WebMerge Workflow for
Publishing a Database to the Web
Working with our WebMerge software to publish a database on the Web involves just three main tasks:
- Create Your Export File
Export your database or spreadsheet to a text file. WebMerge supports nearly any delimiter, so you can easily use output from popular programs like FileMaker Pro, Access, Excel, MS Works, AppleWorks and others.
- Prepare your Template Pages
You make template pages for your index and detail pages using your favorite Web authoring tool, putting special placeholder tags in your HTML where you want specific fields from your database to be inserted.
- Run WebMerge
Once you tell it where your export and template files are and how you want the generated HTML pages to be named, just click the Build Pages button and in seconds you'll have your pages published, one detail page for each record in your export file. WebMerge can also generate multiple index files with a variety of options for which records are shown on each index page.
Step 1: Creating your Database Export File
The first step to publishing your database using WebMerge is to export the records you want to publish from your database or spreadsheet program. FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Access and others provide an option to export as a Merge file. This format is ideal because it retains the names of the fields you've defined in your database, but nearly any export format will work. WebMerge provides options for any field delimiters and includes presets for most popular formats, including FileMaker Merge, Access Word Merge, tab-delimited, comma-delimited, and more.
Step 2: Preparing Your Template HTML Page
The template files you'll make will contain special placeholder tags to tell WebMerge where to insert data from specific fields as it generates pages from your records. There are a dozen tags available for everything from inserting field data to creating navigation links between pages.
For example, if you have a field named "Address" in your database, your tag would look like this:
Just put that tag wherever you want the data from your Address field to be inserted, and WebMerge will replace your tag with the data from your export file as it generates the page.
You can use either plain text or HTML in your field data. Any special characters in text are translated to HTML character entities for you (e.g., "»"). To have HTML data copied into the placeholder tag without modification just add the "raw" attribute to your Field tag.
WebMerge also has an option to render URLs as links, so any Web, FTP, or Usenet address will automatically become clickable links.
Step 3: Running WebMerge
Once you've set the exported database file and template HTML pages, all you need to do is click the Build Pages button and you're done.
But you may want to take advantage of some additional options WebMerge provides, such as having your pages automatically uploaded to your server after they're generated.
You can save your settings to a file, and WebMerge provides the option of having a settings file run automatically when it's opened -- you can start WebMerge working by just double-clicking your settings file.
WebMerge also provides options for logging errors to a text file and has a test mode which limits processing to the first ten records so you can test your settings quickly.