FileMaker Hosting UK

WebDirect Publishing

FileMaker in a web browser with no coding

WebDirect is a remarkable technology that FileMaker introduced with version 13. It aims to bring a nearly the full experience of FileMaker Pro and Go to the web browser. Other than custom web publishing (CWP) it is also the only method to get FileMaker onto an Android device. When first released WebDirect was sluggish but FileMaker have worked hard on this and Server 14 has made the technology more responsive. For those using server 16 onwards it is also possible to make PDFs (although printing is still missing). While most designs of database can be put straight on the web for best results build your layouts as simple as possible using a simple theme such as minimalist. You will be amazed how well it works - it is easy to forget you are on a web page rather than using FileMaker Pro.

Setting your file to use WebDirect

WebDirect needs to be allowed in your file’s security settings before it can be used. This video explains what needs to be set.

For most databases this will work without any adjustments but for best results please follow our optimisation advice.

Where to use it

  • Low traffic situations
  • Where you are not permitted to install FileMaker Pro
  • Shared administration of clubs
  • Incident reporting
  • Enquires on a website (these can be posted straight into the office contacts database)
  • To demonstrate your software to potential customers
  • To provide a ‘software as a service’ subscription

Things it does not do well

  • Large number of connections at once
  • Printing
  • Exporting (no Excel only CSV)
  • Making PDFs (on servers prior to 16)
  • Table view
  • Complex pages
  • Some script steps are not supported (but not many - see FileMaker Pro help)
  • WebDirect times out after 15 minutes of inactivity so you cannot stay connected all day
  • You cannot script or design layouts with WebDirect
  • Keyboard entry triggers do not work with WebDirect
  • Scripted exporting files does not work with WebDirect

Why we charge per connection

With WebDirect much of the processing happens on our servers. The web page you view is being ‘broadcast’ to from process that we run. This makes the technology quite demanding from our point of view. Also FileMaker charge us for each connection at a price similar to buying a fresh copy of FileMaker every year. So WebDirect is not a way of saving money. However it can still be very useful as it requires no installation and is provided on a concurrent connection basis. Ie. It can certainly help in a situation where you have many people connecting occasionally. For instance these can just be members of the public visiting your website.

Demonstration database

Linking tricks

Link format to trigger a script in your database (complete with passed script parameter)

http://<host>/fmi/webd#<database name>[?script=<script name>[&param=<script parameter>]
[&<$variable name>=<value>]]

Link format to provide a timeout/close database return URL (in this example your file is represented by fmserver_sample and on closure the web page should redirect to