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FM - Issue with Using ODBC

Posted on 2013-02-04
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Last Modified: 2013-02-11
Using ODBC was such a pain, I bailed on it 6 months ago.  Trying again, however, when I follow the directions, it tells me to "Choose File menu > Sharing > ODBC/JDBC, and click "on" then "Select the filename(s) to share from the list of open files."  However, no file names appear.  See attached.  (Note:  Yes, I do have Advanced Server and ODBC is turned on in it.)  Not sure why using ODBC with FM has been so difficult.  10 years ago, I used ODBC with MS Access and it was as easy as using Word or Excel.
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Question by:rvfowler2
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8 Comments
 
LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 400 total points
ID: 38852077
ODBC drivers for Microsoft Office products come with Windows.  Most other drivers do not.  The most common problems in questions here about ODBC get resolved when the right driver is installed.  If Filemaker is on your machine, the driver was probably installed with it.  If Filemaker is on a different machine, then you probably don't have the driver and will have to get it and install it.

http://www.filemaker.com/support/technologies/odbc.html
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 38852493
I went to your link and the last in the list is what I wanted to do - use Filemaker as a data source (for Word).  However, when I clicked on that link, it just brought me to the same Help page I've been using.  In following the directions, I still end up with no db files showing.  If there is some ODBC driver I need to install on my local machine, what is it and where is it.  The Help page says nothing of downloading a driver to my local machine.
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Angell earned 1600 total points
ID: 38852542
FileMaker was not built with connections from 3rd party applications in mind.  Even when you get their ODBC driver working it will not perform well at all.  Fair warning.

FileMaker's "solution" to this problem was the introduction of External SQL Sources.  If you're going to be working with web apps, mobile apps, or whatever, they recommend that you use a platform like MySQL, Access, etc. to connect to your app.  Then you can hook that database up to FileMaker using External SQL Sources and you'll have access to that 3rd party DB data within FM just like it was actual FM data.  You can create layouts with it, create scripts, calculations etc.

It's a big pain in the ass, quite frankly.  I've been begging FM for years to just solve their issues with ODBC and Custom Web Publishing / PHP API.  They all perform horribly and they know it.  Again, though, their solution was to tell you to use a different database and hook it up to FM.

Then you'll have to write FM scripts to sync all of that data with your actual FM layouts/tables, or leave it in the 3rd party database and work with it from there directly.
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 38852544
If you click on the link in blue, it says that if you have Filemaker on your local machine, the driver should have installed with it.  If Filemaker is running on a remote machine, only FileMaker Server Advanced will work with the remote connection.

To share your FileMaker database file as a data source over a network, use FileMaker Server Advanced.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 38852632
First, I'm wanting at this point to do something very simple by creating ODBC merge fields in Word that link back to Filemaker.  

Second, I do have Filemaker Server Advanced, but of course am managing it from my local machine.  My local machine has Windows 7, which it says should have the drivers already downloaded.  However, I think my question is even before this point.  In Filemaker, I can't even see my own databases listed (shown in the jpg file I attached earlier).
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 38853061
I don't see a jpeg attached anywhere..??
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 38856724
Sorry, my bad.  Didn't attach for some reason.
-ODBC-Capture.jpg
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LVL 2

Author Closing Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 38877455
Just appreciated that someone finally stated the obvious that the way Filemaker works with ODBC is very un-user friendly.
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