Filemaker desktop upgrade

I am working on a project with a company that is using filemaker on the desktop. They want to upgrade the system since it is slow. The requirements are that it can be accessed from the web with security. The application stores images that will be shown on a web and printed in a book. Text is also collected for both the book and web.  There are adjustments made to the images like cropping or recentering which are currently done out of filemaker and then resaved into filemaker. The company uses both Mac and Pcs. I have been looking for a tool that would give them what is needed but have not found one. Is there a tool that would work? I am not sure if filemaker cloud is a good option. Thanks
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kw66722Asked:
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Will LovingPresident, Dedication Technologies, Inc.Commented:
It's  not clear if you are asking advice for an existing FileMaker-based app for your needs or on revising your current app to meet the updated requirements. I'm going to assume the latter and make a few points. You can followup with revised or additional questions.

First, FileMaker Cloud is not a solution to a specific database need, it is a simply a way to move from using a Windows or Mac server machine - either locally or on a leased rack server somewhere - to using an instance of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host FileMaker Server. Using FM Cloud still requires a FileMaker Server license but instead of paying for and managing your own or a leased server, you pay for the amount of computing time and processor power you require from AWS. FM Cloud has the advantages that it is: 1) cost effective, 2) removes the need to manage your own server, 3) can take snapshot backups, 4) is very fast, and for web serving is very close to the Internet backbone.

Deployment options

You have several options in terms of deployment, but they basically come down to using FileMaker Pro or using FileMaker WebDirect.

If you wish to continue to use Filemaker Pro on Mac and Window desktops for image editing, I would recommend a FLT or FileMaker Licensing for Teams license. With FLT, instead of having individual license keys for each Filemaker Pro install, licensing counting is handled by FileMaker Server. You install a special version of FileMaker Pro called "Filemaker Pro for User Connections" (FMPUC) which requires no license key but will quit after 15 minutes if it cannot contact Filemaker Server (which has an FLT license key) to authenticate against. You buy FLT in increments of 5, so 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. and FM Server tracks the number of connected, concurrent users. If 15 users are connected and then two either quit FMPUC or time out, those two connections become available for other users. This allows you to install FMPUC on every computer in that might need it, but only purchase a license for the maximum number of simultaneous/concurrent connections that you might need.

FileMaker WebDirect allows you to publish an existing Filemaker layout to the web with no HTML coding. WebDirect does an amazing job of replicating what you see in FileMaker Pro or Pro Advanced when you design the layout and most of the functionality available in FM Pro is available in WebDirect. However, there ARE limitations to working in a web Browser including speed, presentation and plugins, if you need them. Depending on how your images are being worked with, WebDirect may or may not be an appropriate solution for your image editors. If you need to display images for web viewing only you can almost certainly use WebDirect for that bypassing the need for any HTML programming (FM Server is using CSS under the hood for all of this).

Performance

If users are finding your current setup too slow, there are a number of steps that can be taken to increase performance.

  • Make sure you are using the latest version of FileMaker. With each new version Filemaker has made enhancements to increase performance between FM Server and clients running Pro. Users going from FM 13 to FM 16, with no other changes, notice a distinct additional snappiness.
  • Make sure that: All users are hardwired with ethernet and not using WiFi;  network hardware is Gigabit ethernet, and that users computers report connecting at Gigabit (1000BaseT)  speeds in their networking control panel; there is no older switches or hubs that are creating bottle necks.
  • Your server fits current "Recommended" specs for FileMaker Server  
  • That indexing on the server is turned OFF, especially for the FileMaker Server / Data  folder. Indexing is unnecessary and counter productive on a database server and slows down database file access, especially on large files.
  • Make sure that all your layouts are NOT using the Classic Theme but have been redone to use one of the most recent Themes like "Enlightened" or "Tranquil". When you apply the new Theme to the layout it will change many elements on the layout and if the layout is complex it may require a lot of reworking, along with adding, defining and redefining existing Styles. However, once you're done, you're whole layout will be based on CSS rather than FileMaker's older proprietary graphics engine and it will load and operate much faster,  both in FM Pro and using WebDirect.
  • Your server hardware should be optimized for database use. Often switching to an SSD can make a big difference if you are currently using a traditional HD

Image Storage

One other point related to both performance and management of images: if your images are currently being stored directly within the FileMaker database file, you probably want to switch to the "External Container" option. When you add an image to a FileMaker record, FM Server will automatically store it on the Server itself. It defaults to a location within the FileMaker Server / Data / Databases folder but you can select an alternate location. This will reduce FM file size and increase performance.
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kw66722Author Commented:
I am interested in finding out if there are other tools that might be better than Filemaker to do this
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Will LovingPresident, Dedication Technologies, Inc.Commented:
I believe that Adobe may have Enterprise level products for managing images, such as Adobe Experience Manager Assets, but it's likely to be a very expensive proposition.
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