[FX.php List] FX.php usable with FMS12, or only FMSA12?

Troy Meyers tcmeyers at troymeyers.com
Fri Jul 27 17:46:20 MDT 2012

As others have said, FMS12 is sufficient BUT...

I can't recommend it yet. The XML (and thus FX.php) problem would require re-writing your code to not use any portal references if you have any. Portals with no related records currently throw the XML response way out of whack.

But also beyond that, yesterday (my 56th birthday), also revealed some other problems that I think lie with FMS12. Maybe I'll tell the whole story for the sake of Schadenfreude, even though some of it is not FMS or FX related.

For the past 2-3 weeks I've been training a new crew of lab and greenhouse workers, and have been improving our FileMaker user interface so that it was less esoteric and more intuitive, including adding a number of things that can be done via iPads, etc. It seemed like it was going to be a very smooth day, finally everything ironed out and everyone trained and self-sufficient. I even said to myself, "It's my birthday, and today is going to be a breeze."

I'm sure it was a mistake thinking that. The first thing that happened was suddenly our images, which are served by an off-site web server (Speakeasy/MegaPath) started not displaying, with "Forbidden - You don't have permission to access ..blah.. on this server." I checked, the URL was correct, then I checked the top page of one of our sites, also hosted by Speakeasy, and it said the produced the same white "Forbidden" page. Same with the other site's top, different domain but same host Speakeasy. I first thought it might be some weirdness because Safari just got updated to a new version, 6.0, but testing with other browsers and via a 4G cell device gave the same result. So, on the phone with the tape loop waiting for Speakeasy hosting technical support. I finally got a person, who turned out to be with the VOIP department, so he transferred me to a phone menu to get back to Hosting support - that menu would could not seem to hear me poking the 4 button so I kept getting the menu choices over and over. Of course I hung up and tried again. Tape loop again. Elapsed time about 1/2 hour, and happily the images and static site pages magically started working again, so I got to hang up without talking to anyone. I thought to myself, "Well, that could have been worse."

About an hour later I was working on cleaning out some old records, and I did a manual Delete Found Records. It seemed to be taking a while, but it had been a while since I'd done such purging, and I thought maybe FMPA 12 was being slow again. So, I went through the lab, where I noticed a workstation was beachballing, and to the greenhouse, were I saw a worker staring at his screen watching a beach ball. I asked "how long" and he said "quite a while" and another said "mine too". So, I sent everyone on break, and just then I got a 'phone call from a neighbor saying she had to rush off to work but she wanted to give me a present... could I meet her down the road so she could pass it off to me on the way out? Feeling torn because I was about to launch into investigating the beachballing, I said "yes" and headed out to the main road. As I arrived at the corner, I noticed a tree had gently fallen over and was resting on the high-voltage (about 7000 V) power line, bowing it down about 15 feet, and the tree was smoking with an occasional flame. Linda gave me a huge live dungeoness crab in salt water, and a big bottle of Sound Brewery KoperenKetel Belgian style pale ale. I admonished her to drive far to the left to get under the tree and not get out of the car, and I said I'd call it in. I thought to myself, "Well, that's lucky, the power actually didn't go out before I found that!"

I returned to the lab and got the sterile cultures secured and the laminar flow hood shut down. When we lose power that's the biggest concern because of course the computers are on UPSs. Then I called it into the power company, and since the tree was burning a little, they said they'd send a crew out right away. So, back to the computer room, and the beachballs were still going. So, I fired up the FileMaker Server Admin Console, or at least I tried. I got "Unable to launch the application" with "Unsigned application requesting unrestricted access to system" ... which seemed familiar from months before, under FMS11, when Java got updated and FMS11 also needed to be patched or later updated to work again. Very inconvenient, and the day before I had been using the Admin Console, so I knew this was a fresh problem. I really wanted to see what was going on, why all the beachballs. I tried screen sharing to the FMS machine, and to my shock, the Admin Console wouldn't run there either! Then it dawned on me that maybe it was the Safari update. I found a machine that hadn't been updated, and whew, the Admin Console worked from there. In the mean time I was getting "FMServer Error 66" emails on my phone, one I'd never seen before, "Could not pause database "Conservatory" because of lock conflict(s) with 1 database user". Well, that'd be me and my attempted record deletions. The Admin Console was useless for disconnecting, closing, or any other hopeful action I tried. Finally I restarted the FMS machine. It came back, but the file "Conservatory" would not open. Obviously it had gotten messed up. So, I copied all 4+ GB of it to my workstation and did the "Recover" with seemingly appropriate options, which found and fixed problems. The recover only took 1 hour and 15 minutes. During that time, the power did indeed go out, but only for about 15 minutes, so the UPSs handled that nicely, and I didn't have to resort to the generator. I thought to myself, "It's nice that the Recover feature has been improved."

The Recover process admonished me to not use the recovered database file, rather work from a backup and transplant any new or altered records from the recovered file to the backup file. I pondered this for a while, and decided that it would be smart to follow that advice and reckless to ignore it, but ignoring it seemed the only practical thing since the last backup had been at noon, and numerous changes and additions had been made since then at our various workstations and by web users, in who knows how many of the database's 86 tables. It could take me a day to figure out what needed to be added or replaced, and I had to get things going before the start of the work day tomorrow (today) not to mention getting the site back up. So I went with living dangerously - and copied the recovered file over to the workstation that still could run the Admin Console. First deleting the (closed) corrupted file on the FMS machine, then using the Upload Database feature of the Admin Console, I presumably successfully selected and uploaded and opened the replacement database file from the workstation to the FMS. At least that's what the green check-mark seemed to suggest in the Admin Console when it reported that all had been done. BUT, the console did not show the file as being open when looking at the Databases list. I clicked the Refresh List button in the Console, and my stomach turned as a "Console has lost contact with the Server" (or something like that) message came up. Checking from FMPA12, using "Open Remote" on my normal machine, I saw that indeed the needed file was NOT open, though the few other expected ones were. I thought to myself, "OK, something is trying to tell me I shouldn't be working right now."

I asked the employees if they minded if we stopped working, and have an impromptu party. To my surprise, no one minded at all. I broke out the tequila, lime, and beer, and that's how we ended the work day. Then, after a bit of a battle in the kitchen, which ended with me mopping up salt water while watching a 15 minute timer, I got completely stuffed with crab.

Early this morning I looked at it all again. I tried uploading again, with the same result, including Console on that workstation losing contact with Server. Looking at the files in FMS's Databases folders, I was surprised to see that rather than "Conservatory.fmp12" there was "Conservatory.fmp12.zip" ...which made me realize that Console must pre-ZIP files for upload (the part where it says "Preparing files for upload"?), and that the unzipping was failing at the other end. Even though Console reported that upload-and-open had succeeded. So, I tried unzipping the file in the Databases folder. That worked, but the file would not open. My cell phone received the message, "FMServer Error 282 Database Conservatory could not be opened: Permission denied." I remembered how the day before had started with a different but similar-feeling "Forbidden" message. But I kept my cool and did it the way I used to before the Upload feature was introduced. I just used the Finder to copy the file from my FMPA machine to the FMS machine, then used the "Apply to enclosed items..." from the Get Info permissions on the Databases folder, using screen sharing to the FMS machine. Finally, I could get Console (still on the unupdated workstation) to open the file. Whew. Site back up, workers back in gear, at 8 AM.

I thought to myself, "Why do I always want to do updates?"


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