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    FMP in web-based community consultation

    pantarhei

      I may need to facilitiate community consultation & feedback in an urban design project. There’d need to be general feedback and also feedback on specific proposals (up to hundreds), which would be described in the database.

       

       

      I have no prior experience (except a couple of small tests) in using FMP as a web-based system, but I've been a user and occasional developer for some 20 years.

       

       

      Would it be feasible and possible for me to create a rather simple, mainly free-form text, feedback system that anyone could use?

       

       

      One of the issues is preventing ”intenet forum” -style nonsense and arguments while also avoiding the need of constant monitoring and censorship. What I have in mind is this:

       

       

      A feedback form that can be created with Guest access but is inaccessible until approved by a ”moderator”, then becomes visible to everyone but is not editable.

       

       

      Another important issue is user interface and need of instructions. Assuming quite ordinary people who surf the web, use email and access their banks, would they be able to use the database with minimal on-screen guidance?

       

       

      I’d use probably use my existing FMP 11 since this is an almost pro-bono job; any fee is likely go to hosting the database…

       

       

      Any thoughts are most welcome!

        • 1. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
          DavidJondreau

          >Would it be feasible and possible for me to create a rather simple, mainly free-form text, feedback system that anyone could use?

           

          No.

           

          You're much better off looking into free web-based forum apps. Or even a wordpress blog with commenting.

          • 2. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
            pantarhei

            Why not? There would be definite advantages in using FMP (or some other database if FMP is not capable) and we specifically do not want a ”forum”.

            • 3. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
              DavidJondreau

              For starters, you coneptualization is off.

               

              -Your treating the word "forum" like it's dirty. But you want people to post comments about specific topics on a website? That's a forum. OK, posts have to be pre-approved, but it's still a forum (there's plenty of such moderated forums out there). That posters can't edit their post after submission doesn't affect the label either. Nor a lack of threading. Technet is a forum.

               

              -Call it whatever you want, you're still going to have to moderate to deal with spam, trolls, and inflamatory comments. How are you going to prevent those things without "constant monitoring" and "censorship"?

               

              -You think a "database" would be advantageous? All commenting or forum-based (whatever you want to call it) software is databse driven. Technet is database-driven. Having a databse backend is not optional.

               

              -This wheel has already been invented. There's plenty out there for free. Customizable to meet your needs, or as close as possible considering reality.

               

              -Building a robust web-based system in FileMaker to be used by hundreds for free is not the job of a novice, or intermediate developer. Or anyone really.

               

               

              Look at creating a WordPress blog. Each topic can be a blog post and you can allow non-threaded comments that require approval before submission.  It's free and relatively simple. That's my reccomendation.

              • 4. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                pantarhei

                Well, my friend, your tone is a good example of the kind of commentary we wish to discourage.

                 

                We do not want people to comment comments. We want to have as structured data as possible, including hard data from people who know the area, rankings of importance and the like and so on, instead of interpreting their comments.

                 

                But obviously we have to look at other database platforms if FMP is not suitable. Another person in our group knows MySQL quite well.

                 

                Thanks!

                • 5. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                  BruceRobertson

                  You are completely missing the point.

                   

                  There is nothing that David has said the makes MySQL more suitable.

                   

                  You are not distinguishing between a pile of bricks; and an architect.

                   

                  The raw materials that you build with (FileMaker or MySQL) are a profoundly different thing from architecture, construction, and maintenance.

                  • 6. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                    pantarhei

                    The MySQL-person in our community group says that he can do such a database, so obviously it is a more suitable material for our architecture. I’m by the way an architect myself.

                    • 7. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                      BruceRobertson

                      You're still completely missing the point; and you are not making a logical statement.

                       

                      The technology is not the issue here.

                       

                      You have found a PERSON who claims to understand the job and who works with a particular brick material.

                       

                      Consequently, all the issues that David described still apply.

                      • 8. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                        pantarhei

                        What I have learned from David and you is that FMP cannot be used to create a simple, structured questionnaire that ordinary people could use. That’s fine, I'll move on.  It is, however, advertised to be capable of such a task.

                         

                        Some 20 years ago I was a member of the FMP developer network. The membership had to be renewed annually, by signing a contract. One of the clauses was that a Developer must recommend FMP for every task. One year I stroke that over and told that I can recommend it only when appropriate. My membership was cancelled.

                         

                        A couple of years ago I replied to an emai from Filemaker Inc asking essentially the same question; I replied similarly. The country manager got back to me and demanded an explanation.

                         

                        I am somewhat confused. Neither of you have provided any reasons why FMP could not be used in my situation, but I have to trust you.

                         

                        Is there something one can do with FMP?

                        • 9. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                          BruceRobertson

                          What you have concluded is quite mysterious.

                           

                          It certainly has no basis in anything that anybody has said.

                           

                          That has been the ongoing issue in your replies; an inability to distinguish between a brick; and a skill plus a complex spec.

                           

                          Nodoby has stated that you can't do this in FileMaker.

                          It is possible that it will be EASIER to do in FileMaker than in MySQL.

                           

                          What David has described are the universal challenges of building a web-based forum.

                          • 10. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                            Stephen Huston

                            Such a system could certainly be built in FMP, however, that is not what was originally asked:

                            I have no prior experience (except a couple of small tests) in using FMP as a web-based system...

                            Would it be feasible and possible for me to create a rather simple....

                            I am sure that the original "No" response was due to the stated hope for this to be simple for someone without prior experience in building such a system.

                             

                            I'm sure you will not find SQL to be simpler than FMP unless you have more experience in SQL than FMP, but you can certainly find skilled people who can do this in either  system if they have the requisite experience and skills.

                            • 11. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                              pantarhei

                              Well, compared with the systems I’ve built, this one is extremely simple. If getting FMP to work via web browsers is extremely difficult, perhaps the marketing material should say so: do not expect to use web sharing unless you pay thousands to an obnoxious consultant.

                               

                              I have no interest in MySQL, but as I told, we have a knowledgeable person in the group.

                              • 12. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                                pantarhei

                                It is not a forum. It is a feedback form, a questionnaire. But obviously that is very, very difficult to do with FMP.

                                • 13. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                                  BruceRobertson

                                  "Obviously."

                                   

                                  ??

                                   

                                  Note that a survey solution template comes with the FileMaker Server installer.

                                  • 14. Re: FMP in web-based community consultation
                                    wsvp

                                    pantarhei wrote:

                                     

                                    perhaps the marketing material should say so: do not expect to use web sharing unless you pay thousands to an obnoxious consultant.

                                    I think FileMaker is planning to add this disclaimer to the next version of FileMaker.

                                     

                                     

                                    pantarhei wrote:

                                     

                                    I have no interest in MySQL, but as I told, we have a knowledgeable person in the group.

                                    Good to know there is one knowledgeable person in the group.

                                     

                                     

                                    pantarhei wrote:

                                     

                                    Well, my friend, your tone is a good example of the kind of commentary we wish to discourage.

                                    It is obvious by your replies that you set a very high standard for commentary... I think the point which David and Bruce are trying to get across is that, just because you can do something, does not always mean you should do something. It is not necassary that you agree with every reply posted, but... It is wise to listen to what they have to say... Additionally it should be appreciated that they took the time to write it.

                                     

                                     

                                    pantarhei wrote:

                                     

                                    Some 20 years ago I was a member of the FMP developer network. The membership had to be renewed annually, by signing a contract. One of the clauses was that a Developer must recommend FMP for every task. One year I stroke that over and told that I can recommend it only when appropriate. My membership was cancelled.

                                    I would not even think this would be legally possible.

                                     

                                     

                                    pantarhei wrote:

                                     

                                    Is there something one can do with FMP?

                                    Probably not, I think we should all just call it quits.  Where is that damn resume paper?

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