1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Feb 1, 2014 5:46 PM by BruceRobertson

    FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback

    TimDietrich

      Back in July, I started work on FMWebFrame, a simple, lightweight web application framework for developing custom Web applications using the FileMaker API for PHP. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to develop dynamic Web sites and Web services that are powered by FileMaker databases. ( You can learn more here: http://fmwebframe.com )

       

      Since then, I've continued to work on the project, and have used it to successfully develop several client solutions. However, for the most part I've had the project "on ice" while I waited for FileMaker 13 to ship. (I wasn't sure what the impact of 13 would be on the project.)

       

      And now, with the FileMaker 13 platform officially released, I've started working on the project once again. At this point, it isn't so much a framework as it is an add-on to FileMaker's API. It extends the API by providing support for things like ExecuteSQL and QuickFind, by providing functions to make it easier to publish containers, and more.

       

      Here's the current feature set:

       

      • Adds support for ExecuteSQL. You can query a FileMaker database using a SQL SELECT statement (with the SQL specified directly in the PHP code itself).
      • Adds support for QuickFind. Simply specify the layout to perform the QuickFind on and what to search for.
      • Provides a function that can be used to upload a file to a container field. No plugins needed.
      • Makes it much easy to publish the contents of containers, without the need for any "bridge" file, and avoiding ugly URLs. The URLs look something like this: http://yourdomain.com/60/fmBlog_FMWebFrame/Documents/16/Document/Monster-5.png In addition, it supports containers that are configured with external storage, caching, and a wide range of file types (images, PDFs, audio, video, etc).
      • Provides a function that makes it easy to cache any result received via the API. Use it to cache find results, ExecuteSQL and QuickFind results, and so on. In many cases, caching significantly improves the performance of high-traffic Web sites.
      • Provides a library of FileMaker-to-PHP translation functions, so you can use your knowledge of FileMaker functions to more quickly and easily write PHP code. For example, there's an "fmSubstitute" function that replicates FileMaker's Substitute function.
      • It is easy to install. Just copy and paste one table, one layout, and three scripts to your database, and you're set.
      • It is compatible with databases hosted on both FileMaker 12 and 13 servers.
      • And while I still neeed to work out the licensing details, FMWebFrame will be available free of charge.

       

      I still have quite a few things to do before FMWebFrame will be ready for prime time, but I'm hoping to release it in the next week or two.

       

      Before I do, I was wondering if there are any other features that you'd like to suggest. Are there challenges that you're facing with the API that you think FMWebFrame might be able to help with?

       

      Thanks in advance for your feedback and suggestions.

       

      -- Tim

        • 1. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback

          Tim, this looks amazing.

           

          One thing that I'd like would be a way create a page quickly. We're all familiar with creating FileMaker layouts. So, would it be insane to have FMWebFrame build a rough page from the objects on a layout?

          • 2. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
            reelsteve

            Hiya Tim,

             

            I'm getting chills and flashbacks at ur post as this is something I spent 6months on about 1.5 years ago and at the time, I could find no comrades seeming to have the same driving vision.  Anyways - wanted to say hi and am looking forward to looking at ur project.  Mine is too integrated into my webserver to mKe openly available but I'd be into hooking up for a show and tell session and swapping build stories and thoughts.

            Quick one for u - what is ur layout design process ?

            Thanks for sharing !!

            Beat,

            Steve

            • 3. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
              TimDietrich

              Hal --

               

              Yes, I do think it might be possible for FMWebFrame to generate a rough page based on a FileMaker layout. In fact, I've got some old code lying around that does something along those lines. If I remember correctly, you indicated what layout to base the page on, and it would create PHP code that could could be used to display a record. I think I had similar code for setting fields as well. I'll add this to the FMWebFrame "Wish List."

               

              I'm hoping to release the first version in a few weeks. In the meantime, I've just updated the FMWebFrame site with the latest info about the project: http://fmwebframe.com

               

              Thanks for the feedback!

               

              -- Tim

              • 4. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                TimDietrich

                Steve --

                 

                Thanks for saying hi!

                 

                I'd welcome the chance to learn more about the work that you were doing. In particular, I'd like to learn about the functionality that you were working on, and see if it might be something that I could add to FMWebFrame at some point.

                 

                Also, you asked about my layout design process. One of the neat things about FMWebFrame is that it only requires adding a single layout to a database. In fact, if you simply paste the FMWebFrame table into an existing database, FileMaker will generate the layout automatically. I'm not sure if that answers your question or not. If not, let me know. (More info on how you install FMWebFrame is available here: http://fmwebframe.com/examples/installing-fmwebframe.php )

                 

                Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to chat.

                 

                -- Tim

                • 5. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                  beverly

                  This is needed more than anything, Tim. The HTML/CSS/JavaScript truly is the hardest (most time consuming) part of website design. The dynamic bits (such as with php) truly are the smallest part. Having a "tool" to create the page from a layout would be very beneficial. It can be edited, of course, once created. I've spent countless hours re-creating Layout "looks" in HTML/CSS for clients.

                   

                  WD is step one in this, as it takes the layout and creates the HTML/CSS/JavaScript as needed. But you don't have control over using those bits with PHP or other web applications. And I'm cool with that!

                   

                  Beverly

                  • 6. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                    Nick.McCloud

                    This looks outstanding - but no download link available!

                     

                    I'd be happy (and honoured) to help beta test this, I regularly build PHP interfaces in to my clients FileMaker solutions and a light weight alternative to WebDirect needs moving forward.

                     

                    Nick

                    • 7. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                      TimDietrich

                      Nick --

                       

                      Thanks for the feedback. I'm wrapping up a demo application that will be provided with FMWebFrame today. If all goes well, the first version will be available for download tomorrow morning.

                       

                      -- Tim

                      • 8. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                        beverly

                        Nick, did you follow his link in the OP?

                        <http://fmwebframe.com/> There are several examples to check out.

                         

                        Beverly

                        • 9. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                          Nick.McCloud

                          Yes Bev, checked out the examples - but I'm more a hands-on, try it out sorta guy!

                           

                          Tim, cool, looking forward to taking it for a spin, the SQL part may well solve some current headaches for me!

                          • 10. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                            TimDietrich

                            Ok guys, at long last, here it is...

                             

                            The updated Web site now includes online documentation about FMWebFrame's functions:

                            http://fmwebframe.com

                             

                            A demo site is available here:

                            http://demo.fmwebframe.com

                             

                            You can download the code (which includes the PHP code and database used in the demo site) here:

                            http://download.fmwebframe.com

                             

                            Please let me know what you think, or if you have any questions. I'd love to get your feedback.

                             

                            -- Tim

                            • 11. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                              Nick.McCloud

                              Apologies for the hit and run, been playing catchup all over the place!

                               

                              Finding FMWebFrame very useful.

                               

                              The caching components are much better than my attempts and have made considerable difference to a couple of apps where there were multiple pop-up menus that didn't change very often but were being rendered for each time the form was displayed. Whilst this is a solved problem in many ways in other arenas, the simplicity and having concrete FileMaker examples has helped alot.

                               

                              The QuickFind has simplified a couple of search/list layouts where we were building a compound find with sometimes less than stella results.

                               

                              Going to be trying out the ExecuteSQL on a couple of sites soon.

                               

                              Thanks for sharing Tim, more anon,

                               

                              Nick

                              • 12. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                                TimDietrich

                                Nick --

                                 

                                Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that you're finding FMWebFrame to be useful, and it sounds like you're beginning to explore everything that it can do.

                                 

                                I'm working on an update to FMWebFrame that will add some additional functions and address a few issues that have been reported. In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming.

                                 

                                Thanks again!

                                 

                                -- Tim

                                • 13. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                                  BruceRobertson

                                  I am trying to set up fmWebFrame in my developer version of FM13 test server but having no luck.

                                   

                                  I suspect I'm not quite getting the settings.php working right.

                                  Any comments for an install into fmi-test?

                                  The regular technology-test PHP test pages work OK, so PHP is running and web publishing is working.

                                  • 14. Re: FMWebFrame - Looking For Feedback
                                    TimDietrich

                                    Bruce --

                                     

                                    I've never installed FMWebFrame into fmi-test, but in theory, it should work.

                                     

                                    Two things:

                                     

                                    • Have you manually installed the API and configured the settings so that it points to the API folder?

                                    • What error(s) are you getting?

                                     

                                    -- Tim

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