Here are several tips to make your FileMaker-driven Web sites as speedy as possible:
The Web Security Database
With solutions built using Custom Web Publishing you’ll probably want to step up to using the Web Security Database that comes with FileMaker (look in FileMaker’s Web Security folder and you’ll see a folder containing these databases) to administer security across all your Web-shared databases. Go ahead and open all these Web Security databases now. Also launch the Art.fp5 database or some other solution that you’ve Web-enabled. Go to the Web Security.fp5 database and create a new record. Enter art.fp5 in the Database Name field. Enter a database password if you want to additionally add any access privilege restrictions in the database’s Access Privileges dialog. Now add users and assign them each passwords and privileges. You can also define access to specific fields, too.
Next, go into Edit > Preferences > Application to the Plug-Ins tab and configure Web Companion. Under the Security heading, select “Web Security Database”. Click OK twice.
You’ve probably realized that using the Web Security Database to administer access to your Web site should only really be used on databases where you’ll know who the users will be, i.e. internal or “your-employees’-eyes-only” type systems. There would be no need for such security, most likely, for databases served to the general public like a browse-only product catalog. For instance, why would you ask a user to enter a password to see this general info? Could be that you would only want authorized resellers to see your prices.
Remote Administration, Record-Level Security, and SSL
The Web Security Database can be remotely administered, too, using the format files also included in the Security folder inside the Web Security folder in the same folder as your FileMaker application. You would simply move these format files into the Web folder, Web-share the security databases under File > Sharing, and turn remote administration on in Web Companion’s plug-in configuration (make sure to require a password).
Miscellaneous Web Security Notes and Tips
Final Word on Custom Web Publishing
This merely scratches the surface of Custom Web Publishing. Unfortunately, you’re not going to pick up CDML overnight. Indeed, the author has been using it for almost five years and still doesn’t know everything there is to know about its most advanced features. Fortunately, the key to success is always starting with the templates that come with your FileMaker software and modifying them to suit your needs. As you do so, you’ll see under the hood and start to understand the way that CDML tags work and how they’re processed by FileMaker when a user sends in a request from their Web browser. However, keep at it and you’ll pick up the basics in no time. If possible, use two computers when doing Web development: Use one to test the user’s experience of your solution in a Web browser and the other to host the solution and for editing the HTML-/CDML-coded format files. Make sure to test the solution with various platforms because Web sites often look quite different depending on your operating system and/or Web browser version.
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