2 Replies Latest reply on Jan 22, 2014 12:12 PM by jimnagle

    FM newbie seeks knowledge/advice



      FM newbie seeks knowledge/advice


           I work at NIH and have recently been tasked to help 'rehabilitate' a DB in FM pro 11 which lets say is working sub-optimally.

           I am NOT an expert by any means in FM or DBs generally.

           The DB in question contains patient records including videos from patient examinations. One main issue with the DB seems to be cross platform performance. Current protocol directs users to only upload videos into the DB using a PC with a mapped drive to the location of the videos. A problem arises when someone attempts to use a mac to view a given video which generates an error message basically saying it can't find the file. But clicking on that box initiates a dialog box (on the mac) offering the chance to navigate to the folder with the video. If you do this, the video not only fails to play, but will then not play from a PC either (it formerly would work when clicked on from a PC). The DB was originally established/designed with the folder of videos linked to the DB as opposed to embedded.

           Can this scenario be improved upon by upgrading to a more recent version of FM? I've been told newer versions of FM have the capability to display as a webpage. Is this a possible solution?

           I believe the original DB was set up with links to the videos rather than having them embedded for a number of good reasons although the DB itself isn't that huge (~ 500 patients), for one thing it kept the DB smaller. Also if embedded, the DB would convert the files to binary format? I probably do not completely understand the full implications of this part.

           Basically what we would like is for the DB to work in a more robust way across platforms rather than only on PCs for both uploading videos as well as for playing back videos. I hope this isn't asking too much.

           thanks in advance for any help or suggestions

        • 1. Re: FM newbie seeks knowledge/advice

               Your container fields have videos inserted "by reference" and that's how it should be in your database version. You don't actually have any other option for video files if I recall correctly. When you insert a video "by reference" into a container field, FileMaker insertes the FilePath--a long string of text that lists the drive/volume letter/number and each enclosing folder name followed by the actual file name.

               but the file path to such a shared volume will be different for Mac and Windows platforms. When using a Mac system to insert the video, the file path will start with a volume name. On a windows system, it will start with a drive letter. And the folder could be mapped differently on different computers (even if they have the same OS) which will also result in a different file path to the file. Before you can open and play the video FileMaker has to be able to produce a file path to the video file that is valid on the computer where the user is trying to view the video.

               I would guess that your "dialog box to find the video" is an attempt to deal with these differences but that it is not entering a valid filepath to the video an this then messes up access to the file for both platforms.

               In FileMaker 12 and newer, you have the option to set up container fields with external storage. These allow fileMaker or FileMaker server to manage the access to the file and this feature is supposed to eliminate the need for mapping/mounting shared folders for the inserted files. In your current version, if you can set up a system that ensures that all mac system map the drive the same way and all windows systems map the drive the same way, you can set up a calculation field with Container as the result type which uses the file path in the container field to compute a valid platform specific path to the file and then you can use that container field to play your videos on both platforms.

               While it doesn't spell out every detail of what you'll need, a good place to start in learning more about this can be found here: Exploring the use of a $Path Variable in Scripts

               You may also want to investigate a third party product for FileMaker called "super container". And I would expect that a Web Viewer could play videos in FileMaker 11, but you'll have the same issue of needing to set up a valid reference to the video file that works for mac and windows computers.

          • 2. Re: FM newbie seeks knowledge/advice

                 Many thanks PhilModJunk. This was just the kind of help I was hopping to obtain. I will read up on your suggestions and take it from there.

                 thanks again