Hooking Formstack into FileMaker

Hooking Formstack into FileMaker

Published on June 13, 2013 by Anders Monsen

There are generally three ways to get web-based form data into FileMaker.

You can set up Instant Web Publishing using FileMaker Server Advanced, exposing a FileMaker layout directly to the web.

You can write a custom HTML form and submit the data using FileMaker’s PHP API…. Or….

You can use a third-party interface that works with FileMaker’s PHP API.

Using IWP seems like it requires little or no effort. However, aside from the additional expense of Server Advanced, certain programming constraints still exist. Accounting for multiple layouts or conditional fields that appear based on answers can complicate your solution quickly. A custom form requires a basic knowledge of HTML and associated web technologies (CSS, Javascript, PHP, etc.), but again runs into issues if you want AJAX-like feedback and actions. Using a third-party option like Formstack gives you the flexibility of custom HTML technologies and offloads much of the design work. Still, design is only half the picture, as you need to integrate something like Formstack into FileMaker.

The starting page for any developers is Formstack’s Developers Central page. You will need a Formstack account, and there is an associated cost with this method though you can try it for free first. For our purposes we’re going to use the Webhooks method instead of the REST API. The webhooks method sends data in a key/value format to an external URL upon the form submit action. That external URL is your PHP page, where you create the code to parse the submitted data and push it into FileMaker.

via Hooking Formstack into FileMaker.

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