1 2 Previous Next 25 Replies Latest reply on Jun 24, 2017 12:39 PM by PeterChen

    WebDirect and Virtual Server License


      I've got a 30-day trial account setup with Triple8 using WebDirect (Triple8 allows the use of WebDirect for a trial account).


      It took me only a few minutes to setup and upload my files. While my 2 dbases work fine on my desktop with FMPro 14,

      they don't work correctly with remote access on Triple8. Buttons and scripts don't work correctly. Even the positioning of a rectangular object shifts to

      a different position.


      Triple8 advises that I should get a virtual server.


      I've also checked with Point-in-space and they don't provide WebDirect with a trial account and suggested that I should get my own virtual server.

      On top of hosting fee, I need to pay $79/month for the Virtual Dedicated Server excluding the server license fee to pay to Filemaker (wonder another how much is that?).


      I'm wondering if it's really advisable for me to go this path since I'm unsure if having my own virtual server will resolve these issues.


      Any advice from experienced people here using WebDirect?



        • 1. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

          If your solutions are using the Classic theme, you can expect troubles like this when using WebDirect. I'd check that first.

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          • 2. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License



            I am not familiar with Triple8 so won't comment on your hosting service. I have worked a great deal with both FMHosting Pros and Point in Space and both are excellent outfits.


            However, I am almost certain that the problems you report have nothing to do with your hosting service or the particular type of hosting account you've got. I take it that you are indeed able to open your solution in a web browser, and if you can get that far, then the hosting in itself would appear to be working.


            Developing for successful access through the browser requires some special considerations. For example,


            1. Layering of objects -- especially buttons -- is much trickier if you're expecting access through WebDirect. WebDirect does not support click-through, so you have to make sure that a button you want users to click doesn't have anything else sitting on top of it. Even overlapping of objects has caused me little problems. I generally now do NOT put objects on top of other objects and if I'm working (as I tend to do) with a 20pt grid, I tend to make objects all have sizes that end in "9", so one 19pt-wide object whose left edge is at 100pt is sitting next to another 19pt-wide object whose left edge is at 120pt. That way nothing is overlapping. Not absolutely necessary but was the fix to a couple problems I've had.
            2. New Window step doesn't work in WebDirect -- well, it sort of works, but not as you expect. Card windows don't work.
            3. Export records has some limitations in WebDirect (basically you can't export binary files like XLSX but can export text files like CSV or XML).
            4. Text formatting in WebDirect is tricky. Avoid text objects that have text with different formats.
            5. Related to previous point, in WebDirect do your darndest to format EVERYTHING using carefully defined styles.
            6. Table view isn't available in WebDirect.


            I could go on but don't need to. It's all laid out in an excellent article [better word: resource] available here:


            FileMaker 16 WebDirect Guide


            Bottom line: WebDirect is a terrific, really amazing technology. But success with it means focusing on simpler cleaner design.


            Good luck,




            ADDENDUM one minute later: dtcgnet mentions potential problems with the classic theme. Good point. Try Minimalist instead. But even if you use Minimalist, the points I make above remain critically important. Designing for WebDirect requires special care that goes way beyond avoiding a single theme.

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

              Thanks, dtcgnet.


              I use the default style, enlightened theme.


              I'll put up some screenshots to show what problems I've encountered in my next response to William:)

              • 4. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                Hi Will,


                Point in space doesn't provide a trial account for WebDirect and FMPHost provides only 15-day trial but unsure if they allow WebDirect for a trial account.


                Yes, I could open my files.


                Will go through your points tomorrow. I'm currently using FMPro14. Still contemplating if I should upgrade to v16. Will read up the Filemaker 16 WD Guide you provide.


                Below are 3 screenshots describing the problems I've encountered.











                Triple8 responded to my query as follows:


                "The issue with the look of the database could be you have selected and unsupported layout.

                The problem with the link is most likely because you set them up on your desktop and we

                are storing the database in a different place so they do not function."


                So, what should I do to troubleshoot these issues?



                • 5. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                  Yep, those are pretty typical problems to see in a solution accessed in WebDirect that was not explicitly designed for WebDirect.


                  No one-sentence or one-paragraph answer I can provide will solve those problems. My advice is,


                  1. Read the WebDirect guide that I gave you a link to
                  2. Start looking at your problems one at a time


                  The guide will give you useful tidbits like this: "Checkbox sets and radio button sets display as standard HTML controls; they do not support object styles." Or this tidbit: "Objects in HTML5 observe a true parent-child hierarchy—that is, a child object is always contained within a single parent object. For example, an image that extends across the boundary between the header and body parts of a layout can be in only one part, so the image is cropped at the boundary between the parts it spans." Not sure if both of those tips are pertinent to your database but they sound like they might be.


                  So start with #1 above. You can scan it quickly first, looking for things that sound like they might be useful.


                  Okay, I guess I can give you a simple bit of advice to guide you: KEEP IT SIMPLE. The handful of quick observations I gave you earlier could help you get started. Avoid putting things on top of one another. (Doesn't apply of course to fields that have to be placed on top of portals. But otherwise, try to keep things one-layered as much as you can. Watch out for that graphic. Consider putting it inside a global field instead.


                  A lot of us came to FileMaker because its design tools allow us to make graphically rich databases pretty easily. So working in WebDirect seems like a step backwards, kind of like being in a great Mexican restaurant you've been eating at for years, but now you feel like you ought to order only the house salad. But this is good discipline! And when you get better at avoiding problems you can start experimenting to see how much creativity you can put back into your solution.


                  Good luck!



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                  • 6. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                    Hi Will,


                    after spending some hours by trial-and-error, I discovered :that:

                    1) after putting that image with the standing couple inside a container field, without placing above the grey box it works, but when I switched the container field to global container it doesn't display at all! Any clue why global container field doesn't work?


                    2) The button links won't display when placed above that grey box, but they do display without the grey box. Also, links to layouts on the same file works, but links using Perform script to a relationship file don't work. How do I address this issue?


                    I'll digest your tips tomorrow. It's already 4 am here. Need to jump onto bed now



                    • 7. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                      Hi Peter,


                      I think that some of your problems are due to the fact that WebDirect can't display objects that are on top of each other.


                      Regarding testing your design, on thing you could do is to subscribe to FDS - FileMaker Developer Subscription. For the price of $ 99.00 / year you get:


                      • a copy of FMS for developers. The number of licenses is limited to one WebDirect, but that's enough for your tests
                      • free copy of some Learning material. In the pas that was the FTS Advanced Course that will get replaced by something new
                      • a preview version of upcoming version (next one will be FMPA 17 sometimes next year.
                      • invitations to Webinars that are not open to public.


                      It's a well spend  $ 99.00 .

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                        When you change to Global the field loses data and does not store data After the session is closed.

                        • 9. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                          Hi bigtom,


                          but I changed to the global container field on my desktop and then re-upload the file to view.

                          When I changed back to non-global container field it displays the image again.

                          • 10. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                            Thanks for the suggestion, planteg.


                            I'll explore the FileMaker Developer Subscription:)


                            • 11. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                              Residual self image. Blue pill?

                              • 12. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                                What's blue pill?

                                • 13. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                                  Just a bit of levity. Not a serious reply.

                                  • 14. Re: WebDirect and Virtual Server License

                                    Hi planteg,


                                    I've checked out the FileMaker Server Development License and the website says

                                    "This special, test-only license for FileMaker Server includes full product functionality and features. The FileMaker Server 16 Development License allows up to three (3) simultaneous connections for FileMaker Pro, three (3) simultaneous web-based client connections for Custom Web Publishing, and one (1) User Connection for FileMaker WebDirect, FileMaker Go, or FileMaker Pro (for User Connections) at a time."

                                    If I were to host my solutions I won't be buying my own server. So would it still be relevant to test the FileMaker Server?

                                    I'm also seriously contemplating upgrading to FMPA 16. Are there improvements in FMPA 16 as compared to FMPro 14 (I currently owned) pertaining to the use of WebDirect? Any other advantages?


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