If you have a website that connects to a FileMaker database, this simple tip might help improve performance. One particular site we built connects to a legacy FileMaker database that was built years ago by another developer. The solution has one of the more complex relationships graphs I’ve seen, and it takes over ten seconds for a FileMaker Pro client to open the hosted file. Ten seconds is not a big deal when you’re opening a database once per day. However, it turns out that this ten-second delay was also affecting our website. As we investigated the reports of intermittent performance issues, we found that the first page a user accessed would sometimes take more than ten seconds to load. When the FileMaker Server Web Publishing Engine (WPE) receives an XML or FileMaker API for PHP request, it opens a connection to the database and fulfills the request. After the request is processed, the WPE will wait three minutes before closing the connection. If additional requests are received while the connection is open, that connection will be reused and the three minute timer starts over. When we finally connected the dots and realized what was happening, the solution was obvious…we just needed to keep the database connection open constantly so that users never experience the delay. In our case, we simply created a FileMaker script with an “Insert from URL” script step that calls a PHP page that loads a small amount of data from the FileMaker database. We then created a schedule in FileMaker Server to run the script every minute. The same thing could be accomplished in a number of ways, such as the Laravel task scheduler or even a cron job. This simple change made a significant difference for the website users who no longer encounter that ten-second delay.
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