Maximizing FileMaker WebDirect Performance and Scalability

Maximizing FileMaker WebDirect Performance and Scalability

FileMaker WebDirect made it possible – most of the time – to log in to a database from a web browser and just have it work.  Which is really an incredible thing when you think about it.  And by the way, it's not recommended for production databases without some fine tuning and testing.

The level of compatibility is incredibly high for most functionality.  But considerations such as security, multi-user functionality, record locking, and more  make it necessary to review what parts will work, which won't, requiring each layout to be exposed to be examined carefully.

As time has passed, WebDirect's gain in power and speed has been impressive, leading to the need to improve performance and scalability.  With the release of FileMaker 16,  up to 500 WebDirect users are able to access one database with the help of 4 helper machines connected via FileMaker Server Admin.  Now increases in performance and scalability are more critical than ever.

This video is from DevCon 2016, with Vin Addala of FileMaker presenting, addresses ways to maximize WebDirect's capabilities:

Some of the things you'll learn in this video include:

  • How data and layouts from a FileMaker database are changed into web objects
  • Learn about some of the technologies involved in making WebDirect work
  • Why you need a good server to host lots of WebDirect clients
  • What's cached on the web browser on WebDirect
  • Why keystroke script triggers don't work well
  • Traffic analysis details
  • The number of building blocks (dibs) needed to build different layout objects.  More dibs mean slower performance.
    • Fewer portals, fewer list views, better performance
  • Why you should use Button Bars instead of Tabs
  • Lots of performance Reduction Tips
    • Which items on an layout get sent over the wire and which do not.
    • Reducing CSS tips like using custom styles instead of local formatting
    • Using optimized images
  • Design Guidelines
    • Minimize merge fields, calcs, hide conditions
    • Minimize use of import/exports, sorting, summaries
    • Don't overuse script triggers
    • Minimize modal dialogs
  • Server Hardware guidelines
    • SSD Drives
    • Fast network connections
    • 2 Machine Configs for a higher load
  • Minimizing the effects of tabbing
  • How the WebDirect team optimizes code better each year
  • Some debugging tools
    • speedlime (http://mschrag.github.io/)
    • network link conditioner (http://nshipster.com/network-link-conditioner/)
    • Chrome/Safari developer tools -> Network Panel

It's an information packed 75 minute video, so be sure to watch it if you are using WebDirect with your clients.

FileMaker WebDirect 16

FileMaker 16 WebDirect has been optimized and it's capabilities tremendously expanded.  The biggest change is the increase in users to 500, which requires special deployment considerations. For example, connecting more than 100 users may be accomplished using a Master/Worker multiple machine setup:

FileMaker 16 WebDirect

For more information, click here or reach out for help here.


Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.

Elbert Hubbard
US author (1856 - 1915)

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