Hardware and Software: How Much Do You Need? - File Maker

Once you decide what type of Web publishing you’re going to use, it’s time to figure out what kind of software and hardware you’ll need to start serving databases to your workgroup, your company, or the entire world.

Ask yourself these questions: Will your Web site have a lot of traffic? Will you host the Web site from your home computer or some other dedicated server? What speed of Internet access will the server have (dial-up, DSL, a T1 line)? What access privileges do you want to give to the site’s visitors? Will the site be available to anyone on the Internet or only to some people on a private network?

If you think that your Web site will be popular and receive a lot of hits, you may want to consider buying FileMaker Pro Unlimited. FileMaker Pro Unlimited allows an unlimited number of unique IP addresses to access your Web site; regular old FileMaker Pro allows only 10 IP addresses to access your site every 12 hours. So if you need a more robust e-commerce site, FileMaker Pro Unlimited is the way to go.

If you want another company to host your site, you’ll probably find that most commercial companies that host File- Maker-driven Web sites don’t host Instant Web Publishing-based sites due to their size and the way they degrade the speed of their servers. This means that you will most likely be hosting such a Web site on your own computer.

Due to the popularity and availability of cheap cable modems and DSL lines, many people have static IP addresses. However, most dial-up services only offer dynamic IPs. The problem with a dynamic IP address is that your customers do not know where to find you because your site’s address changes with each time your Web server logs on to the Internet. Contact your ISP and see if it offers static IP addresses.

Hardware and Software Scenarios
Following are two scenarios to choose from, depending on your needs. (Hopefully you’ll fit, generally speaking, into one of these two scenarios.):

Small LAN Scenario
You are serving only a few databases to no more than ten employees at your company. The only folks accessing the Web pages are on the internal LAN (that is, not outside the firewall, if you have one). Here's what you'll need, at a minimum:

  • A basic Windows or Mac server computer.
  • All computers connected on a network like a 10 Base-T Ethernet network.
  • FileMaker Pro as the Web server.
  • Instant Web Publishing as the programming methodology.

Online Catalog or e-Commerce Scenario
You are serving only a few databases (namely your product catalog) to the general public and expect a lot of traffic at the site.
Here's what you'll need:

  • A more robust Windows or Mac server computer.
  • All internal computers connected on at least a 10 Base-T Ethernet network.
  • The server should have Internet access (preferably high-speed) and a static IP address.
  • FileMaker Pro Unlimited as the Web Server. If you expect lots of traffic or will be serving many databases, consider setting up the Web Server Connector (a tool for load balancing and speeding up busy Web sites), too.
  • Custom Web Publishing as the programming methodology.
  • An HTML editor like Macromedia’s Dreamweaver or Adobe’s GoLive should be used to build the custom Web pages. If you find a copy of Claris Home Page (FileMaker, Inc.’s now out-of-print FileMaker-based Web site development tool), consider using it too. It doesn’t recognize all the latest CDML tags, but it’s a great, easy-to-use Web page builder.)

To get started with Web publishing you will need FileMaker Pro, a computer (Windows or Mac), possibly an Internet connection (but not necessarily), and a little patience.

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