1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2016 2:23 PM by bigtom

    FM Newbie…again



      I used to use FM back in the day with versions 4, 5 and 6. I'm picking it up again with v14 and I'm looking to create a simple Contacts database that I would like to share with 5 other Condo Community Trustees.


      As the other trustees dont own FM, would I be correct in saying that my only option is to use WebDirect? If so does anybody know of any very reasonable hosting services that wouldnt but too much of a dent in our monthly outgoings?




        • 1. Re: FM Newbie…again

          You could create a pretty simple web form using CWP as well to access the filemaker data with a simple website.


          Or you could create a recurring export of a contacts file to a flat data file, like excel.


          Or you could still use a runtime, even though it's deprecated.


          What exactly do these trustees need to do? create/update records as well as read them? Or just look up data?

          • 2. Re: FM Newbie…again

            Hi Sean - welcome back.  A lot has changed since versions 4, 5 & 6.  I first started using FM in version 3 so I know the difference you're experiencing!.  Another possible option for trustees that have an iOS device would be FMGo which is also free.  Concurrent connections between FMServer and FMGo/WebDirect are the same in terms of licencing cost.  Doesn't answer your hosting question, but there are plenty of people in the FM Community that will chime in here.  Chris

            • 3. Re: FM Newbie…again

              Thank you Chris and Mike,

              Mike, the Trustees will initially be creating and updating records after which they would probably be static until a persons details change. That being said I see the Contacts database as just a start and would like to roll out other database solutions once it becomes familiar to them.

              • 4. Re: FM Newbie…again

                Hi Sean,


                There are some good hosting companies in Northern Europe, one of them being Avalonia.net


                But I assume that you are in the US, and here are some possible choices:


                But some of the pricing seem to be unrealistic low .. be aware that the hosting partner you choose are handling licenses correct and according to FileMaker licence policy.


                Best regards



                • 5. Re: FM Newbie…again

                  An even better advice: Check out FileMaker Inc's list of hosting providers:

                  FileMaker Consultants

                  • 6. Re: FM Newbie…again

                    Have you considered hosting this yourself? If you have a capable computer laying around and a static IP address you can host yourself with FM server and use web direct for $69/month. If you have a web server somewhere already and use CWP you can be at $29/month for FMS license. This is Really a balance of ease of using web direct /go with a great interface vs the time you spent to build the web interface yourself using PHP.


                    If everyone has iOS you can host from Pro to 5 people for next to nothing Monthly.


                    Commercial hosting will likely not be as cheap in the future as it is now. Keep that in mind.

                    • 7. Re: FM Newbie…again

                      You can host from pro (peer-to-peer) to pc's, as well.

                      • 8. Re: FM Newbie…again

                        Hi Extensictech,


                        There are at least a few good reasons not ho host peer to peer:

                        • Security is very low.
                        • The client is not a stable server and thus the file is not protected against crashes and unplanned restarts and closure of FileMaker.
                        • The client does not support backups.
                        • Windows Clients (if it is not a Mac environment, which we have not asked about) are definitely unsuited as servers, it should as a minimum be Win 2008 or Win 2012 server.
                        • WebDirect which Sean is asking about is not supported by FileMaker Pro.


                        I would only consider peer to peer hosting as suitable for a very short term ad hoc session or for testing. And for testing I would rather suggest that you get a paid subscription which will give you access to a FileMaker Server 14 for testing purposes.


                        Also consider taking this little survey: Do I need FileMaker Server software | FileMaker Server 14


                        Best regards



                        • 9. Re: FM Newbie…again

                          And you ask:

                          As the other trustees dont own FM, would I be correct in saying that my only option is to use WebDirect?

                          By choosing WebDirect as your deployment strategy you will not have to install anything on the other 5 peoples PC's or Mac's.


                          But there are some questions that need answers before concluding that WebDirect is a good choice for you.

                          WebDirect is maturing into a very capable alternative to installing FileMaker Pro on each client. You could probably say that WebDirect could end up being very close to FileMaker Pro in a browser!

                          But to the most important question:

                          • Is printing or creation of PDF's a central part of your solution?

                          FileMaker has not yet been able to implement support for creation of PDF's in WebDirect, and this is in my opinion a major problem with WebDirect as a deployment model for many of the business cases where we are considering this option.

                          And, in my opinion, WebDirect as implemented with FileMaker Server 13 was a very good proof of concept. With FileMaker Server 14 it matured into being very useful and performance was really improved. So you should insist that your hosting provider use FileMaker Server 14, not 13, on a well configured server.

                          And yes, hosting your self may be a good choice, and it is not difficult. If you are considering this I will try to follow up here with a setting-up-my-first-host-for-FileMaker_Server-14/WebDirect-mini-guide . Not to replace FileMaker's splendid guide, but just to inspire you. But you would need a "clean" installed Win 2008 or Win 2012 server or maybe easier and much cheaper a clean installed Mac mini or an other Mac (does not have to be with the server software, Mac client is absolutely OK for FileMaker Server).

                          What are your thoughts, is printing/creation of PDF's important. Would you consider having your own FileMaker Server?

                          Best regards


                          Ps. You can have PDF's created and used within WebDirect, there are different solutions and some of them include running a robot on the server to create PDF's on demand. But that's another discussion.

                          • 10. Re: FM Newbie…again

                            Thank you Carsten,

                            making PDF's is not too much of a concern. It's something I could always do personally directly from FM14 if it was required. I did think about hosting myself but had the following concerns:


                            1. Cost. I would have to get FM14 Server which if I understand correctly, would cost me about $30 per month.

                            2. Bandwidth. I don't think the database would be accessed often but I'd be concerned about the hit on my Verizon Fios service.

                            3. I have never set up a web server before and have no idea of the complexity of this task and if any additional software would be required (more expense?)


                            In contrast FMPHost seem to charge about $20 per month.


                            By the way I really appreciate everyone's patience with my questions and downright ignorance.



                            • 11. Re: FM Newbie…again

                              Hi Sean,


                              1. Yes, you would have to "rent" the server with an AVLA agrement. Just one server is qualifying for AVLA. You will then get your Pro or Pro Advanced cheap within the agreement.
                              2. What is your present bandwidth up and down + can you get a fixed IP number?
                              3. Are you using Mac or PC .... Setting up a Mac mini with a clean new system and FileMaker server is very very easy.


                              And yes going with a reliable hosting provider is a good idea. I would go with one on FileMaker's list that is not to far from you. Distance is of equal importance compared to up/down bandwidth.


                              Best regards



                              • 12. Re: FM Newbie…again


                                your first point seems to imply that purchasing FM Server gets me a copy of FMP14 at a discount. Where does it say this on Filemaker's website. I just bought FMP14 at the full price.



                                • 13. Re: FM Newbie…again

                                  If you have a AVLA agreement (by buying the server) you can get FMPA and FMP under that agreement at a much lower price per year and the yearly price include new versions.


                                  Best regards



                                  • 14. Re: FM Newbie…again

                                    Leasing FMS for $29/month give you the option to also lease FMP $9/month.


                                    If you already bought FMP at $329 you might be stuck with it.

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