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    WebDirect is Slow

    isdbiz

      Hello,

       

      Our team has been analysing Web Direct for a few months now and we have discovered a lot of useful information that will help us transition from IWP to Web Direct, but we still cannot figure out why Web Direct is so slow. We have a single server installation running Windows Server 2008 and FileMaker Server Advanced 13 with the latest FileMaker update. We decided to use the Bonsai.fmp12 file to test the performance of a basic Web Direct solution. Our results were disappointing. Searching through the records is noticably slow, with less than 500 records. Clicking into text boxes or selecting check boxes and radio buttons is not smooth and can go unnoticed by Web Direct.

       

      Are there specialized optimization instructions for the Network and Server environment for Web Direct, other than the minimum requirements in the User Guide? We are looking forawd to using a version of Web Direct that performs at leaset as fast as IWP.

       

       

      Best Regards,

      Charlie Maitland

       

      Insurance Software Design - Florida

        • 1. Re: WebDirect is Slow
          Stephen Huston

          Have you compared the same file (on Server 12) using IWP?

           

          If you're simply comparing it to FMP on a LAN connection, then any form of Wide Area Network (WAN) access will seem slow. That's the main difference between all LAN vs WAN tests and configurations. I doubt if the Bonsai.FMP12 file layouts are optimized for the best performance in WebDirect. If I recall correctly, they have a lot of images and related fields, which are going to slow down WebDirect performance.

           

          Take a look at the FMI comparison re WebDirect and IWP at:

           

          http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/12506

           

               and the updated WebDirect Guidelines at:

           

          https://fmhelp.filemaker.com/docs/13/en/fm13_webdirect_guide.pdf

          • 2. Re: WebDirect is Slow
            jormond

            Also check out this video from RC Consulting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS_8z9B95ic

            • 3. Re: WebDirect is Slow
              johnnyb

              WebDirect is resource-intensive.

               

              A two-server deployment is highly recommended, both to optimize resource allocation and to divide up the load. The database engine makes good use of high-performance storage, but can run in a modest 4-8 GB RAM. WebDirect, however, makes less use of fast storage but needs considerable RAM. FileMaker's published specifications are no lie; plan on 500MB to 1GB RAM per active WebDirect session, depending on the complexity of your solution and how intensely people use it. And that's on top of the 4GB or so that Windows or Mac OS wants in order to run smoothly.

               

              Behind RAM capacity and storage speeds, network latency is the next major culprit. Every element on a layout is a round-trip request to the server. Every click and keystroke requires a round-trip to the server. Every script trigger requires a round trip. Stacked elements multiply these round trips. Portals amplify the round trips enormously. With all of these round trip requests, poor network speeds and high latency will crush your solution's performance.

               

              In terms of requirements, WebDirect is, in effect, one instance of FileMaker Pro per active user, running on the server instead of on a client desktop. It is designed for extending FileMaker Pro solutions to systems where you wouldn't want to install FileMaker Pro. For publishing a web site, you'll want to be looking at the PHP API.

               

              The symptoms you describe suggest network latency issues, which will cause your missed-clicks problem, and memory constraints, which will cause your sorting slowness. Keep the client and the server connected via a fast network… a few megabits of bandwidth is fine, but latency under a few dozen milliseconds will help more than higher throughput.

               

              What kind of environment do you have now? What kind of resources were you planning on deploying?

              • 4. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                mikebeargie

                The speed of webdirect is directly affected by three things:

                 

                1) Server Hardware - as noted by JohnnyB a two-server setup is better, but you can run WD on a single server with enough horsepower. I'm assuming since you are on Winsrv2008 that your hardware might not be up to the task of running WD. You did not post any specs on your hardware so I can't speculate further.

                 

                2) Network Connection - If connecting via WAN, you will be limited by the SLOWER of either your server's upload speed, or your client's download speed. LAN testing (IE connecting to a 192.168.x.x address of your server) should be notably faster, and if not, see #1 above.

                 

                3) File Development - Bonsai was not purpose-built for WD, I have not even opened that file in like 5 years but I am assuming it's just been version converted a bunch of times. Try one of the FM13 starter solutions for a better look. They have layouts that were made specifically for WD. Some of the best advice I can give on WD is to rebuild your layouts specifically for it.

                 

                Just remember, if you do the minimum in setup, you will get the minimum in performance.

                • 5. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                  Stephen Huston

                  Mike Beargie wrote, in part: The speed of webdirect is directly affected by...

                  2. Network Connection - If connecting via WAN, you will be limited by the SLOWER of either your server's upload speed, or your client's download speed.

                   

                  And FM WebDirect is going to be a WAN connection by default, just like FM Go connections to hosted files, so FM Pro on a LAN is always going to be faster than either Go or WebDirect for the same layouts.

                  • 6. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                    rsalusbury

                    Upload the Bonsai.fmp12 file to a cloud hosted server like at filemakerhostingpros.com and test the performance.

                     

                    http://www.filemakerhostingpros.com/FileMaker-Pro-Database-Cloud-Hosting.html

                     

                    Then you'll know where the problem lies.

                    • 7. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                      Draco

                      ...  do not forget the number 4 : webdirect

                       

                      yet it is intractable.

                       

                      The points 1,2 and 3,... is true, but, WD still leaves much to be desired.

                      • 8. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                        mikebeargie

                        That isn't a point. The other three points I stated are all controllable by the developer. Your point can not be controlled.

                         

                        If you prepare and research and WebDirect is not the right tool for your job, then there are always other things to use.

                         

                        We're here to help people, not bemoan and lament over the shortcomings of a v1 product.

                        • 9. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                          taylorsharpe

                          I think enough has already been said about appropriate hardware and memory.  That aside, something else to realize is that WebDirect makes full use of HTML5 and has a lot more feature because of it.  But this also means a lot more code for the same layout.  Open the same layout in a web browser with IWP and do a character count and then do the same in WebDirect and do a character count and you'll find that WebDirect is a much larger file.  Additionally, a lot of what is added includes more resource intensive java scripting.  This is really just what needed to be done to bring the web experience to par with the FileMaker Pro client version. 

                           

                          FileMaker has been careful to say that WebDirect is not a replacement for FileMaker Pro.  It is not going to be as fast or respsonive as a native application like FileMaker Pro.  Keep in mind that effectively running in a web browser is like running in emulation mode and is adding another layer of software to produce what you have working in a native client.  It is doubtful that a browser solution will ever be the same speed and responiveness as a native app, especially in terms of user interface behaviors.  But there actually are times when it is faster such as a big SQL call that the client would have required all of the data pulled over the network for processing whereas the WebDirect solution would process it on the server and just display the results.

                           

                          WebDirect is a great light data access to FileMaker databases that is very easy to develop.  It is designed for small numbers to be connected.  If you want larger numbers, you'll need to optimize by using Custom Web Publishing with PHP.  That works great, but the development time is significantly more. 

                           

                          I've already had a client with 25 users try to move everyone to WebDirect when they went to FM 13 and that failed miserably.  Not only was the user interface not snappy as they were used to in FileMaker Pro, but they could not print like they did before. 

                           

                          What web direct is great is for things like making light duty use web pages to get customer feed back or to provide a web page with a product price list or other things you might have in your database that you want to expose to the public with minimal effort.  And it is a good alternative for light use when at an alternate location that might not have FileMaker Pro such as being at home or at a client's office.  But it is not a replacement for FileMaker Pro. 

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                            rsalusbury

                            I don't know what is in the Bonsai.fmp12 test file and so don't know what may be causing problems with this file.

                             

                            I can say that WebDirect works great for searching in large record sets.

                             

                            To demonstrate I set up a test database on a FileMaker Hosting Pros cloud hosting account with 1,000,000+ rows...

                             

                             

                            https://n32.fmphost.com/fmi/webd#BizList

                             

                             

                            Log in with Guest account to test.

                             

                            Not the fastest but plenty fast, especially when viewed in conjunction with all the other magic WebDirect brings for workgroup apps.

                            • 11. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                              BruceRobertson

                              Seems to work pretty well.

                              It is frustrating that if you enter find mode, enter a value, hit enter or return you get ... just a return in the field.

                               

                              And you are still waiting for Filemaker to actually perform the find.

                              This is really dumb, unusable behavior.

                              But for now, that is still how webdirect works.

                              • 12. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                                rsalusbury

                                I've actully setup quite a few of these WebDirect interfaces for various groups and training them to click the "Perform Find" button has been no problem.

                                 

                                You could also get creative with field triggers (run the search as soon as the user tabs out of the field, for instance).

                                 

                                Again, this technology has few quirks but overall it is way better than most competing approaches to webifying workgroup data.

                                • 13. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                                  Draco

                                  Hi Mike,

                                  ...this is not a lament

                                   

                                  I just wanted to clarify the point. Your description seemed to me that it could confuse other subscribers.

                                  (I refer to those who meet the 3 points, yet do not achieve adequate performance.)

                                   

                                  saludos afectuosos

                                  Draco

                                  • 14. Re: WebDirect is Slow
                                    BillMiller

                                    nice demo, Thanks!

                                     

                                    I noticed that the toolbar briefly appears at the top.

                                    Is there anyway to prevent that from show up?

                                     

                                    ~William

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