Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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FileMaker Digest: Behind The Scenes

A few days ago, I promised that I would post about what went into developing FileMaker Digest, and quite a few of you have emailed me with questions about it. So here goes…

FileMaker At The Core

The site is powered by a FileMaker database on the backend. It’s a surprisingly simple, custom database, and it’s based in large part on the database that powers my personal blog. (It’s also the same database that I am using to develop FM Blogger, a simple open-source FileMaker-based blogging platform.)

The database is hosted using Open Remote, my semi-private FileMaker database hosting service. Open Remote uses Amazon’s AWS platform, which I’ve found to be extremely reliable and secure. It’s on our "OR5" server, which uses an "m1.xlarge" configuration (with 8 ECUs, 4vCPUs, 15Gb Memory, 4 x 420 Gb storage, and High network performance). It’s running FileMaker Server 13.

Also, for added security, I implemented two-factor authentication (2FA) on the database using FM Authenticator. When I log into the database, I’m prompted for a 6-digit security code, which gets sent as a text message to my phone. Without that code, I can’t login.

PHP / FM WebFrame Out In Front

The FileMaker Digest Web site is hosted at Media Temple using an affordable shared hosting plan. I’ve been using Media Temple for several years now, and have found their service to be excellent. If you’re looking for a Web hosting provider, you should check them out.

The site is based on FM WebFrame, the open source extension to FileMaker’s API for PHP. I’m using version FM WebFrame 13f, which I haven’t released yet. As I mentioned in a previous post, the site is making use of FM WebFrame’s caching functions, which increases the performance of the site’s home page while reducing the load placed on the database server.

Comments are handled using Disqus (the same commenting system used here on my blog). I chose Google Analytics for statistics and traffic analysis.

A Simple, Responsive Design

One of the most common questions that people have asked is about the site’s design. I’ll write more about it later, but for now, I’ll just say this: I’ve kept the design deliberately simple. There’s nothing on the pages other than what is necessary. As a result of the simple, uncluttered design, I was able to make the site responsive with little to no effort. So it looks nice on desktops, notebooks, and mobile devices.

That’s really all there is to FileMaker Digest. If you have any questions about it, please leave a comment below or drop me a line.