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Claris Connect On-premise Agent

By March 4, 2020 One Comment

While Claris Connect mainly serves to construct business workflows across cloud apps, it has a unique component that allows for the connection of on-premise applications too.

For instance: you have a FileMaker Server hosting a custom FileMaker app but do not want to expose that server to the internet to allow Claris Connect to work. You do, however, want to involve that FileMaker app in your flows.

In this scenario, you can download the on-premise agent and have it act as the gateway to and from Claris Connect.

The on-premise agent currently can connect to your in-house FileMaker Server (18v3 required) and your in-house MySQL databases (version 8.x); they can only be used as steps in a flow, not as triggers to start a flow.

FileMaker Server On-Premises and MySQL Server On-Premise

Figure 1. FileMaker Server On-Premises and MySQL Server On-Premise

To start, click on the “…” menu next to your subscription and select “Add On-Premise Agent.”

Select "Add On-Premise Agent" under Team Options

Figure 2. Select “Add On-Premise Agent”

Provide a name and pick the operating system on which you want to install this agent:

Choose the the operating system

Figure 3. Choose the operating system

Claris Connect will generate a serial number and will wait for the agent to come online. Keep that serial number handy because you will need it when setting up the agent and then later when using a connection to the agent from a flow.

Claris Connect generates a serial number

Figure 4. Generated serial number

Leave Claris Connect as it is, download the installer, and copy it over to the machine on which you want to run it. That machine does not need to be your FileMaker Server or MySQL server, but the machine that the agent is on needs to have internet access and also needs access to your on-premise resources. The agent does not need to have firewall ports opened.

Unzip and run the installer.

Claris Connect installer

Figure 5. Claris Connect installer

Along the way, you will be asked to input the serial number that Claris Connected generated. At the end of the installation process, you can open the online help that will guide you through the final steps of the process.

Finish the installation process

Figure 6. Finish the installation process

The agent does not automatically start; you need to make a few configuration changes first. Navigate to where you chose to install the agent and open the configuration.yml file in your favorite text editor:

Open the configuration.yml file

Figure 7. Open the configuration.yml file

The config file has the basic information about your Claris Connect subscription; you need to add how the agent can connect to your FileMaker Server or MySQL server.

Screenshot of the opened configuration.yml file

Figure 8. The opened configuration.yml file

The example will use a FileMaker Server.

For each connection, the agent will maintain we need to add the following:

  • Indicate whether the connection is Filemaker or MySQL
  • A unique name for the connection (the agent can maintain connections to various internal servers and many files)
  • The DNS name of your internal FileMaker Server server
  • The name of the FileMaker file
  • The credentials for that file (with Data API access enabled in their privilege set)

For instance:

Screenshot of configuration made for FileMaker Server

Figure 9. Configuration made for FileMaker Server

With the configuration made, you can start the agent from the command line with “agent start” so that it runs as a service.

Start the agent from the command line

Figure 10. Start the agent from the command line

The agent is basically a node.js JavaScript application that runs as a Windows Service or macOS daemon when you use the “start” command.

When the agent has started, Claris Connect will confirm that it has a valid connection with it:

Screenshot showing the connection is confirmed

Figure 11. Connection confirmed

That agent will now be listed as an active agent under “On-Premise Agents”:

Screenshot of the active On-Premise Agent

Figure 12. Active On-Premise Agent

To close the loop, you can now use that on-premise FileMaker Server connection. The example below will use a flow that is triggered by a webhook (a Raspberry Pi sending sensor data to Claris Connect):

Use the on-premise FileMaker Server connection to close the loop

Figure 13. Use the On-Premise FileMaker connection to close the loop

Add an action to the flow and choose the on-premise FileMaker Server connector. From the list of triggers, pick the ‘create record.’ The goal is to create a new record in the SenseHat FileMaker file that we have configured in that configuration file earlier.

Screenshot of adding an action to the flow

Figure 14. Adding an action to the flow

Since this is the first time you will use this on-premise agent, you will be asked to specify which agent it is. To do that, you will use that agent’s serial key and the name for the connection to the specific file as defined in the configuration.yml file.

Use the agent's serial key and name for the connection

Figure 15. Use the agent’s serial key and name for the connection

If all goes well, you will see the confirmation that your flow can connect to the agent and ultimately to your FileMaker file.

Screenshot of the confirmation that the flow can connect

Figure 16. Confirmation that the flow can connect

When you continue, you get to pick a layout in the configured FileMaker file. That layout determines the table content and exposes the fields that are available to you to set data into. For each field, you can pick from the data received by the webhook (step 1 in the flow).

Pick a layout in the configured FileMaker file

Figure 17. Pick a layout in the configured FileMaker file

When the Raspberry Pi now collects its sensor data and sends it to the Claris Connect webhook, a new record is created in our on-premise FileMaker Server file, through the agent:

Screenshot of Raspberry Pi and Claris Connect webhook

Figure 18. Raspberry Pi and Claris Connect webhook

Wim Decorte

Wim Decorte

Wim is a Senior Technical Solution Architect at Soliant. He is a FileMaker 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 Certified FileMaker Developer and the author of numerous Tech Briefs and articles on FileMaker Server. Wim is one of the very few multiple FileMaker Excellence Award winners and was most recently awarded the FileMaker Community Leader of the Year award at the 2015 FileMaker Developer Conference. He is also a frequent speaker at the FileMaker Developer Conference and at FileMaker Developer groups throughout the world. In addition to being a renowned expert on FileMaker Server, Wim also specializes in integrating FileMaker with other applications and systems. His pet project is the open source fmDotNet connector class that he created.

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