How do I turn an old database into a spiffy website?
February 17, 2021 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Many years ago I built a simple relational database in Filemaker for a niche interest. I'd like to turn it into a website with some advanced search options and share it with a small group of like minded folks. How do I get there from here?

I assume I'm going to have to hire someone to create the back end in something like Mysql, but I have no idea where to look or what to expect. This is strictly hobby stuff with very little chance of ever generating income and my budget reflects that. I no longer "own" Filemaker and am not much interested in learning to code.
posted by Carlo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Can you say more about the size of the database and the kinds of search options you’re interested in? This prior Ask may have some answers to help you refine your thoughts.
posted by migurski at 10:54 AM on February 17, 2021

I am a php programmer with a bit of wordpress experience. Off the top of my head & without knowing your budget, this might work for you: If you can find a decent Wordpress developer & can export your filemaker data as excel spreadsheets you could use the wpDataTables plugin. It does have an annual or lifetime fee but might be worth it.

It seems like something you could actually learn yourself, without knowing how to code. Wordpress is famous for it's DIY appeal.

Memail me if you'd like :)
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would put some static tables, CSV or something for people to download and locally query, because things like security are so difficult to manage now for small-time outfits.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might give Airtable a look to see if it's close to what you want.
posted by SunSnork at 11:44 AM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have a similar project that I'm doodling at for fun - very niche and not for profit, and I'm so far planning to use Wordpress and MySQL. I have some basic javascript and CSS and did this years ago with perl and MySQL, so it'll be fun to do again. Custom posts and more detailed on generating custom posts explains one way to go about it. Wordpress runs on mysql so once you get a couple of weekends comfortable with mysql, you can start glueing stuff into place. Plugins are probably the absolute easiest way to do this, and I hope other people have more recommendations. I'm just trying them out as I go and would be happy to memail with you about the process!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:13 PM on February 17, 2021

Depending on your needs/abilities Datasette might be useful - designed to provide a usable front end for exploring data. If you can get the FileMaker database into CSV format, for example, there’s a Datasette tool to turn that into the SQLite database that it uses.
posted by fabius at 5:01 AM on February 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

This sounds pretty easy for an entry level Drupal developer - you could import the data using Feeds, and then you'd have a nice tool set up ready for you to update the data, if you need to, and create user logins and all that stuff. You wouldn't even have to do any database programming beyond just creating the database (usually easy to do with a cPanel-based web host); you can create fields and relationships right in the (relatively) friendly Drupal interface.

Like most of the solutions above, it does depend on you being able to get your data out of Filemaker and into something more like a CSV file.

Feel free to MeMail me if you'd like to know more!
posted by kristi at 4:18 PM on February 22, 2021

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