Wednesday, October 15, 1997

Got Web?

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Now that FileMaker Pro 4.0 has hit the streets, I can finally talk about the cool stuff that this reasonably priced upgrade ($99 US) contains.

You'll be hearing a lot from Claris about the built-in Web Features: HTTP server, Instant Web Publishing, CDML (Claris Dynamic Markup Language), etc. These are extremely cool. I'll glaze over this topic later, but in a nutshell the new web integration feature basically means that you can serve FileMaker Pro 4.0 data from Windows 95, Windows NT, and the Mac OS without any other software. You can publish a database without creating custom HTML, or, if you're like us, you can create custom HTML pages that use Claris CDML tags (similar to Blue World Communication's Lasso 1.2 product) to add, delete, update, or find information.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

You can now define a SORT order for each relationship - that's right, you can now have sorted data in portals! It's worth the $99 just for that one feature. Although Claris Tech Support may tell you it can't be done, you CAN Dynamically Sort data in a portal. This is something that every developer (and customer) has wanted for a long time.

There are several new "Design" functions that allow you to get information about other databases that are currently open. You can get the names of the open databases, the fields, the layouts, what fields are on a specific layout, the value list names, value list values, relationship names, relationship specifications, etc. This is awesome! In fact (WARNING: Shameless plug ahead) we've completely re-written our best selling ClickStats to take advantage of all these new features and more (watch this site for more details in a couple of weeks - including a free trial version).

There are multiple "smaller" features as well - you can now choose to display the last x opened databases (where x is any number), there's a couple of new Status() functions (including a cool one for telling what modifier keys are held down when clicking on a button, etc.), and there's a new API for writing your own external functions, Java API for the Web stuff... and... WAIT! Did you just hear what I said? Yep, there's an external API (Application Programming Interface) so that third parties can write C or C++ code to make their own functions! And yes, there is a Java API (including all necessary classes) for the new Web Companion.

"When do we get em'?" Well, I can't really say... or I could be shot. Suffice it to say that these specifications should be available about the same time as the SDK (runtime) for 4.0. "When's that?" Ummm... soon-ish.

I'm excited about the possibilities of third parties writing "plug-in" external functions. If (when) the specifications are made public, and you write an external function, or Java stuff, please let me know and I'd be happy to include your work on our site.

Also, for those of you who are just dying to do cool stuff with FileMaker Pro 4.0 - check out the new magazine "FileMaker Pro Advisor" - it ROCKS. Ok, ok, so I'm the Technical Editor... but it's a really COOL mag. There are some sample files up on the site showing you how to get started with a basic search form on the Web, and more.

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