FM for db maintence (unexperinced)

Posted on 2005-04-14
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I am not an expert on db desigen although I have created a few using sql server 7 enterprise manager. I have deployed them and so far working with no problems at all. I also use coldfusion for web dev.

I have recently switched to the Mac world and I do like it so far, my main problem is the db managment system, i was not able to find something as easy as the enterprise manager!!

I came accross FM7 a few days ago, and it seems interesting, especially as a db on a local mach. since some of our application would require that the db is on a local network! and it seems that one can easily incroporate data from the db to track records and send e-mails.

My question is:

1- if one uses FM to desigen a db can one then upload this to an online sql server (the one on the hosting company, where the users enter the records themselves)?
2- would one be able to syncronize between the two db's?


Question by:MMsabry
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    FileMaker is not itself a SQL database, so you can't just upload FileMaker files to a SQL server and have them work. However, you can certainly create a SQL database with the same structure as your FileMaker database, and once you've done that you should be able to transfer data back and forth between them. FileMaker has an ODBC driver which you should probably take a look at. It will allow you to run simple SQL queries against the FileMaker data. You can also use it to build a Create Table statement that will allow you to approximate the structure of your FileMaker file. Some Filemaker field types don't exist in SQL, so it's not an exact match.

    You could also have FileMaker access another database via its ODBC driver. You can also import and export data as data files, which is probably the simplest and fastest approach. FileMaker has good support for XML, which can be very nice for synchronizing data between systems.

    One thing to keep in mind: FileMaker does not have the same data types as most SQL databases. There are no fixed-length strings for example, no integer types, no boolean types. That means any text field can be pretty much any length, and a number can hold pretty much any number value. You may need to use FileMaker's field validation rules to restrict the values that can be entered to ones that will be compatible with the SQL tables.

    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    You can read and write to an SQL base as Bill explained, but this is not a real sync, but only a repetitive import/export, even if you do it at the record level.
    I do not recommand doing this: while this is OK to get a copy of a non important phone list, one day or another, 2 people will take a copy of a given record, then put it back in SQL with a diff. value; the 1st one will be overwritten.
    If you would have an existing FM stuff, it would be a good idea to keep its interface as it is far better than what you can do in an internet browser; but in yr case, you'd better find a SQL manager for macs. So I rec. you try first in the SQL area here and ask for a SQL manager (similar to SQL control center for mySQL). Also keep in mind that linux apps can be run under X11 on osX.
    This comparison maybe weak as I do not know enterprise manager, but according to its name, it is not a user interface, but rather a admin tool?

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the input,
    SQL enterprise manager is an admin tool, that is what I need. I'm not worried about over writting the data since it is only me who will do this import/export process, but what i need to do is to be able to search through the new imported data and add it to the existing main db.

    at the same time, as far as i read about FM, it would make many things easier for me to manage the organization of our conference, the part about the db, is where the participants go online and enter their information and eventually undergo the full registration for the conferenece.

    the points are as follows
    1- move the modified files between the online db and the fm db
    2- at the actual conference registration desk, i would like to use the fm db for the registration of the participants (where sometimes they would have to conect to the internet to pay using online CC processing)
    3- I would mainly use FM for keeping track of communication between the conference organizers, to and from participants, and eventually issue invoices and invitation letters

    can this be done? I would like to keep the structure of both dbs very similar to make the maintence and modification of both dbs easy
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    It can certainly be done. You'll want to have fields in both databases that track creation and modification times and users for each record. For more control, you can use flag fields to indicate which database the change was made in, etc. Also, you'll want to avoid directly deleting records. Instead, you'll want to use a flag field to "mark for deletion" any records you don't need. That will ensure you don't end up with orphaned records on one version or the other.

    Have you considered using FileMaker for both the local AND the online databases?
    You could invest in FM Server Advanced, and have direct control of your online database and web site. Then you wouldn't have to switch between two databases, you could use the same actual database at all times.

    If your web site registration traffic is not too high, you could even use the Instant Web Publishing feature of the FM client to provide the online registration part without needing Server Advanced. You can also pay a service provider for FileMaker Server hosting the same way you can for SQL hosting.

    Lesouef has a point about multiple users doing updates at the same time if both copies of the data are "live" at the same time, but it doesn't sound like that is the case here, so you don't need to worry
    about that. People shouldn't be able to sign up online for a conference after it starts anyway, so you could download the most recent data from the online server and import it into your local database when you start the on-site registration. Do you really even need to have the data go both directions?
    If the web site is only providing online registration, and the local copy is doing other functions, you might want to make it a one-way import of data.

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