Connect to FileMaker with SQL

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by isthisonetaken, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. isthisonetaken macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    Hey all,

    so in my database course for school, we are using IBM DB2 to create a database. I don't want to use DB2, so I asked if I could use FileMaker and was told I could. All the database designing and building aside, what I'm worried about is being able to make a simple web app to connect to and then perform some very basic operations on the database.

    For example, my TA said that the web app should have a simple login page, which will check my users table and make sure the username and password match. After that it loads a simple page, allowing the user to say add a new customer, modify an existing customer, or delete a customer. We do the operation in the web app and then go into the DBMS to make sure it worked.

    I know FileMaker has forms, which is why I wanted to use it in the first place, as I plan on using the database after the course is done and will interact with it through the forms, so I don't care about making a "sweet" web app, just something that will get me the marks for the course.

    Does anyone know if (a)I'm screwed, because FileMaker won't let me do that? or (b) has a link to somewhere discussing how to set up a database in FileMaker than access it with PHP and SQL queries?

    Hope this is enough information and you guys can help!

  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    What have you tried?

    Did you try looking for any articles about using FileMaker and SQL and PHP?

    If you did, what URLs did you find? If one or more articles didn't work, which articles and in what way didn't they work?

    If you tried searching and didn't find anything, what search terms did you use?

    Or were you expecting us to do your research for you?
  3. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    I didn't want you guys to do my research for me, I was hoping more for someone with experience, who either knew if it was possible or not. We won't start building the actual database for another couple weeks, we then have just under 4 weeks to finish the database and than one week to build the web app. I have done searches here and there, with nothing very conclusive in terms of "this is how you do it" kinds of articles, which is why I was asking.

    In terms of things I've tried looking for:
    FileMaker sql
    FileMaker PHP
    how to connect to FileMaker with sql

    I know that FileMaker 11 has ESS (External SQL Data Sources), which as I understand it, allows FileMaker to connect to an SQL source. However, I want to make the source in FileMaker and then do simple commands on that source with SQL, so that is not what I'm after.

    I also know that FileMaker (not sure if its in Pro, or if I need Advanced, or Server) has PHP Site Assistant, but I don't think my prof will be happy if I show up with an assistant made site.

    Obviously, I haven't actually tried anything yet, as I haven't even built the database yet. I'm just trying to make sure that I don't spend a month working on a database in FileMaker to find out that I can't make a simple web app to interact with it. If that's the case, I'll find a different solution, I was just hoping someone here would be able to point me in the right direction.

  4. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX

    Page 15 says, basically, that you can't access FileMaker Pro directly from anything. There is a Web Companion that let's you make web requests and get back XML. This sounds awkward, but that document seems to indicate that it's doable.

    That document was the first hit for "filemaker pro access from PHP" on ye olde Google.

    My inclination would be to use MySQL or PostgreSQL. They are cross-platform, and I feel like they are used more than FileMaker Pro. PHP seems to <3 mySQL, but postgres seems easy to get going, too. With these I think you'll spend more time designing and writing code than futzing around with hacks to access FMP from PHP.

  5. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2007
    Doing a web page for a class is not going to be a good fit for FileMaker. It is perfectly capable of putting things up on the web (even with PHP on the server editions), but most of what the class is going to try and teach you is going to either be already done for you (in a way other than the teacher is going to expect), or is going to be swimming-up-stream against how FileMaker works. FileMaker thinks differently about a lot of Database ideas (not wrong, just different), and you are going to get very frustrated trying to match that way of thinking to any database course taught in school.

    I do love working with FileMaker, but this does not seem like a good use. At least stick to a SQL-based server.
  6. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    Ok, I should clarify why I want to use FileMaker in the first place. Most people in the class just design a random database and forget about it when the course is done. I am designing a database for my dad to use when I'm done. I know I'm not very good at web programming, so I was attracted to FileMaker because I can make the database and than create a form in FileMaker. My dad can then interact with the database through the form.

    My first hurdle is the not being able to query with SQL through a web interface. From looking at things last night, I think I might be able to get around that by using the ESS in FileMaker. basically just make a small db in mySQL and connect to them through FileMaker, then do my web app to add/delete/modify those tables. My next problem is after we make the db, we need to write some code to fill the tables with random information. I know FileMaker has scripting, larkost, do you know if I would be able to use that scripting to fill in the tables with random information? If not, I think I might just go to mySQL and then also make the database in FIleMaker for my dad to use, but do all my assignments in mySQL.

    Thanks for the information thus far though guys.

  7. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2007
    I did realize that you were trying to kill two birds with one stone, but I am going to reiterate that it is a bad idea to try and use FileMaker in a DB class. The two ideas are almost completely different, and you are just going to throw away everything that the class is trying to get across to you because you are trying to do something completely different. Trust me here, I work with both FileMaker and SQL databases, and the two do not mix well.

    The only thing you really want to use FileMaker for with SQL databases is bringing in information from already established databases. Anything else is going to be a kludge at best.

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