Couldn't agree more. I think WebDirect is an exciting new development and opens up a whole new ball game when it somes to solution deployment. I was disappointed to see that printing is still not natively available and there are definite issues with performance when using WebDirect over WAN, however it takes time for such significant new imrpovements to settle.
Yes, aside from all the griping and groaning going on around here, I really need WebDirect
My Special Ed solution is dead in the water right now, because it is not "Web Based"
and I heard a rumor that one school district is considering throwing out all their Macs, and going with web tablets instead. Yikes !
If you design for WebDirect then the performance, in my experience, can be very good - the key thing to remember is that the communication between the web-based client and the data is all happening on FMS13 - i.e. one part of the server is talking to another part - and that communication is very much more efficient than the FMPro client deployment where FMPro is talking over the WAN to the Server and trying to control each step of each operation - bit by bit over the WAN - sort of fly-by-wire.
You do need to ensure that you don't ask your browser to display long lists of records - if you design so that users get straight to the records they want or when lists are required they are not too long then I think you may be pleasantly surprised - I was.
I have collected performance data in a log table on the server today and compared the speed of WebDirect with the same operation undertaken on FM Pro and alternatively undertaken by execution on the server - this is all over WAN to a server about 175 miles away.
On the server the average time for each "run script on server" operation - on a sample of 118 - is 0.297 seconds - with WebDirect it is 0.425 seconds and with FM Pro 5.55 secs - these are merely averages - not exact comparison of identical sets of operations - but the difference is clearly very real.
However, this is using a system designed for simplicity and speed for FMGo access last year which I have just adapted to suit WebDirect.
I am happy to invest time in building stuff that I am confident will work really well under Webdirect and to rethink what I believe a Fliemaker system should provide and how it should work - because for me WebDirect is the future.
So right, Nick! Just because can 'instantly' publish a layout, does not mean it's optimized for Web or GO.
There is still a need to be testing/revising/testing before deploying with WD. I do this now in FM12 for IWP and FMGo. Use the tool the way it is intended and it will serve you well.
And for those that really need what WD (or the old IWP) cannot:
we still can do CUSTOM WEB PUBLISHING with FMS13
I'm glad that WD is so much more than IWP, but have been in the web publishing (all sorts of databases and web applications) for many years. There will always be clients that need more.
Fortunately, I have clients that connect in all ways: server/client, server/iPad, server/web (IWP, now WD) and server/web (custom). Sometimes there are layouts specific to "method", and sometimes you can get away with carefully pulling the best of all worlds.
Plus note, that IE is NOT one of the suggested/tested browers.
Edit: It is IE 11 that is not listed as a supported browser.
You are quite right Joshua - but in fact - in my testing running IE under Windows 7 it seemed to run fine and in some cases respected formatting better than Safari - which surprised me. Personally I prefer Chrome on Windows but it was good to see that IE appeared quite well behaved.
Not sure what you mean? IE 9 and 10 are supported for WebDirect.
Thanks David - I have tested MSIE and it was fine as I said - when Joshua commented that IE is not supported I didn't check whether or not he was correct - my memory is that only Firefox falls into the unsupported category - so I commented as above.
I have now checked my notes and this is what I think FMI said:
Browser Support (for FM WebDirect)
Safari 6.x (or latest)
IE 9, 10
Chrome 21.x (or latest)
Mobile Safari 6.x
Chrome 18.x for Android 4.0.4
Thanks for the clarification.
BTW - you were very helpful a few months ago on how to run scripts on server through CWP. I used that approach and then adapted those scripts to use the new Run on Server script step - so far as I can see it runs pretty fast - can you see any difference in performance between these two methods?
Hmmm...I'll have to look for the page I was looking at. The page I saw did not list IE.
Found it...I was looking at the post about IE 11 (which has not been tested and is buggy).
I have not tested the performance between the two and I don't plan to. My technique is now, happily, obsolete! I suppose it's possible it might be faster, but I doubt it, and the development time to do it makes FM 13's native method a gazillion times more attractive.
Just want so share some deployment experiences from the past few weeks about Web Direct. I haven't done any scientific test like Nick did, just some general experiences.
1) I started with installing FMS on the "cloud server". I used the service from Rackspace, Win 2008, SSD. I tested the cloud server and everything was pretty good, the file download speed, the remote desktop speed..... Then I added in FMS. Well.... poor performance. It tooooook a long time to load a complicated layout with 100+ objects. Web Direct, I was very upset about "FMS 13" at that time. I thought it was worse than FMS 12.
2) deploy single machine model in my office computer. Mac Pro, SSD. This machine is my daily use desktop with all kind of stuff in there. It's not an optimal environment for the server. Of course the Web Direct performance over the WAN is not impressive at all. However the FM Pro, FM Go performance was much much better than the cloud server.
3) deploy single machine model in a Xserve 2009, 4 Core, 6GB RAM, 7200 rmp. Web Direct over the WAN, not so impressive either. Same as previsous setting.
3) two machine model, I tried both ways: Xserve as worker machine & Mac Pro as master machine; Xserve as master machine & Mac Pro as worker machine. Well, Web Direct performance was not so impressive. But overall all I did see improvements.
==== now I began to believe what FM document said about the hardware requirement is serious. I upgraded the hardware by putting in $$$ ====
4) two machine model:
- Master machine- Xserve 2009, 8 Core, 32 RAM, 7200 rmp disk
- Workder machine- Xserve 2009, 4 core, 16 RAM, 7200 rmp disk
A lot of Web Direct performance improvement over the WAN. Happy enough now.
5) finally.... I am very happy now. Here is the final deployment
- Master machine- Xserve 2009, 8 Core, 32 RAM, 3G SSD from OWC
- Workder machine- Xserve 2009, 4 core, 16 RAM, 7200 rmp disk
I couldn't be happier. With this performance assurance, I am more confident to jump into the development of Web Direct solutions. But still a bit worry about what if 51 users login at the same time.
I think layout structure is as important... if not MORE important than the hardware. We pretty much determined that by building layouts correctly... and building lite... that you can cut the amount of data being chewed on by FMS13, the Web Publishing Engine, WebDirect by half (at least half, if not more.)
That thread is here:
Also... just a bit of caution. I periodically meet developers who get into trouble with their clients by promising solutions, without understanding the limits of technology.
I have been working with WebDirect for a while... but until I am not comfortable making promises about how far and wide my team can deploy it, before it falls down. Plus there are some serious bugs that need treatment.
I am not concerned if a customer has 5 or 10 users on their own server. Thats fine. But loading up one server... with a heavy solution is asking for trouble.
In the hosting business, I don't really know how to handle this. The average user won't follow the instructions in our training video... so they will build giant layouts in Classic theme... and then want to host it on a shared server. Bad news. A couple jokers like this... and a FileMaker Server can really slow down.
The potential for abuse is great.
Effectively, any moderate deployments of WebDirect, a customer needs to be looking at their own Server... either virtual or real.
Also... you need to be thinking about SSD's if possible... unless it is a virtual server... like Amazon EC2. Then you just end up buying an Instance on a box... with as much horsepower as you can afford.
(1) One issue to watch for in designing for FM WebDirect - an issue I faced when working out how to prevent all the error log entries - is that once you call a script to run on server - any subsequent calls need to be local - since they are being called by the new local session on the server. I think some folk are calling everything to run on server which leads to many errors being logged on the server which in turn means that the script sequence will not run as efficiently as it could.
(2) Richard - thank you for the link to your video - I look forward to watching it
Cheers and best wishes for 2014