WebDirect

What is FileMaker WebDirect?

WebDirect is a technology that allows FileMaker databases to run in a web browser without any additional client software. WebDirect replaces previous Instant Web Publishing, was first released on the FileMaker 13 platform, and has been continually improved and expanded ever since. 

Used technologies

FileMaker WebDirect uses the following technologies to run database solutions in a web browser:

  • HTML5 for the definition and structure of the website to be displayed
  • CSS3 to control the appearance
  • JavaScript for all interactive control elements
  • HTTP(S) and WebSocket protocols for communication with the browser

To use FileMaker WebDirect, the use of a FileMaker Server is mandatory. FileMaker Server makes the databases available on the network or the internet. The web publishing engine built into FileMaker Server translates the FileMaker databases, layouts and data into HTML5, CSS and JavaScript for display in a browser. The built-in web server sends the translated data to the web browser. As in a FileMaker client, communication with the database takes place in real time, so any change to data in the browser directly affects the FileMaker database.

Supported web browsers

FileMaker WebDirect currently supports the following web browsers (as of FileMaker 15):

>macOS>/strong>: Apple Safari and Google Chrome>/li>
>iOS>/strong>: Safari>/li>

Accessing a FileMaker Server with WebDirect

FileMaker Server ships with one (1) client connection for user connections (WebDirect and FileMaker Go). A FileMaker Server can optionally be expanded to include additional concurrent accesses.

If a FileMaker Server has been set up with appropriate databases, the WebDirect startup center can be accessed from the following URL in the browser:

http://HostOderIP-Adresse/fmi/webd

HostOrIP address refers to either a host name or IP address where the FileMaker Server can be reached on the network. If SSL is enabled, ‘HostOrIP Address’ must be the fully qualified domain name from the SSL certificate instead of the IP address.

Open a database directly in WebDirect with the following URL:

http://HostOderIP-Adresse/fmi/webd#Datenbankname

If a script is to be started to start a database, use the following URL:

http://HostOderIP-Adresse/fmi/webd#Datenbankname?script=Scriptname&param=Script-Parameters

Please note that names and parameters must be specified in HTML syntax. Umlauts have to be displayed in a correspondingly coded way (e.g. ü for ‘ü), as well as spaces (%20).

Restrictions for WebDirect

Because WebDirect databases run in a browser, there are some limitations compared to running them with a FileMaker Pro client. For example, you cannot open multiple windows in a WebDirect application. The following are limitations that you must consider when developing databases for WebDirect.

Plug-ins – Only plug-ins developed explicitly for use in WebDirect are supported under WebDirect. Most “normal” plug-ins developed for FileMaker will not work under WebDirect.

Print and PDF files

In WebDirect, it is not possible to print records in the same way as in a FileMaker Pro client. It is also not possible to create PDF files when using WebDirect. However, if the FileMaker solution you are using has a print file that logs all printouts, it is possible to program a workaround. To do this, mark a printout from WebDirect and later print it from a process machine or by a user with a FileMaker Pro client.

database definitions

WebDirect users cannot define fields, value lists, layouts, scripts, relationships, external data sources, or database schemas. However, switching layouts or layout views is possible in WebDirect.

Table View

FileMaker WebDirect does not support display in Table View. If a script in WebDirect switches to Table View and no other view is defined on the layout, FileMaker WebDirect switches to List View.

overlaid (stacked) objects

Under WebDirect, FileMaker does not support overlapping objects, even if the top object is transparent or hidden. For WebDirect layouts, do not use stacked objects, but use calculated objects instead, for example.

Not supported text styles

FileMaker WebDirect does not support some text styles: highlighting, paragraph text formats, and tab stops. Rich text styles are only supported if the browser you are using supports them.

Customized menu bars

Using customized menu bars has no effect in FileMaker WebDirect and is not supported.

Not Available Script Steps

Not all script steps are available for FileMaker WebDirect. The following script steps are not available for use in WebDirect:

  • Enable Preview Mode
  • Execute search/replace
  • Insert from device
  • Insert from Index
  • Insert QuickTime
  • Copy data/query
  • Copy all data/queries
  • Save data sets as Excel
  • Save records as PDF
  • Customize window
  • Change window position/size
  • Arrange all windows
  • Scroll window
  • Show/hide text ruler
  • Set zoom level
  • New file
  • Open file
  • Close file
  • Convert file
  • Set network access
  • Set Use System Formats
  • Save copy as
  • Restore file
  • Set up printer
  • Print
  • All spell checking functions
  • All functions for menu items except “Help
  • Allow formatting bar
  • Error tone
  • Speak
  • Dial phone number
  • Install Menu Set
  • Set DDE Execute
  • Run AppleScript
  • Send Event
  • Store cache on disk

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About Author

Markus Schall
Development of FileMaker databases since 1994, modification and extension of FileMaker solutions, conversion of FileMaker databases from .fm, .fp3, .fp5 (FileMaker 2-6) or .fp7 (FileMaker 7-11) to .fmp12 (FileMaker 12-17), interfaces to third-party systems such as online shops, CMS or other databases. Development of individual FileMaker database systems based on the gFM business framework with personal advice from Oldenburg. Operator of the online specialist portal goFileMaker.de, developer of the CRM and merchandise management system gFM-Business. Member of FileMaker Business Alliance, FileMaker Developers Subscription and FMM Expert. Winner of an FMM Award 2011, awarded by the FileMaker Magazine.