WebDirect … the buggy beta version?

Discussion created by on Dec 12, 2013
Latest reply on Jan 8, 2014 by thornburg

Hi there


I am converting a huge FMP 12 IWP solution to FMP 13 WebDirect.


After working some hours adjusting layouts and scripts, I must say that I'm starting to doubt if this is the right move.



It is quite a big solution with many tables and tons of relations.

The whole thing was designed for IWP and it runs pretty fast (just the smallest hosting plan available).


Looking from the end users point of view, WebDirect is just an update of IWP. I know that it is a complete new approach with many exiting features, but the user won't see that.



I installed a FileMaker Server 13 on a 2,66 GHz Quad Core i7. It is in my office with a gigabit ethernet connection to my workstation.

I did not install any extra seats for WebDirect - just using the one included while developing.


WebDirect is slooooooooooow compared to IWP.
IWP does not commit data by itself. To ensure that data got commited, I put a commit step into the navigation.

During commit I would set some values for caching data to get portals and search go faster.


In WD any click in the navigation now results in a box "Please wait while the script is being executed".


I have some pretty long portal rows with some filtering. In IWP the result could be a short delay when entering such a layout. But then scrolling was smooth and fast.

WD loads some of the records and when you scroll it will stop and load some more. The portal rows not loaded are white and after a second a spinning wheel ... and then numbers showing which records are being loaded. We need some options here to force a pre load.


Same goes for lists. IWP had a limit of 25 records in list view. That was a bit annoying - but it was easy to make navigation buttons and control. And switching to the next 25 was fast.

WD shows part of the list and when you scroll down it will load more records on the fly. But it is slow - and complety impossible to control. You scroll a bit down, get a lot of white fields, a spinning wheel, then a note with the record numbers loading ... but you might have scolled a bit too far and then it will start loading some more and wait again.

But ... this must only be when you scroll down and get more items into view? NO ... when you have scrolled down and needs to go up again, the same thing happens. Even though you just saw the records a moment ago.


To navigate a list view like this demands patience and slow movements on the scroll wheel. Like handling nitro glycerine.


Any change of layouts takes 1 or 2 seconds - enough to make you click once more - with unpredictable results as the next click might hit a button, that has not come to view.


It is really sluggish ... and that is ONE connection via GIGABIT ETHERNET.


I know that I'll have to adjust and tweak my scripts but I'm quite shocked at this so far.


And the bugs ... oh the horror. Simple things that MUST have been noticed by FileMaker.


TextColor in calculations doesn't work.

Alignment of text doesn't work - all is aligned to left - makes the layouts look pretty lame.

Indent doesn't work.

If you place a field in the tab area of tabs it will get pushed down beneath the tab area (I have had a number value in some of the tabs - and I used to put language translations into tabs this way).

WebViewer doesn't show content.



What did I get?

It is nice that the page doesn't reload when entering a field.

Transparent gifs in containers remain transparent.

Drag and drop images into container fields.

I can skip a PHP/AppleScript/FileMaker/robot combo for uploading images (I still need the FileMaker/robot for sending PDFs to the users though - no printing yet).

I can skip some commit steps.

I don't need to put fields on top of tabs to translate the tab name to other languages.



The conclusion:

I really hope this a buggy beta version of WebDirect, and FileMaker is working really hard on optimizing speed. If the speed doesn't improve it is a catastrophe ... an improved IWP had been better.


I will continue playing with WD ... but I won't go into production with it yet.


Best regards