1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2013 6:02 AM by mib

    Synchronization with external web applications?

    mib

      I read trough the introductory material in "Filemaker_ Introduction to External SQL Sources" on ESS and also read which ODBC data sources/drivers that are supported with External SQL Data Sources. As the databases I want to access are not among these I need alternative approaches for my objective which is to synchronize an existing Filemaker system with a web shop system with the Filemaker as a client, perhaps three to ten times a day. Only a subset of fields and tables will need to be be changed by the synchronization process and there will most likelt be a need to "map" data during the process. I prefer to do the mapping in my web application as I want to change as little as possible in the FM DB .

       

      I was first thinking to make some kind of API available on the web application server as I need to abstract the inner database structure on the server anyway (via a facade). However, I'm not familiar what kind of external interfaces Filemaker can talk to as a client?


      I was thinking a web service of some sorts. The ideal would probably be to just make a restful interface on the web server that Filemaker can connect to over an SSL connection with some kind of log in credentials. How can Filemaker connect as a client to such a web service from a locally run instance? Are there specific needs that Filemaker need to have in place in order to pull such a thing off? Other advice what kind of solutions
      to research that can be applied to a case like this?

       

      Message was edited by: mib, Reason: Clarification

        • 1. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
          nickorr

          mib,

           

          If you want to expose your FileMaker data as a RESTful Web Service, then this is what you're after : www.restfm.com

           

          Let me know if you have any questions.

           

          Cheers,

          Nick

          • 2. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
            wimdecorte

            mib wrote:

            I prefer to do it in my web application as I want to change as little as possible in the FM DB .

             

            I'm not familiar what kind of interfaces Filemaker can talk to?

            These two statements are somewhat contradictionary: if you want to do the "pulling" from the web app (from outside FM) then you don't need to find out what FM can talk to, but what interfaces / APIs FM has available for other applications to talk to it.

             

            Nick's restfm is build on those.

            Natively FM has a PHP API, an ODBC and JDBC interface (and drivers) and an XML interface.

            There are 3rd party APIs built on top of those for .NET, Ruby, Python, ...

            • 3. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
              steve.winter

              Hi

               

              Thanks for your email. I'm currently on leave until Monday 9th of September with limited access to

              email.

               

              If your message is urgent, please forward it to support@msdev.co.uk or call +44 777 852 4776.

               

              In all other cases I'll reply as soon as I'm able.

               

              Cheers

              Steve

              • 4. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                mib

                Thanks for the response, wimdecorte and Nick,

                 

                I'm sorry. I should have phrased that more clearly as I do want to do the connection from the Filemaker database as a client to the server API or interface. Filemaker would, once connected to the web service, then request for new data (new orders, new customers and so on) and send new data (such as new products, invoice info and so on).
                What I meant with "do it in my web application" was that I want to do the structural mapping in the web application, that is any needed content processing between the different databases.

                I don't want to add much to the Filemaker app, except perhaps some plug-in to make it a better client for this synchonization. If that is even needed, of course.

                • 5. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                  Malcolm

                  You have XML, ODBC/JDBC or PHP as options.

                   

                  malcolm

                  • 6. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                    mib

                    I'm not sure what you mean exactly here. JDBC/ODBC would make my web server database available directly for Filemaker which is not what I want as I need to do content mapping via a facade.
                    I can imagine using XML snippets for data units or collections of data that are being synchronized, but XML is not a type of interface to me. Nor is PHP, so I'm not following you there I'm afraid.

                     

                    Is it possible to give FM the abilities of a web client so that it can use a simple restful interface API and just program FM what actions to carry out in order for making a synchronization? I can of course make the restful interface in any form that makes it more suitable for communication with Filemaker.

                    • 7. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                      mib

                      OK, I found the free Beezwax Web Services Plug-in which sems to do what I want. That is "connect to both Internet and enterprise web services, and can be used on a local FileMaker client".

                       

                      Unfortunately, the Web Services Plug-in "has not been tested with FileMaker 12 and may have incompatibilities". Anyone have used it on FM12 and can tell if it works?

                       

                      Anyone have used this plug-in with any version of Filemaker? Are there any alternatives? 

                      • 8. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                        mib

                        I also found the Curl component of the MBS plug-in from Monkeybread Software. Anyone have used this component for web services and can tell how it worked out for you? It's not free as the Web Services Plug-in, but 99€ seems reasonable.

                        • 9. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                          mib

                          There's also the free BaseElements plug-in from Goya that have some Curl functionality and support JSON in some extent. I can't really tell if this is on par with the MBS-plugin. Anyone have used the curl functionality of BaseElements and can share their experience with it?

                          • 10. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                            mib

                            Possibly yet another alternative would be the 360Works Web Assistant, but it doesn't appear very convincing to me. It's priced at $95 for the single user installation I'd need it for.

                            Anyone used this plug-in for interacting with web services?

                            • 11. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                              travis360

                              Hi MIB,

                               

                              WebAssistant wouldn't be a good answer for you here. WebAssistant is looking at web resources and can read and write to those resources - for example, web forms, getting the HTML of a page, etc.  On the other hand, Web Services Manager exposes your FileMaker data as a SOAP web service, which also seems to be different than what you are looking for.

                               

                              Two questions:

                              1) What is the web application built on (SQL, Oracle, etc.)? and

                              2) Is your FileMaker database hosed on FileMaker Server?

                              • 12. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                                mib

                                Thanks for the response, travis360.

                                 

                                My answers are:

                                 

                                1) The web application will be built as a RESTful Java Web Application largely using the Spring Framework and related technologies. I control this application in every detail including hosting and choice of technologies and features (Of course my client does both suggest features and approve the feature implementations). The underlying database is totally abstracted and can be instantly switched. MySQL, PostegreSQL or a NoSQL database package are all possible candidates.

                                 

                                2) While the current Filemaker DB is hosted on Filemaker Server, the future version will only be run locally connecting to the Web Application daily.

                                 

                                Whether we choose the options for data synchronization packets in JSON, XML or some other format isn't clear at the moment. I'll problably investigate several formats as well as ways of connecting per plug-in and do some tests before I make any decisions.

                                • 13. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                                  mib

                                  I've identified the, to me, more interesting plug-in from 360works which is the ScriptMaster. On the plus side it makes use of Groovy which a popular java-like scripting language big with the community around the main framework, Spring, that I use in my java development. Seems you may need to do some work, but it looks straightforward and the basic version is free,

                                  • 14. Re: Synchronization with external web applications?
                                    mib

                                    At least the demo works after I found a new demo version and also converted it to FM 12.

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