Setup FMP Web Server on a PowerMac

Chong-ho (Alex) Yu, Ph.D., MCSE, CNE

This write-up will mention some crucial areas of setting up a File Maker Pro (FMP) Web Server on a PowerMac. These procedures are important but are often overlooked. General procedures such as turning on the Web Companion and configuring TCP/IP will not be discussed.

Server Settings

It is very common that people use a PowerMac workstation as a web server. Unlike a server which must be always online, a workstation need not be active all the time and thus Energy Saver on the Control Panel may be configured to put the machine into sleep. It may cause a serious problem. When the machine goes to sleep, the web server may also sleep and it could not be waken up. Usually a Mac will wake up when it detects any activity locally (Someone does something by using the keyboard and the mouse connected to the computer) But a remote query from the Web may not be able to activiate the computer.

Second, the default setup of Energy Saver requires a manual reboot when the power comes back after a power failure. It is unacceptable for a server because when the power is resumed, you may not be there to restart the server.

To prevent the above problems from happening, you must change Server Settings of Energy Saver:

  • Open Energy Saver from Control Panel.
  • Choose Server Settings from the pull down menu Preferences.
  • Check both of the options as shown in the following dialog box.



If you use OS9 and still want to put the server to sleep while it is idle, select the wake up options as shown in the following figure so that the server will respond to network access even if it is on the sleep mode:

Wake up the server

StartUp Items

The databases that are accessed by web users must be open on the web server. Although in the above configuration the server will restart automatically after a power failure, it is not good enough if FMP software and all databases are not open upon restart. Moreover, sometime you may need to reboot the server deliberately. It is tedious to re-open every database manually. To alleviate this problem, you should make an alias for each database and place them in StartUp Items of System Folder.

File Sharing Setup

Although you may use FMP for web publishing only rather than file sharing, you should still setup file sharing for remote administration. Ideally, you should have one computer as a dedicated server and another one as a workstation for editing database fields and layouts remotely. First, you should choose a default protocol for file sharing:

  • Choose Preferences from the pull down menu Edit.
  • Select Applications.
  • Choose a protocol for file sharing. If you don't have a Netware network, your choices are limited to either AppleTalk or TCP/IP. For security purpose, it is better to use AppleTalk rather than TCP/IP.

  • If you want to work on a file remotely, choose Sharing from the pull down menu File.
  • Select the radio button Multi-user.Turn on this function only if it is necessary. A multu-user database will open slower.

FileMaker Extensions

After you have installed FMP, in the FileMaker Pro folder there is a sub-folder named FileMaker Extensions, which contains a few extensions (In version 4.0 there is only one extension--Web Companion).

If you are an experienced Mac user, you may think that you should drop those extensions into the System Folder and then restart the server. On the contrary, you should not! Web companion and many other extensions for FMP works outside the System folder. If they are in the System folder, their file type will appear as "document" rather than control panel or extension.

FMP Tuner extension

ODBC setup control panel

Only two system files of FMP should be put into the System folder: FMP Tuner extension and ODBC Setup control panel. FMP Tuner could enhance the performance of FMP Web publishing. It is a downloadable freeware and you have to manually drop it into the System folder. ODBC is plug-in for Open Database Connectivity, which enables FMP to retrieve data from other ODBC-compatible systems such as Oracle, Sybase, Access, and Excel. When you run ODBC installer, ODBC setup is placed in the System folder.


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