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FileMaker Integration with Web Applications Using the Web Viewer

Our team recently helped a client through a gradual architecture transition from a FileMaker solution to a web-based application. During the process, we realized a close integration between the two could greatly benefit organizations and their FileMaker users.

FileMaker Integration with Ruby on Rails

To provide a particular functionally implemented by a new Ruby on Rails application to an existing FileMaker system, we decided to take advantage of the Web Viewer and the FMP protocol.

Inside the Rails application, we have added a dedicated page that is opened in FileMaker’s Web Viewer after a user clicks a button located on the FileMaker interface. When invoking the page the script generates the url from a stored field and contextual data which is passed to the web server as GET parameters.

After a user performs all the actions on the web page they submit the form with a usual POST request back to the Rails application. The application then processes the request and renders a view that contains the following JavaScript code:

<br />
window.open('<%= @url.html_safe %>', '_self');<br />
Illustration of FileMaker integration with web applications using the Web Viewer.
Click to enlarge image.

The url instance variable above is set to fmp:// url that points to a FileMaker server and contains a number of parameters including a script name to be executed. When the JavaScript code is executed in the browser it invokes FileMaker and runs the specified script. This allows us to pass the data back to FileMaker and act on it accordingly.

Avoiding a Secondary Login

In our case, all servers are located on a single VPN and from the security standpoint, a token authentication for the page served by Ruby on Rails was sufficient to meet our goals. With this solution, the user does not need to explicitly login into the Rails application to access the page. The whole experience appears seamless. This was an important factor for us in determining we should proceed with the above implementation.

We like the Web Viewer and how simply it allows to integrate a Filemaker application with a web application. While not appropriate for every scenario we found ourselves utilizing it in the way described here on more than one occasion.

Build a FileMaker Integration with Ruby on Rails

Are you looking to implement something similar in your FileMaker solution? Our team of certified FileMaker developers works closely with our Ruby on Rails web development team to deliver strategic solutions for our clients. We’re happy to provide insights on how you can enhance your solution with a FileMaker integration. Contact us to start the conversation today.

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