11 Replies Latest reply on Aug 27, 2015 1:58 PM by AllegroDataSolutions

    Web Direct Going Crazy


      I built a number of layouts to be accessed via Web Direct in a client's solution. All web users have the same account name, password, and privilege set. Since Web Direct doesn't allow the account name and password to be specified in a URL to login the way IWP used to, I set the file options to automatically login every user with the web account and password. The menu is hidden from web users. Staff members can access the scripts menu, which lets them login with their own accounts. Web users have to enter values into three global fields shown on the startup screen - their company name, the password they chose when they set up their account, and the rep's name. The company names are shown in a dropdown list. When the company name and password have been entered, a script is triggered. With the window frozen, the script finds the company record and populates the value list for the third global field, showing all the reps for that company. When the rep is selected, the user presses a button that goes to a layout that shows only his company's record. From there, the user can navigate to company records in other tables. This arrangement has been working fine until now.


      Over the weekend, I uploaded the beta of a new build. I didn't change anything to do with security or the startup script. The only changes were that I saved all modified objects on all layouts to new styles and updated the changes to the themes used in the solution. Now it opens normally from with FileMaker, but FMS refuses to login with the web account and password. It sometimes displays a dialog asking for the user to manually enter the username and password -- but entering them has no effect -- it still doesn't login with the web account name and password. However, if you cancel the dialogs (and keep canceling them every time they display) you can manage to manually type in values for each field, then press the button and get into your company record (whereupon everything else works fine).


      This is a hassle for the user because he has to keep dismissing dialogs and distressing because it indicates that something is going wrong. Its also less accurate, because most companies only need to use the database a couple of times per year and they don't always remember the exact wording of how they entered the company name and their own names (Did they include their middle name? Did they use their initials?)


      I'd like to know what's going on and how to work around it.

        • 1. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

          It sounds like you did change something that affects the startup script.  Does the solution have multiple files?

          • 2. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

            It's a single file and nothing has changed except that a couple of styles on the login page were saved to the theme. The fact that it is behaving erratically also suggests a server, connection, or resource problem. The server login dialog does not always appear. Sometimes I can't type in the second field. The cursor moves there when I tab into it or click on it with a pointing device. But sometimes I start typing and nothing happens. I have to repeatedly click on it to restart (tabbing out of it would trigger the script which finds the company record and displays the third field with the drop down list populated from that record). The one other thing I want to try is finding another way to trigger that script (with a button, if necessary). But it does bother me that the behavior isn't consistent. On occasion, I have even been able to get into the database, with everything functioning normally and none of this stuff happening.

            • 3. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

              Does it happen in all browsers?

              • 4. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                Initially, the client reported it happening only in Firefox. Then they reported seeing it happen in Internet Explorer. I told them to tell their members who connect via Web Direct to use Internet Explorer and they said that everyone was able to login when they did. But that doesn't help much if this isn't stable and consistent in Internet Explorer.


                For much of the weekend I was seeing it happen with the test of their new build. But I did check their live file occasionally and I did see the same issue there sometimes. It seems totally erratic. Now I can't log in to either file and, according to the server consul, their are no Web Direct users on either database. This happened, too, over the weekend and I had the hosting company reboot the server for me.

                • 5. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                  Ok, lots of new elements here.


                  - Firefox is not a supported browser, so you should make that clear to your users

                  - you are using a cloud host; do you have access to the real FMS admin console?  If you do not have a dedicated FMS box with them they may nor may not have actually rebooted the machine.  I doubt that they did if you are just renting space because that would affect all of their other customers that are on the same machine

                  • 6. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                    "totally erratic" sounds more like a symptom of your hardware or network being overloaded, rather than a symptom of your development or FMS itself going rogue.


                    You mentioned you're on a hosting company, have you done measurements for things like latency? Are you on a shared server or a dedicated one? What specs?


                    "erratic" behavior can happen when the browser doesn't load all of the bits and pieces from FMS, it sounds like that might be what you're experiencing.

                    • 7. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                      It's definitely the host. They must have rebooted the server, because I can now login to the new file and everything is working as it should (with no changes). This is a shared hosting arrangement with a third party host. The client can't afford dedicated hosting fees and they are squeamish about hosting it themselves.


                      They had a lot of trouble with their previous hosting company. Things got a lot better when they moved to these guys. They're using better equipment and have fewer clients on each server. I'm hoping, for my client's sake, that these are temporary glitches, rather than something that will become a regular problem. I usually don't get involved with clients' hosting arrangements, but they are a nonprofit org and I have devoted a lot of my free time to sorting this out for them.

                      • 8. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                        That's cool. If you wouldn't mind can you PM me the names of the old and new hosts? We also do a fair deal of work with people using 3rd party hosting and I'm always looking for opinions from other devs. Thanks!

                        • 9. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                          allegro wrote:


                          usually don't get involved with clients' hosting arrangements,


                          Perhaps you should: http://www.soliantconsulting.com/blog/2013/01/development-vs-deployment


                          There is no point in coding the best solution ever if it is going to be deployed poorly.  In the end; you will get blamed; or at the very least you'll spend a lot of time troubleshooting.

                          • 10. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                            I pretty much am now, by default.

                            • 11. Re: Web Direct Going Crazy

                              After looking into each of the reported intermittent problems, the hosting company determined that all the problems reported by the end user were either the result of other users logging into the admin consul and never logging out or doing other things that tie up resources, or long-standing issues with FileMaker Server that have been reported to FMI but never fixed (some going back to version 13.) Neither of us found any issues with the solution itself. Everything has worked at some point on WD and it always works off-line.