Join Cris Ippolite for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring FileMaker WebDirect, part of FileMaker 13 New Features.
Sharing your database on FileMaker WebDirect is pretty easy. Setting up the server for FileMaker WebDirect only takes a few minutes and once your server's configured and your database is uploaded. And if you have enough connections available to be able to connect to WebDirect then all you have to do is go onto the web and open up your database. So first, how do you get to the FileMaker WebDirect homepage? That's really the first place where you start. So the FileMaker database homepage allows web users to open up their browser and then click on the file, and that's how they interact with database.
If you look here in my browser window, I've got an IP address. This is the IP address of the FileMaker server followed by a \fmi /webd w e b d and you see a pound after that but that gets filled in if you don't put the webd in. So once you do that you'll see the FileMaker WebDirect homepage. If you don't, that means that you likely don't have the web server running, the web publishing engine might not be running or the web server might not be running.
Or potentially if all of those are running, then, a, you need to turn on FileMaker WebDirect. You could also get to the FileMaker WebDirect home page and not see any files listed. You see here, we have one file listed, with a hyperlink to open it up. If you refresh you can see new files added, but if you don't see any that means that you don't have a database uploaded to FileMaker server, that has the FileMaker WebDirect extended privilege. Assigned to an active account. So, make sure that that checklist is in place before you do this. So, once you're here, you can click on a file name.
And, if the file name requires authentication, like this one does, you're going to be presented with an HTTP authentication dialogue. Here, I'll type in the user name. In this case it doesn't have a password, so I hit OK. And now we're being taken to the FileMaker database through FileMaker Web Direct. The first thing you'll notice is that this looks very much like the experience in FileMaker Pro. As a matter of fact if I open up this same database in FileMaker Pro, you see they look very similar. File Maker does a really good job of rendering these layouts.
And you can even see that the toolbar here looks very much like the toolbar in FileMaker Pro. After a while it kind of plays tricks on you. You won't be able to tell which one is which, although you do see that in File Maker Web Direct that the menu options that are available in FileMaker Pro. Those are embedded into the webpage portion of FileMaker WebDirect. So, first you can see that you can still navigate around, all your scripts are supported. As a matter of fact here I can even do a quick find. You'll see that the quickfind script is supported.
I've got a few different matching records so all the searching works. I can click on this. You can see that my active state highlight row works as well. Navigate over to a detail view and I can even add a new record by clicking the add record and you can see that you can still type information into the fields as normal. Now this is a big deal. You'll notice here this action is running part. That is an improvement over previous web technologies. Even with custom web polishing with PHP you have to enter a bunch of stuff into a form and then hit a button to submit it.
Well you don't have to do the submitting in FileMaker, because the information just automatically gets added to the database. That's a big part of this technology. But you will have to set some expectations with your users about what that message is when it appears on screen. So here you see that the value lists are supported. And you notice right there that I didn't get a message so it saved that there. And I can tab through the fields, enter information about websites and so on. All that in a pop over, which is great. And also down below here on the bottom, you'll notice I got another pop over, pop over here.
I've got portals here. I could pick the customers from portals. Another pop over. Looks a little bit different. You see the pop over has sort of this gray looking feel. That ones a little bit different than what we saw on the desktop. So all the adding and editing of records that you were used to in previous versions all that information is available to you here. You can even see that you can go under the records menu and duplicate records if you'd like and even delete records. You can also do that through this delete button here.
All of that happens in a very snappy fashion. And all of this happens in the web. And the second that I make a change to any of the data via the web, it's instantly available to all the users over on the database side. So for example, if I went in here and did a search for this one. Record. So, let's leave that one open. Now go into the same database. And FileMaker, WebDirect. And as you can see, we can search, in perform find. And it brings up the same record.
Well, watch when I go in here and I change artist to owner. I commit that change by closing my pop up. Watch over here in the data base after this window closes. So I see that, that information is stored here on FileMaker WebDirect. And back on the database, when I bring that back into focus, we see that the data has been updated. And it goes back both directions as well. If I change this to CEO. And commit. We go back to the database. We see that it's already been updated. So complete two way interaction between the browser users and the desktop users.
You be able to create the records, navigate throughout all your different records that you have on screen here and interact with container fields. So here you'll notice that. I can view this in full size. This isn't something that was scripted into the database. This is something that FileMaker WebDirect allows you to do to be able to view something in larger. I can also export field contents, so whatever the, the data is that's here in my database, I can save this to my desktop.
And by the way. This requires that you have your pop-up blocker turned off. I pulled this image out of the FileMaker WebDirect, it's pretty exciting, and I can also insert something into a container as well. All this is very welcome to a lot of FileMaker users so complete support for containers. You'll also notice that if we go to, let's say customers and we do a show all. Under file, I can export records. So I can say export, tests.
This of course is assuming that you've allowed you users the ability to export using the account that they've logged into. So here are the same supported text, text DBF merge and HTML table types that are available to us. We hit OK and, of course we can pick the fields that we want, hit Export, and it'll run that again in another pop up window. And all of those will show up in your downloads location. So here we go to downloads. Here's the test tabs. And the images as well.
Same thing is true for importing. You can choose a file and go to import, and you'll see a customized mapping screen, actually one that's probably a little bit easier to use than the one that's in FileMaker. And, you can add all the new records, and import them, and then those records will get added to your database. You also have the ability to sort data, you see, you've got this nice HTML5 based, sorting dialog where you can pick the different fields, you can choose ascending or descending order, even pick value lists to sort by if you want to.
You have the ability under the records menu to omit records, show omitted. And you'll notice that you've got this sort of pi chart looking found set indicator there. You've got the ability to go to specific records. Pretty much all the stuff that you're used to on the desktop you've got these available to you here in the web browser. You even have the ability to create. A link to a database, send to save records as a snapshot link. Can't do it as a PDF or an Excel, but you can do it as a snapshot link. So you hit snapshot link, and now you want to save this file to your downloads folder, and then you can attach that and email that to somebody.
And of course in find mode. All the same types of things like new request that you're used to. On the desktop, those are all available to you here as well. You can do omit. You can use your, your search operators. Delete request, add request. You can manage your requests here. And perform fines. With the same type of experience that everybody's used to on the desktop. You'll notice that view only browse mode and find mode are supported. Layout mode is not supported. You can navigate to different layouts this way. But preview mode is not supported this way either.
But you get a pretty faithful representation. One interesting thing. If we go to this database, we look at the. Billing address, you'll see that this area down here is actually a web viewer embedded in a pop over and you can see that it's supported so it's still going to Google. And it's looking up this particular address which doesn't appear to be a real address but, but if you want to view a webpage content that's related to the current record, which includes. Things like this, where you're looking up the address inside Google, or if you want to do a Google search or something like that, all that is supported.
And to navigate backward and forward within the web viewer in FileMaker WebDirect, you can use the shortcut menu or right-click on a web viewer that allows user interaction. This one doesn't. But you can move backward and forward just like you do on the desktop. Now let's go over to the products list. So here we have a list of different products. And I'm going to show you something kind of interesting. So here I am in the bike helmet record. And I notice I'm on record number four. Well, let's look at the web browser's navigation.
This is kind of interesting, so if I do the back button on the web browser, notice that it actually goes back to the layout that I was on previously. So, you can actually use the back and forward buttons, which will allow users to undo or repeat the following actions, navigating through records,. So I can go from bike helmet, navigating that way, go back to the bike helmet. So I can go navigate back and fourth through the records. I can change the layout as you saw a second ago. Let's say I go to invoices, and say back.
And it goes back to that layout, and it can even go forward back over to the invoices list. We can also change the view, whether it's form, list, or table. Those you can go back and forth with your back and forward buttons. But the back and forward buttons cannot undo or repeat actions that edit or add records or delete data. For example, when you click inside of a field and make a change, you can't use your back buttons to undo that. However, don't use the reload button. Because what will happen if you hit a reload is that FileMaker WebDirect will load the default layout, leaving the current session without logging out or without activating the on-window close or on-last window close script triggers if you happen to be using those.
And it'll create a new session for you. So you'll actually use up two different sessions. Same thing is true for going into another window. If you notice now I'm being prompted to log in. This is a new window. I hit okay, and now you'll see a message come up that says the maximum number of users that is allowed to connect to the server has been exceeded. And that's because I only have one connection available. So what you see is that it's going to open up another connection, which might not make a lot of sense. You don't want to use up a bunch of connections just for one single use. So keep those in mind when you're training users about using the database on WebDirect.
And also, you can save the current location as a bookmark if you'd like to. So for example if I say. Add a bookmark, then I hit add, you see that, that information showed up there, let's see what happens when I log out. And this, by the way, is how you train your users to properly log out. Now, let me go to my bookmark, and of course, I have to authenticate. But, now the bookmark takes me right into the database, but it takes me right to where I started. If you look a little bit closer into your address bar, you can probably. Create some of your own bookmarks that make sense here.
You see that it follows a pretty human-readable convention. IP address. Forward slash. FMI. Web D. The name of the database. The name of the layout with some percent 20s in there for spaces. The view that you're in list. And the record ID. And then the mode ditcher M. So you could probably spoof that to some degree and make it work to your advantage. Now the really important thing here when you're training your users, is you have to make sure that they need to log out. If they close the browser window, or quit the browser application before logging out, their session's still open. And this might prevent the solution from running scripts assigned to script triggers, prevent others from accessing the data if the maximum number of connections has been reached.
Or make data vulnerable to hackers until the specified timeout occurs. And of course you can set that timeout on the server side. If this happens, wait for the session time to timeout or close the file in File Maker service which will disconnect all users. To minimize the the incontinence of web users don't log out of the database properly set the session timeout in the admin console. To a short amount of time or create a scripted button to safely lo web users out. This quick tour of WebDirect shows how this new technology offers more of a desktop like experience to the FileMaker database users via web browser than ever before.
- An overview of the new FileMaker 13 platform
- Working with Object States
- Defining custom styles
- Creating new themes
- Object visibility
- Applying Active state to portal rows and lists
- Outer and inner shadow and padding
- Working with popovers
- FileMaker Server 13 Admin Console
- Uploading files to FileMaker Server 13
- Performing scripts on the server
- New FileMaker script triggers
- Base64 encoding and decoding
- The new Get functions
- Introducing WebDirect
- The new FileMaker Go 13
- Custom iOS keyboard types
- Barcode scanning