What I've learnt about FileMaker WebDirect

By Stuart Woodhouse, 17 February 2015

Okay I’m an account manager so please don’t hold your breathe for any technical wonderments in this article. What you will read is what we have experienced in terms of developing FileMaker WebDirect solutions.

We have been lucky to work with two clients over the last few months where we have developed WebDirect solutions (we also have another three WD projects on the go).

Both are very different, one we haven’t touched their main database, we have added a WebDirect element to the solution (in fact we have replaced the old Instant Web Publishing solution). The other is a new project, where we have developed a FileMaker Pro solution that can also be used via WebDirect.

So what have we found:

  • First up, get someone with WebDirect experience to develop you solution. The wealth of knowledge our team has built up over the past twelve months now makes us experts in how to tackle your development requirements. Along with this we have fantastic design skills, so it’s a seamless experience in terms of designing and developing for FileMaker WebDirect
  • If budget allows, use different design templates, and separate layouts (screens) for FileMaker Pro and WebDirect. Although you can ‘get by’ in using the same template for both, the user experience is not always ideal.
  • Be prepared to make refinements. WebDirect (particularly as we are only in version one) is not going to be perfect ‘out of the box’, there will need to be small tweaks made to get it to a tip top level of excellence.
  • Although WebDirect works in Firefox, it’s not a supported browser. We have discovered that it throws up the odd curly issue but on the whole the experience is not to bad, just not perfect
  • You need to install a custom SSL Certificate specific to your domain, otherwise your users will always have to authorise your browser to go to the domain name
  • WebDirect is not meant for the masses or the more intensive users of a solution, it’s a perfect solution for a discrete user group who don’t need the level of access that FileMaker Pro gives
  • There are some cool features we can now use, that were only previously available if you developed in native web. This includes being able to incorporate great design elements, plus the benefits of giving users a ‘web like’ user experience

It’s only going to get better. As we mention above, this is only version one (as part of FileMaker 13), with subsequent releases we have high hopes that FileMaker will continue to grow this product.

So all up, we love WebDirect, it’s a great product and solution and something all of us at Digital Fusion are incredibly excited to develop in now.

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