Data Management

Book provides introduction to fine points of database publishing

Ilene Hoffman reviews <I>Database Publishing with FileMaker Pro on the Web</I> by Maria Langer, which covers publishing basics and presents clear examples of the various types of database designs. This one is worth checking out.


Maria Langer's 419-page book, Database Publishing with FileMaker Pro on the Web, provides database designers with an excellent introduction to creating static and dynamic FileMaker Pro database solutions for the Internet or intranets.

Published by Peachpit Press in April 1998, Database Publishing with FileMaker Pro on the Web retails for $29.95. But you can follow this link to Fatbrain and take advantage of its online price of $23.95.

What this book has to offer
Database Publishing with FileMaker Proon the Web is designed for those already familiar with the principles of FileMaker Pro and database creation. Some prior knowledge of HTML and Web-based solutions is also recommended. The book is aimed at database publishing newcomers and covers the basics well. Advanced database Web publishers will probably find the book too basic, although the CDML reference (Claris Dynamic Markup Language tags) is comprehensive. Lasso and Tango users will need much more material than is covered in this book.

The first half of Database Publishing with FileMaker Proon the Web covers the different publishing solutions, while the second half presents clear examples of different database designs, including basic publishing, databases with graphics, interactive databases, calculation-intensive databases, and transaction-based databases (shopping carts). This practical guide is dotted throughout with well-marked hints, tips, and cautions, so the reader is never caught unaware by a glitch or trouble spot. Langer's down-home comments add character, which is often missing from tutorial books.

Database Publishing with FileMaker Proon the Web is an excellent road map for trainers and would make a good sourcebook for training sessions. Windows and Macintosh screen shots walk you through the stages of database publishing. You can even publish some of the solutions right from your computer, so a Web server is not required. Langer also includes access to her example files on her book-companion Web site gilesrd.com . You’ll find a wealth of additional information, such as updated databases to correspond with updated software and three sections of special interest to book owners: Notes & Tips (for Web publishing with FileMaker Pro), Clarifications & Corrections (for book content), and Frequently Asked Questions (with answers).

Langer's clear, concise, and engaging writing style makes the tutorials easy to follow and reduces the tedium of reading technical material. She walks you screen by screen through the process of database publishing in a variety of formats. Macintosh and Windows users learn Static, Instant, and Custom web publishing solutions, while Macintosh-only professionals can focus on special chapters on third-party helper applications such as Tango, Lasso, and Web FM. Although FileMaker Pro 4.x is recommended, solutions for FileMaker 3 users are also included.

The verdict
Each FileMaker Pro publishing solution is presented with brief benefits and drawbacks to help you choose which publishing solution meets your needs. However, I would have liked more information on the pros and cons of the different solutions.

The book recommends companion WSYWIG HTML editors such as Claris Home Page, Adobe Page Mill, and Microsoft Front Page, so don't look for help on integrating these solutions with high-end Web design programs such as DreamWeaver and GoLive.

Database Publishing with FileMaker Proon the Web comes highly recommended from FileMaker database consultants making their first Web publishing entré onto the Web. I know I found it indispensable.

Ilene Hoffman, MS, is a Macintosh/Internet writer, trainer, and consultant based in the Boston area. She is a senior editor at MacFixIt.com, contributing editor at MacTech magazine, and faculty member for Macworld Expo conferences . She also hosts weekly conferences on Talk City and AOL. If you’d like to comment on this article, please post your remarks below or follow this link to send us a note .

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