Earlier this year we published a series of articles about FileMaker and eCommerce Integration, highlighting our use of External SQL Data Sources (ESS) to make our online store orders visible in our internal FileMaker CRM. We’ve been using this method of integration successfully for many years and it has saved us countless hours by not having to manually re-enter online orders in our main FileMaker business app and our accounting software (Xero).
Suddenly we could no longer see our online order records! Everything was still working on the website and orders were still being submitted successfully (we receive an email for each order) so we started troubleshooting this to try and get to the bottom of it. After many frustrating hours we still could not establish the ODBC connection to our server, so we made contact with our web host and opened a ticket explaining our issue and describing how this had previously worked fine for many years. We were then informed that they had disabled remote MySQL access for security reasons and there were no exceptions – talk about a great way to annoy your customers by switching off access and not informing your customers about this!
It was still possible to connect but you had to create an SSH tunnel first – we then wasted another couple of days setting up the SSH tunnel which would work but then drop out, and we had issues with automating this so it could run when the server wasn’t logged in. After many days of frustration and lost productivity I decided to abandon the SSH tunnel efforts as it was proving too unreliable and too look at other options. Databuzz specialises in FileMaker integration and having recently written an article on working with eCommerce APIs and Webhooks I revisited my article and knew what needed to be done.
Our website stores are built with WooCommerce, a popular plugin for WordPress that powers over 39% of all online stores. WooCommerce offer both a push and pull API so you can have new orders automatically pushed to a server, and also download new orders on demand (e.g. get all new Orders today). The push option is the more complicated of the two options as it requires FileMaker Server, Customer Web Publishing, PHP pages and Webhooks to be setup, so we decided to focus initially on the WooCommerce REST API as that allows us to query WooCommerce for any new Orders and download the data directly into FileMaker. This can be run regardless of whether the file is hosted with FileMaker Server or just using FileMaker Pro, and we can also setup server side schedules to run each night and download new data. The REST API also allows us to push data from FileMaker to WooCommerce, such as Product updates, which is something customers have requested in the past.
Fast forward a few months and we are in the final stages of development and testing of our latest product – fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition):
fmEcommerce Link is our solution to connecting FileMaker to WooCommerce when you can’t make a direct ESS/ODBC connection – you use the fmEcommerce Link file to query your WooCommerce store for new orders, product inventory changes, new customers and also to push data back to WooCommerce such as new Products. You can link the fmEcommerce Link file to your existing FileMaker solution to push orders from WooCommerce into your main FileMaker business app, or recreate the same functionality inside your FileMaker business app as the fmEcommerce Link will be 100% unlocked for you to explore.
Here’s some screenshots showing data that we have downloaded from our test WooCommerce site:
I’ll be posting some videos demonstrating the core functionality of fmEcommerce Link over the coming days and would love to hear any feedback from existing FileMaker/WooCommerce users about any features you would like to see in the product – just leave a comment below.