FMStudio is a fine tool. It will help you will auto-correct and prepopulating the code libraries for you. That said, it has the same weakness as many of the similar tools that write code for you: It writes code that is really hard to modify after the fact (especially if you're a PHP newbie). For that reason, I'm not a fan, in general, of frameworks like it (such as letting Dreamweaver write my web pages).
If you plan to just put the web site together and never touch it and don't really want to modify it, then you can proceed down the FMStudio path. It makes it faster and easier to build. But if you really want to learn PHP and understand how things work, then my standard advice is: Learn PHP and understand how things work.
That said, you will receive advice from others who are advocates of the opposite approach - who say they use FMStudio and modify the code on a routine basis. That's great if it works for them, but I've never been able to get it to work for me. I'm old school, in this regard; I prefer to understand the code.
If you decide you want to go the "learn PHP" route, here are a couple of good resources:
The problem I have is I have only about 3 weeks to finish this. Do you think thats efficient time?
To learn PHP and code a solution? No, that's not really enough time.
You might be able to create a reasonably performing solution in FMStudio, but there are limitation as were noted above.
It might be wise to hire a consultant that's an expert in CWP to assist in that time frame, or seriously communicate with your client regarding expectations of what can be delivered in three weeks for something you have no experience with.
I would highly recommend writing your own PHP code instead of using FMStudio. Having tried to use FMStudio, I can’t recommend it …
I would also recommend you get a copy of Jonathan Stark’s excellent book:
http://www.amazon.com/Web-Publishing-PHP-FileMaker-9/dp/0672329506/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8 <http://www.amazon.com/Web-Publishing-PHP-FileMaker-9/dp/0672329506/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394643662&sr=8-1&keywords=jonathanstarkphp> &qid=1394643662&sr=8-1&keywords=jonathanstarkphp
Don’t worry about the “FileMaker 9” in the title. Everything in this book is still relevant, and I believe this is the single best book to use to learn the basics of PHP and FileMaker. You can probably build a PHP web page that connects to your database and does some trivial find and display within an hour after reading the first couple of chapters.
But as Mike B. suggests, building a CWP app is not trivial, so think seriously about his advice to get some help … especially if your deadline I hard and fast and involves critical business processes.
Peace, love & brown rice,
FileMaker + Web: Design, Develop & Deploy
Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12
Member: FileMaker Business Alliance
One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>
Austin, Texas • USA
Why not upgrade to 13 and use Web Direct?
David's Suggestion is by far the easiest solution and you said you need something quick. Three weeks is plenty for a Web Direct solution that has simple requirements that you set out. The biggest challenge is making sure your users have current web browsers that support HTML5. Otherwise it is easy to creat the solution in FileMaker layouts that Web Direct renders.
Can I still host that solution with FMS 12?
Would I only need FM13 to develop it?
Webdirect is a new product in FM13, it will not work hosted on an FM12 server
You can always use Instant Web Publishing with FileMaker 12 Server, but there were significant reasons why FileMaker rewrote IWP in FileMaker Server 12 to make a completely new FileMaker Server 13 Web Direct rendering engine for web browsers in HTML5. You can hanker with IWP if you want, but if you do, it will only make you appreciate Web Direct all the more. I recommend you upgrade to 13 and do Web Direct like David and Mike have also suggested.