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FileMaker Hosting

Detailed explanation of FileMaker Hosting and FileMaker Remote hosting
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The top two reasons to host your FileMaker database are: FileMaker Web Publishing and connecting via FileMaker Remote Access.

FileMaker Web Publishing
FileMaker Web Publishing allows you to access your hosted FileMaker database files 24/7 from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet connection.  Many companies use FileMaker Web Publishing to avoid having to buy multiple copies of FileMaker.  With a hosted FileMaker database, individuals can work with FileMaker as a browser based application.  To be more specific, web pages can be written to allow people to work with FileMaker databases without having FileMaker on their local computer.  They simply access and interact with the FileMaker website through specially built web pages.

What do you mean that I have to have special web pages to communicate with FileMaker?
In order to communicate with the FileMaker database, web pages must be created using special PHP scripts.  PHP is a Server Side scripting language that allows you to communicate with your FileMaker database.  Currently there are two PHP classes that are popular in the FileMaker community; they are the FileMaker API for PHP and FX.php.

This type of web publishing is known as Custom Web Publishing or (CWP).  Custom Web Publishing requires you to know how to build an HTML website with PHP scripting.  CWP is extremely powerful and it enables you to build an online version of your database.  There are a lot of resources and tools available to facilitate learning and creating FileMaker driven websites, they will be covered in the resource section.  Let’s take a look at what you can do with FileMaker web publishing.  The table below is just a small representation of what can be done.

FileMaker

Web Publishing

Scripts

A limited number of FileMaker scripts can be run from the web.  To see what scripts are available, in the script section of FileMaker click the checkbox that says “indicate web compatibility”.

New Records

Create New Records

Delete Records

Delete Records in the database from the web

Find

Search your website using specific criteria

Find All

Find All records and display them

Sort Records

Sort Records using ascending or descending

Edit Records

Edit Records in a found set

Value List

Value lists can be used such as check boxes, radio buttons and drop down lists

Portals

Portals can be displayed, sorted and edited

Images

Images can be displayed, uploaded, downloaded

Login

Table based logins and FileMaker accounts based logins can be used

Logout

Visitors to the site can be logged out and sent to a specific page

PHP

Using PHP libraries you can create PDF reports and add extremely powerful programming capabilities to your FileMaker website.

Here is where the magic happens.  Custom Web Publishing means that the web files are communicating and working with LIVE data.  Since the FileMaker file is hosted, information sent from the web pages automatically updates the databases and vice versa.

This means if you edit a record on the web and press submit, the information is instantly updated in the database.  This is great, because information is always current.  If you create a new record on the web, a new record is automatically created in the database.  Not only can you see the new record in FileMaker, but also on the web.  In order to create a Custom Web Publishing solution, you have a few options.  I have included links to resources at the end of this article.

  • You can learn how to build FileMaker driven websites.  FMWebschool has written several books on FileMaker web publishing
  • You can hire a development firm to create the website for you.
  • You could use a tool such as FMStudio to create the FileMaker website

The great thing about Custom Web Publishing is that you can display your data on the web however you like.  Using a web editor like Dreamweaver allows you to recreate your layout just like it looks in FileMaker, or create an incredible website using amazing graphics and creative tools that are not available in FileMaker.

filemaker remote hosting

A quick summarization
Your FileMaker database needs to be hosted on either FileMaker Server 8 Advanced or FileMaker Server 9 in order to be accessed via Custom Web Publishing.  CWP allows visitors from all over the world access your website 24/7 as long as they have internet connection.  Businesses use CWP to provide their FileMaker data to customers and clients around the world.  Employees can all share the same database and make changes via a FileMaker browser based applications.

FileMaker websites use special PHP scripts to communicate with the hosted database.  These special websites allow you to use a large array of features to access and manipulate and display FileMaker data.

Remote Access with FileMaker and FMGateway

Remote Access
Remote Access enables users to access a hosted database using FileMaker.  Imagine that you have a database that you want to share with a group of people, yet you do not have FileMaker Server.  Using a hosting service, you can upload your database, and make this file available to everyone that has a copy of FileMaker on their local machine.  Folks are able to connect to the hosted database by simply opening their local copy of FileMaker and following a few simple steps.  The hosted database will open on their local machine, and they can begin working on the hosted copy just as if it were physically residing on their computer.

Setting up Remote Hosting
There are a few steps that need to be accomplished within FileMaker before you upload your database to a hosting server.

Step 1. Open FileMaker Pro and select File > Sharing > FileMaker Network.
filemaker hosting

Step 2. Under the FileMaker Network Settings, perform the following tasks.

  1. Select the On Radio button beside the Network Sharing category.
  2. Select the file you wish to share.  The file should be displayed under the Currently open files section.  Click on the file name.
  3. Under the Network access to file section, select the type of access you would like to make available to the hosted file.  Choose the Radio button to assign access privileges to that file and then press the Specify button.

Note:  If you leave the privileges set to all users anyone can access your files.  Make sure to password protect your files!

filemaker remote hosting

Step 3.  Specify the access privileges you wish to provide for your FileMaker database.  Press OK once you are satisfied with your settings.  You are now ready to upload and share your FileMaker database file.

filemaker remote hosting setup

Opening a hosted file with Remote Access.
Step 1. Select File > Open Remote.

filemaker hosting

Step 2.  The Open Remote File dialog window will open.  Select Favorite Hosts from the View drop down list.  Next, select the Add button.

filemaker remote hosting
Step 3. Enter the address of the FileMaker Server to which you are trying to connect.  In this example it is “s44.fmgateway.com”.  Next, to make the server easier to identify, enter a Favorite Host’s Name.  This step is optional should you choose to leave this selection blank. Press Save.
filmaker server 9 hosting
Step 4.  Select the database from the Available Files list and choose Open.
filmaker server hosting

Step 5. Once you select the Open Button you will be presented with the View Databases Hosted By FileMaker Server dialog window.  Now, you simply type in your Account Name, and your Password to access your FileMaker file.

Your FileMaker database will open on your local computer and you can begin working away.
filemaker hosting

FileMaker Hosting References and Tools

FMGateway FileMaker Hosting Made Easy
When you host with FMGateway, you get a team of individuals with over 9 years of FileMaker web publishing expertise.  We began writing FileMaker websites with FileMaker 4, and since then we have created over 400 FileMaker driven websites.

We believe that in order to offer amazing hosting services you need to not only be an expert in FileMaker hosting, but also in FileMaker web publishing.  We wrote the online tools that come with our hosting packages including our special browser based Database Management System and JumpStart.

The FMGateway team consists of web experts, published authors, and programmers that focus on developing tools to facilitate FileMaker web publishing.  The main difference between us and other hosting services is commitment and innovation.  We are constantly working on new ways to improve our services and provide a better experience for our customers.

Innovation also means that we are continually learning.  We stay on the front line of development by maintaining a steady flow of FileMaker web consulting.  Our company continues to work daily with companies and individuals building FileMaker websites.

The FMGateway Team
We are published authors.  The FMGateway team has written over 10,000 pages on FileMaker Web Technology.  Our articles appear in Advisor Magazine, and our books are available from WordWare Publications and LuLu Publishing.  We have been interviewed by numerous FileMaker blogs and Inside Mac Radio.  We also author an online FileMaker newsletter that is read by nearly 6500 FileMaker enthusiast. We are also the proud winners of the 2007 Mad Dog Award presented by FileMaker Inc.

FMGateway is a service of FMWebschool, creators of JumpStart, FMStudio, Dolphin Cart, FM Messenger and numerous other 3rd Party development tools to facilitate FileMaker web publishing.

Learn More about Resources for FileMaker web publishing

Web Publishing Editors
When you begin working with FileMaker web publishing it is important to have a well designed web editor.  We recommend Dreamweaver software by Adobe Inc.  Dreamweaver is a powerful web editor that works equally well on both Mac and Windows.  Dreamweaver is the most popular web editor available and is used by web novices and professionals.

Dreamweaver website

FMStudio
FMStudio is a Dreamweaver extension that enables you to connect Dreamweaver to FileMaker.  With FMStudio, you can drag and drop fields directly into the Dreamweaver design area.  With FMStudio you do not need to know any PHP.  With FMStudio’s powerful wizards and form builders you can quickly add value lists, portals and more to your web pages. 
Take a look at our Webinar series where we use FMStudio to build online shopping systems, registration systems and more without writing a single line of code.  Also, notice that we build extremely powerful real world web applications in an hour.

FMStudio Software

JumpStart
JumpStart is an amazing online tool that enables you to create and deploy FileMaker driven websites for the Apple iPhone and other mobile devices in a matter of minutes.
JumpStart sites offer amazing functionality. The website that you create allows visitors to search, edit, add records, and delete records. JumpStart can also automatically create a login system for you.
Jumpstart is extremely flexible, allowing you to display dynamic images inside portal rows, edit multiple portal rows with the click of a button and displays all types of value lists.

JumpStart Web Builder

Dolphin Cart
Dolphin Cart Pro is a powerful FileMaker powered shopping cart system. Dolphin Cart is easy to use and takes just minutes to set up – allowing you to focus on what's important, selling your products.
Powered by FileMaker Pro database systems, Dolphin Cart enables you to quickly add products and manage your online store without any knowledge of web publishing.  To learn more about Dolphin Cart Pro, visit the official web page.

Dolphin Cart Shopping FileMaker Shopping Cart Solution

Webinars
FMWebschool offers a continual learning program as a free resource to the FileMaker community.  How do we do this?  FMWebschool presents live instructional webinars that teach individuals how to build real world FileMaker web applications.
Over the past few months we have demonstrated how to build online registration systems, music sites, shopping carts, social networking sites and FileMaker powered iPhone websites.

The sites are actually very complex allowing visitors to create, edit, delete, sort and search records.  We also covered advanced techniques such as creating PDF’s from the web, creating HTML formatted emails and setting up online payment gateways.
The webinars are free to watch, and you can download the sample files as well.


FileMaker Web Publishing Webinars

FileMaker Web Publishing Books

FMWebschool has published numerous books on FileMaker web publishing.  They are available at all major book resellers.

If you are interested in learning the new FileMaker API for PHP, “FileMaker Web Publishing A Complete Guide to Using the API for PHP” is now available.
Wordware Publishing

If you are interested in learning FX.php, “FileMaker Web Publishing, The Ultimate Guide to FileMaker and PHP” is now available.
FX.php Web Publishing Book

FileMaker Hosting Provided by FMGateway "We Make Hosting Easy".