Creating a FileMaker Pro 4.0 Database and Accompanying Forms/Pages

 

Order of Events

  1. Create the submission form or convert existing document.
  2. Print out the new/converted submission form.
  3. Determine database field names and values for each entry on the form and write them on the printout.
  4. Create the database.
  5. Enter the field names.
  6. Modify the submission form to include the field names EXACTLY as they exist in the database.
  7. Add the required FileMaker Form tags.
  8. Create two additional HTML pages - a "Successful Submission" page and an Error page.
  9. Test them!

 

1> Create the submission form or convert existing document.

The submission form can be created directly as a web document, or can be converted from a word-processing document. Either way, you will probably have to do a fair amount of formatting. You will need to arrange the answer choices in some type of a consistent, useful manner, most likely through the use of tables. You will also need to determine whether the answer will be "Choose One" (radio buttons), "Mark All That Apply" (checkboxes), "Fill in the Blank" (text field), or "Short Answer" (text box). Go ahead and layout the answers and insert the appropriate form objects at this point. In a couple of steps we are going to be determining field names and values and it is easier to ensure that ALL of the necessary fields and values have been determined if we can note all of the names and values in the appropriate places on a hardcopy.

 

2> Print out the new/converted submission form.

Print the submission form out so that the field names and values can be written directly on a hardcopy.

 

3> Determine database field names and values for each entry on the form and write them on the printout.

Once all of the names and values are determined, the hardcopy will be used when entering field names in the new database.

 

4> Create the database.

Start FileMaker Pro and go to File:New Database. Enter the name and save it in the appropriate location. For OIS databases, they are saved in the FileMaker Pro 4.0:databases folder on the OIS Server.

 

5> Enter the field names.

Once it is saved, go ahead and enter all of the necessary fields. Most of the time the fields can be left as "Text". Once you have finished adding fields, click "done". You will also need to set the new database to be available online. Go to File:Sharing.... and click on the box next to Web Companion. That is all that needs to be done to prepare the database.

 

6> Modify the submission form to include the field names EXACTLY as they exist in the database.

Return to the Submission form and add the field names and values to all of the appropriate form objects. A WORD OF CAUTION! - After you're done entering them, double-check them. Even have someone else double-check them. As the form grows to over a dozen or so radio buttons, checkboxes, etc. it becomes almost a given that at least one will have a misspelled or incorrect field name or value.

 

7> Add the required FileMaker Form tags.

Since we will be using FileMaker to process the information in the form, we need to add the appropriate tags to the Submission page to allow FileMaker to work correctly. The easiest way to ensure that we have all of the appropriate tags is to use the FileMaker Form Library within Homepage 3.0.

 

8> Create two additional HTML pages - a "Successful Submission" page and an Error page.

In the above step, we gave the name of the Format (successful submission) and Error files or pages. Now, we need to make sure that both of these pages exist, or the Submission may not work correctly.

 

9> Test them!

You should run several "submissions", trying all of the radio buttons, checkboxes, etc. to make sure that they are submitting correct values and that they don't cause the submission to err.

 

Jeff Eske May 1999