9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2017 8:58 AM by beverly

    Connecting FileMaker to other programs

    andrew_a

      So I'm relatively new to FileMaker and have created a database to track repairs and fines for laptops in a school district.  Currently we manually export information from our Student Information System and import it into the FileMaker database mentioned.  Is it possible to automate this process and if so how difficult would that be and how might I do that?

        • 1. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
          CamelCase_data

          It all depends on what options are available in your Student Information System, but yes, in general this is possible. There is a wide array of technologies you can use, once again all depend on what's possible with the system you're interacting with. Can you perhaps provide some more information on your SIS?

          • 2. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
            andrew_a

            Currently we are using Infinite Campus for our SIS.  However we will be moving to PowerSchool for our SIS starting this summer.  I'm not sure beyond that what capacities there are to connect to the SIS on that end.

            • 3. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
              beverly

              It mostly depends on the permission you have to exchange data with the system (directly), instead of import/export. IT tends to be very protective (with reasons!) I work in direct connection ONLY when I also am the SQL dba (have admin access to the external database, too).

               

              When I cannot have direct access and must import/export, I tend to use temporary tables (in FileMaker) for that process, as it's easier to get "matching" columns (names and types) between the two systems. The data "there" is not always the same as the data "here" and sometimes must have manipulation between the actual push/pull.

               

              And it may be that your external source is set up with views in a way that does allow you direct exchange, but protects the data "here" & "there".

               

              Again, check those permissions first! If there is only import/export, they may provide an interface to do that.

               

              beverly

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              • 4. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                andrew_a

                That makes sense and is some good advice.  I'm one of the IT techs but I'm not the dba.  At this point I'm trying to determine if it is worth trying to do or not with the dba or if we should just deal with exporting and importing periodically.  With us switching this upcoming year and with what you said we will probably wait a year or two before we try the direct connect.  In the meantime perhaps I can setup a regular export from the SIS with the appropriate fields based on a filter of some kind and then pull that into the FileMaker db.

                • 5. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                  wimdecorte

                  andrew_a wrote:

                   

                  Currently we are using Infinite Campus for our SIS. However we will be moving to PowerSchool for our SIS starting this summer. I'm not sure beyond that what capacities there are to connect to the SIS on that end.

                   

                  Often the websites for these products will have an "API" or "For developers" section that documents how you can integrate with them.  Start there, or give them a call and ask.

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                  • 6. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                    andrew_a

                    Thanks for all the good feedback.  I think I have enough info now to move forward with this project.

                    • 7. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                      beverly

                      That's how some of my clients do this. They have regular exports from the external source (as .csv) and these are placed in a directory that FMServer can see. Then there are scheduled scripts in FMS that does the import (to the temp table), and further processes the data.

                       

                      "mostly" automated.

                       

                      beverly

                      • 8. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                        andrew_a

                        Yeah, that's what I'm probably going to look into.  It seems easier and safer for us in general than trying to figure out how to connect it directly.

                        • 9. Re: Connecting FileMaker to other programs
                          beverly

                          a big "gotcha". if they have not named the files correctly, the "automatic" import on FMS will not work (as you have hard-coded the import file names). that's why the "mostly automatic".