HTML5 Server Admin Tool: Be careful with what you wish for

Discussion created by worldcloud on Jan 12, 2014
Latest reply on Jan 13, 2014 by worldcloud
Be careful for what you wish for...FileMaker 13 Server Admin Tool


For years, the FileMaker Server Admin Tool has utilized a Java applet. For whatever reasons (we've heard many) SAT has been very fragile and sensitive towards newer versions of Java. We have literally lost clients because they did not have the patience to deal with getting the 'right' version of Java loaded.


Like many, we looked forward to the day when FileMaker would move away for this technology. FileMaker Server 13 introduces a new HTML5 based Server Admin Tool, which we are very happy to see; however, there are a few things which are 'less refined' in Server 13 than in pervios versions. Here's out take of SAT 13...


The Good...


No Java!!!

Update x for version y? Will it break FileMaker"? These questions should go away with SAT 13


Better Platform Support


The new HTML5 version of the Server Admin Tool can run of the iPad, iPhone, Surface RT tablet, and most every other platform we have tried to launch it from.


Remembers Passwords


This may sound like a small thing, but we log into servers multiple times a day, and this small enhancement is a time saver.


More Secure


We are not aware of a SAT security related issue prior to version 13, but in FileMaker 13 the SAT is clearly running under SSL protection.


Group Start Pages for all


In previous versions of FileMaker Server, only users using FileMaker Server Advanced had the ability to create 'Group Start Pages' for their users. Not only have these pages been enabled for FileMaker Server users, but they also include links for



The BAD...



Browser Support


Although SAT has run on most every browser we have tested, we have seen anomolies from browser to browser. HTML is a new standard, which has not even been radified, so it's not surprising to see these inconsisancies. This doesn't really bother us, but we have clients which become very disturbed when our docs don't match what they see.


File Upload


The is no longer a means to upload files through the Server Admin Tool. FileMaker Pro 13 has the ability to upload files to a FileMaker Server which is likely a better approach; however, our FileMaker Pro 12 users, which are compatiable with FileMaker Server 13 struggle with how to upload their files.


Folder Creation


When creating backup schedules, we typically will isolate each user's backups in their own folder. In pervious versions of SAT, SAT would create these folders 'on the fly', where in SAT 13 we have to RDP to the server and manually create these folders. FileMaker, Inc. does get kuddos for folder support in the Admin Groups area, which now allows the deletion of 'old folders'.


Admin Groups


We use Admin Groups on a daily basis. In the Java SAT Admin Groups was on the 'main menu', and now we have to 'drill down' to 'General Settings', and then navigate to the 'Admin Groups' tab. Once we get to this location, we can only see a very small section of our list. FileMaker gets points for allowing us to sort, but the old 'view' made it easier to locate a group and make changes.


Save Button Location


Many of our adminiatrators are on modern Windows-based laptops or MacBook Airs; utilizing these devices or utilizing RDP to control SAT via the Server, the 'Save' button is almost always off the bottom of the screen and requires scrolling- even on a 1080p based laptop. In the 'old' SAT tool, 'Save' did not require scrolling. If these where moved to the top of the layout, I feel this would speed account creation.


Session Timeouts


We understand the need for these; however, to our knowledge, there is no way to control the timeout settings. On many of our 'shared' servers, we typically have let the SAT open so that we can quickly RDP into the server and make changes throughout the day. Using the new SAT, we are forced to log in multilpe times a day.








We realize that our use of the FileMaker Server Tool is not typical of most users. The overall improvements in FileMaker Server 13 far outweigh the issues we have observed. We also realize that FileMaker, Inc. can not afford to do 'major redevelopment' to address the needs of a small set of users. With these things in mind, the following are suggestions of things which we feel could improve SAT for everyone without requiring major coding changes.



Better CLI support


FIleMaker has had a command line interface for FileMaker Server for years; however, in recent years FileMaker has added new functionality to SAT without aqdding the same underlying commands to SAT. New Group, Set Group Folder, Set Group Password, Set Group Privs, Delete Group, Get Group Detail, Get Group List- all be very welcome FMSADMIN commands.


We could also make suggestions towards schedule support, but in our case the Admin Group functions are more of a problem.



Alternate keystokes


Many of us who use FileMaker Pro on a daily basis will use the alternate keystrokes for Define Database, Layout Mode, Browse Mode, etc. as they are 'second nature' for many of us. If FileMaker, Inc. where to add Alt-keystrokes, not unlike FileMaker WebDirect; then many of the common tasks and/or layouts could be assigned a keystroke to make SAT more effeicant for those who use this tool on a daily basis.





This article was a post of one of our blogs, but I was interested to hear what other developers have discovered in the new SAT. I suspect that since it is HTML5, that some creative developers will find ways to 'tweak' SAT in more ways that before. We are aware of at least two FileMaker Server Admin Tool related tools which will likley be released at Devcon this year.


SAT doesn't normally get much attention, because most users don't need to log in on a daily basis; but since this is the first time since FIleMaker 9 that FileMaker, Inc. has made major changes to SAT, we figured that meritted a conversation...