If your existing solutions are web-enabled, then you have a few additional concerns when migrating to FileMaker 8. The web capabilities of FileMaker 8 are considerably different from previous versions; your migration plan depends mainly on the technology you used to web-enable your solution.
Instant Web Publishing
No Instant Web Publishing (IWP) configuration options are retained during conversion of a solution from FileMaker 6 or older to FileMaker Pro 7 or 8. IWP is so greatly improved in FileMaker 8 that the older configuration options are irrelevant and unnecessary. Where you were limited to a handful of layouts and themes before, IWP now has a status area that is very similar to that in FileMaker Pro itself, and it allows a user to potentially access any layout in a file. More than 70 script steps are IWP compatible (compared to about a dozen before), making IWP a very powerful and flexible Web technology. Even though no IWP settings are preserved during conversion, if you used IWP in your previous solution, you'll be up and running again within a matter of minutes.
Security in IWP is now handled just as it is for FileMaker usersvia accounts and privilege setsso you can easily create special accounts for Web users and restrict them to web-friendly layouts.
See Chapter 21, "Instant Web Publishing," p. 633, for more information on how to use IWP to web-enable a database.
Custom Web Publishing
The other methods for web-enabling FileMaker solutions are often grouped under the banner of "Custom Web Publishing" (CWP). However, your migration path depends on what flavor of CWP you use.
CDML (Claris Dynamic Markup Language) is no longer supported in FileMaker 7 and 8. FileMaker has instead focused its CWP efforts on XML/XSLT. You can, thankfully, convert your CDML format files to XSLT stylesheets by using the CDML to XSLT Conversion Tool, which comes with FileMaker Server Advanced.
We strongly suggest that you use the conversion tool only after you have gained some proficiency working with XML and XSLT stylesheets. Even if the converted pages work flawlessly, without some knowledge of how they work, you'll be hard pressed to fix problems or extend the solution.
If you previously used the XML output from FileMaker as part of a custom web publishing solution, your previous code should require only minor programming changes to work with FileMaker 8. The biggest change you'll face will likely be understanding and setting up the new Web publishing components. There is, of course, no longer a FileMaker Unlimited or a Web Companion. All custom web publishing ties directly into FileMaker Server Advanced via the Web Publishing Engine.
There are also some changes to the query syntax and to the XML grammars that FileMaker can return; you can read about these in detail in Chapter 23, "Custom Web Publishing." You need to learn about the changes and make modifications to your code as necessary.
PHP has become a popular tool for web-enabling FileMaker Pro databases. Most people using PHP as part of their FileMaker Web publishing strategy make use of the FX.php class, developed and distributed for free by Chris Hansen (www.iviking.org). When PHP exchanges data with FileMaker, it does so via XML, but the FX class makes all of this transparent to the developer.
Because of the changes to the query syntax and XML grammars, you need to swap in an updated copy of FX.php for use with your converted files. If you rename files, layouts, or fields, you may have a bit of programming to do, but the changes should be minimal.
Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8
Using FileMaker Pro
Defining and Working with Fields
Working with Layouts
Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker
Relational Database Design
Working with Multiple Tables
Working with Relationships
Getting Started with Calculations
Getting Started with Scripting
Getting Started with Reporting
Part III: Developer Techniques
Developing for Multiuser Deployment
Advanced Interface Techniques
Advanced Calculation Techniques
Advanced Scripting Techniques
Advanced Portal Techniques
Debugging and Troubleshooting
Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro
Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing
Importing Data into FileMaker Pro
Exporting Data from FileMaker
Instant Web Publishing
FileMaker and Web Services
Custom Web Publishing
Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution
Deploying and Extending FileMaker
FileMaker Server and Server Advanced
Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions