db... it's pretty much exactly the same as Unlimited but it is restricted to something like 10 IP addresses in a 12-hour period... performance should be the same.
Good luck! If you have the $$ and no time to deal with it all yourself, go w/Mariano's suggestion of co-hosting or finding a host w/FMP services. Either way, play with what you've got and see if you like it. --ST