14 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2013 10:21 AM by amazin1

    Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet

    dickiedyce

      So what do people think are the chances of FMI stepping away from using Java as the basis for the console? This has started to become a problem both for short periods technically, and longer term more generally one of IT Depts view of solutions that require Java to work in an otherwise Java free environment. It is surely possible, but do you think they will/should address it?

       

      This is a genuine question, not troll bait. Two clients have now asked me about it, and with the latest news doing the rounds (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/01/apple_blocks_java_mac/) it something I would like an informed take on, when talking to clients.

        • 1. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
          wimdecorte

          If you need the official word:

          http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/11480

           

          They're clearly looking into it and I'm sure they are considering options, just like we all are.

          • 2. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
            dickiedyce

            Wim,

             

            I have a rough PHP backend using the tick operator for calling the CLI and doing small admin tasks, but it's a work in progress, and to be frank using a CLI provided in one version as an API has caught me out in the past. I just wondered if (a) anyone had any non-Java based alternatives, and (b) how seriously FMI were taking it?

             

            I had not seen that tech answer, so indeed, thanks for that.

            • 3. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
              wimdecorte

              I have no doubt that FMI is taking this very seriously - it affects core functionality of their product line.

               

              As to alternatives; there are a few attempts at CLI wrappers out there, haven't looked at any lately as I'm very comforrtable with the CLI itself.

               

              There is one obvous alternative: don't install java updates on the FMS machine and on one shielded machine (can be a VM) and do the administration from that box.  If your permiter defense is ok and the FMS box is not used for anything else then it is not a problem.

              • 4. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                usbc

                They used to do the admin with a FileMaker file that came with the "Dev" version of 5.5 / 6.5.

                While my memory is not the greatest, I don't recall it ever failing.

                • 5. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                  dickiedyce

                  Heh heh. "Not a problem"

                   

                  No, indeed. I guess if I lock it up in VM and the client's admins can't see it no. But when I'm offsite and they want to do the work, well, I can imagine their faces... "You want us to do what?" Ah well the distance between 'reasonable' and IT depts grows ever wider in my experience I guess I can look forward to seeing how seriously FMI are taking it after Devcon.

                  • 6. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                    dickiedyce

                    It was built into the client in 3, wasn't it? Or am I misremembering it?

                    • 7. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                      gdurniak

                      The Java based Admin Console has always been a FileMaker embarassment.  It was coded poorly, and "broke" with every update

                       

                      ( And now all Java below 1.6 v 37 has been turned off )

                       

                      I'm not sure why it can't just be a pop-up screen in FileMaker Client

                       

                      greg

                       

                       

                      > So what do people think are the chances of FMI stepping away from using Java as the basis for the console?

                      • 8. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                        wimdecorte

                         

                        I'm not sure why it can't just be a pop-up screen in FileMaker Client

                         

                         

                        Certainly not.  It needs to be something that a server admin can use without having to have a copy of FMP.  Inbetween the FM plugin version of the admin console and the java console we had a nice customizable MMC snap-in for Windows and a custom app on OSX.  The Windows version was extremely useful and could be expanded to include access to the server's screen, the FM knowledge base,...

                        • 9. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                          gdurniak

                          Yes. Why not small native apps, for Windows and OS X ?  I suspect an intern could write this in a few weeks ...

                           

                          greg

                           

                          > we had a nice customizable MMC snap-in for Windows and a custom app on OS X

                          • 10. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                            dburnham

                            After spending the last 5 days (and nights) rebuilding a server because of all this Java-related trouble, I could not help wondering (while driving home from the local data center where my machinery is parked) why FileMaker Inc. makes itself vulnerable to the behavior of other software products such as those from Sun, Oracle, or whomever.

                             

                            The Server Admin Console could be … should be … an independent application like it was until version 9 was released.  This is not a revisionist history remark:  the SAC got better with version 9 and has continued to improve with each new version.  Its performance and features are not the subject of my wrath.  However, I am very annoyed that the kind of changes that were brought about by Oracle and Apple in the past 10 days have resulted in so much wasted time and money for people in the FileMaker community.

                             

                            Usually, AppleCare support reps claim to know nothing about FileMaker.  Not this time.  I don't know if the word was spread around officially or if it's just a post-it note on their cafeteria bulletin board, but several of them mentioned to me that they "heard about this."   With FileMaker tech support staff, there was also the calm and reassuring confirmation that in my trying to rectify the problem, I was not alone.

                             

                            The tech response referenced in wimdecorte's post (above) comes to my attention after, not before, my travails this week.  We register our software and provide our contact information.  We get notices of webinars and Devcon registration and such.  Why not tell people about this important tech article proactively instead of waiting for  the sh*t to hit the fan?

                             

                            I think the time has come to create a Server Admin tool that performs without being dependent on 3rd party software.  Yes, Mac and Windows of course.  It's not as if FileMaker is a small start-up software company incapable of writing its own software application.   I have an open mind, if someone can explain "why not?"

                             

                            In conclusion, as Steve Jobs would have said, "one more thing" ....  it could be built to run in FileMaker Go, too.  Tell me the phone size screen is too small and I won't argue, but I can run all kinds of server admin tools on my iPad, including Airport Utility and Mac OS-X Server.   It would probably win one of those annual awards, deservedly.

                            • 11. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                              nickorr

                              The command line application does 90% of what we need.  If it allowed for uploads and downloads of files, then there would be enough there for others to write their own admin tools.  In other words : give us a command line or an API and let us solve the problem now for 12 ourselves and we'll then be much happier to wait for the product to evolve.

                               

                              Cheers,

                              Nick

                              • 12. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                                dburnham

                                A command line interface would be fine, but it would have to be far more robust than what we have now.  Here are just a few things I think are missing, unless I am mistaken:

                                • It would need to have a deployment capability so that you could configure your server, turn on/off web publishing, etc.
                                • It would need to replicate all the sidebar menu trees in the console, such as schedules, plug-ins, groups, etc.
                                • It would absolutely need to document all the cryptic error codes that can't seem to be traced to anything

                                Personally, I think the command line interface is fine for certain operations that can be performed with a single line of typed commands, but a user interface is more appropriate for many of the set-up operations that navigate through a series of Next> buttons and fields for entry of values.

                                 

                                However there are a series of other commands I would like to be able to type, it's just that it wouldn't be polite to write them here.  You can imagine what I'm thinking, especially if you saw Clint Eastwood at the Republican Convention last summer.

                                • 13. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                                  wimdecorte

                                  +1 on an API, then we could write our own console, combine monitoring multiple servers from one page etc

                                  • 14. Re: Java and Server Console: Head above the parapet
                                    amazin1

                                    A pushed MacOS update caught me with no access through Admin Console a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately our outside IT support people, All-Covered, knew what was going on and sent me a work around so we could use an older, but unfortuntely vulnerable version of Java. However, this is both not safe practice and will assuredly be switched off by some new push from Apple. Use of Java is a problem and needs to be fixed. I have no deisre to hack around using the console or anything else.