10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 12, 2013 12:03 PM by tomlangton

    Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?

    tomlangton

      I have a need for this.

      I have been accomplishing the same function using Lasso (with FMSA11 as the datasource), setting an file export marked up with html, and exporting the file with an ".xls" extension.

      The exported file (which is actually text) opens up in Excel with html formatting intact.

       

      For my needs I don't need an "real" Excel file (all the XMLy goodness underneath the covers), but rather a file that opens by double clicking on either Mac or Win and respects HTML formatting.

       

      WebDirect may (finally) be my escape hatch from Lasso, but this function is missing - without explanation.

      I've looked at the Troi File Plugin and am not sure if the answer is there.

       

      Does anyone know if:

      this is a technical issue?

      this will be enabled in the future?

        • 1. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
          mikebeargie

          Perhaps "Perform Script on Server" will allow you to save a file and place it in a container field, then your users can download the container contents. Sort of a "batch export process" function.

           

          At least it's a (theoretical) way around it. As for future export options, it seems everyone's already up in arms about the lack of good printer support, so I think export/print stuff is on Filemaker's radar.

           

          Can't expect too much out of an initial release right?

           

          PS - Lasso!

          • 2. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
            jrenfrew

            Lasso???

             

            Anyway you 'can' create xls files from FMP13 by writing them from scratch using ScriptMaster and the POI library.

            Gives you full control over the output, and the method works well on server or under WebDirect... result file?

             

            Can you post a simplified demo file?

            • 3. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
              lhoong

              I just demo'd a similar method last month at the Atlanta FM Developers Group meeting. No need for Lasso or plug-ins - just use the built-in tools. Description and downloadable demo file here:

               

              http://atlfm.360works.com/thread-60.html

               

              Lee.

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              • 4. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                jrenfrew

                Lee

                Can't download files if you are not a member.....

                • 5. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                  lhoong

                  Oops! Sorry about that - that'll teach me to try to multitask! <ugh>

                   

                  Here's a link to the files (CandyLand.zip) that should work:

                   

                  https://files.secureserver.net/0s9bn43L6u88Q6

                   

                  Lee.

                  =================

                  Binary Assist

                  220 Gaines Oak Way

                  Suwanee, GA 30024

                  Voice: (678) 313-5604

                  Internet: lhoong@binaryassist.com

                  Website: www.binaryassist.com

                   

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                  • 6. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                    lhoong

                    Just realized I should have added basic instructions for those who did not attend the demo:

                     

                    1. Once you open the file CandyLand.fmp12, go to layout Sales

                     

                    2. Select the desired Export Action - Excel Default (built-in FM default save as Excel) or Excel Formatted

                     

                    3. A .xlsx file will be saved to the user's Desktop in the selected format with the data from the Found Set.

                     

                    Lee.

                    =================

                    Binary Assist

                    220 Gaines Oak Way

                    Suwanee, GA 30024

                    Voice: (678) 313-5604

                    Internet: lhoong@binaryassist.com

                    Website: www.binaryassist.com

                     

                    FileMaker Certified Developer

                    • 7. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                      tomlangton

                      Lee,    

                      Thanks for the file.

                      When loaded onto the FM13 Server, the "Save Records as Excel" script step is grayed out and does not react in a web browser.

                      The "formatted" export comes out with an "html" extension (even though the file spec in the script wants it to be "xls") and does open nicely formatted in Excel, but my user base is not that clever. FM also ignores the specified file path and dumps it where the browser receives downloads. Also, FM WebDirect throws up a blank page to initiate the download with. It would be nice to be able to put some info on this page and close it after the download. (Again, my end users are not clever.)

                       

                      So, we're getting closer, and I am planning to play with Scriptmaster in the next couple days to see if the straighforward solution I want lies with it.

                       

                      That said, Lasso, as wonderful as it is and as caring as the folks are who author and market it, is probably a dead end product. It's been 4 or 5 years now since Lasso 9 was released, and, while the company subsequently changed ownership and has a rabidly supportive core group of users, still no printed documentation (I can't work from a wiki). And it's not free. Not a peep on the Lasso list about FM13 since FM13's release. I am still using Lasso 8.6 and FMS11 - something changed in FM12 that broke lots of my Lasso code, so I've been looking to escape it for a while.

                      FM was never a blistering fast datasource for web work, but I used it because of my familiarity with FM and the need for an in house solution that would also serve data nicely, if slowly, on the web.

                       

                      I can't upload a sample XLS/HTML file cause it's full of proprietary info.

                      • 8. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                        lhoong

                        Tom,

                         

                        The demo file was made available "as is" - it was simply designed to illustrate concepts involved in the technique and no optimization was done for use with server or web access. At the meeting, Jesse Barnum pointed out that it could be useful to get a server-side script to generate the Excel-compatible file then make it available to the user (e.g. inserted into a container field for access). Server-side scripting is now available in FM13 and also via FMRPC (SkeletonKey/360Works). Further customization should allow delivery of Excel-compatible documents to users via FM Client or WebDirect.

                         

                        Lee.

                        =================

                        Binary Assist

                        220 Gaines Oak Way

                        Suwanee, GA 30024

                        Voice: (678) 313-5604

                        Internet: lhoong@binaryassist.com

                        Website: www.binaryassist.com

                         

                        FileMaker Certified Developer

                        • 9. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                          jrenfrew

                          tom

                           

                          how many colums and how many rows in an average report for you??

                           

                          and you said at the beginning >>with html formatting intact.
                          can you explain further what you mean by that???

                          • 10. Re: Will we eventually be able to export Excel from WebDirect?
                            tomlangton

                            JR,

                            This is a report dealing with parameters for outdoor advertising. There are about 5 stakeholders, so the data that's relevant to all of them is included - about 60 columns. The number of rows varies depending on the advertisement, the location and other internals - from 2 to 500 would be the usual count range. The column and row count is kind of irrelevant.

                            What I (awkwardly) meant by "keeping the HTML formatting intact" would necessitate an intermediate table with canned column headings, and all markup, <tr> and <td>, etc. calculated (concatenated) in with the data so that the file, which would also in a browser correctly, would appear the same way in Excel. I wouldn't use FM's column headings.

                            Creating THAT file is not a big deal, it's exporting it from WebDirect with an .xls extension that is the issue.

                            With Lasso, I just serve it out as text, but I am not restricted from naming the file, and extension, whatever I desire. Adding an ".xls" extension to the export immediately opens it with Excel on my user's computers (and they are happy).

                            FM's WebDirect opens up a goofy blank web page to accommodate any file download and I predict my user base will become confused and go out for coffee and cigarettes. It is just the way these humans react to the unexpected.