Welcome to FX.php!

FX.php was originally created in 2001 as an alternative to the proprietary, buggy, and under-powered options that were then available to FileMaker® developers who wanted to put their data on the web. At the time, PHP was portrayed by some purveyors of these options as harder to use, and perhaps even a bit scary. How times have changed. These days, PHP is the standard for FileMaker® web development (though there are people using other options, too.)

FX.php is a database abstraction class. Basically, that means it's a way to talk to a whole bunch of different data sources in (more or less) the same way. It will even write the most basic SQL statements for you. No kidding. If FX.php doesn't support your data source of choice yet, feel free to request it; or just code the support yourself and submit it over on github — FX is open source, after all.

About this Documentation

As you read this documentation, there are a few standards of which you should be aware:

Code, which includes brief bits that are typed in and longer example blocks, is presented with a gray background in a monospaced font. Function documentation headers are a (clickable) variation on this using a larger font, a brown border, and with a trailing "#".

Data Source Limitations indicate cases where one or more of the data sources supported by FX.php do not provide the associated functionality.

Function Parameters, which you'll encounter in the functions documentation, are distinguished by bold text, a monospaced font, and a thistle (light purple) background.

The next type of special formatting that you'll come across are notes, formatted like this. Notes are always in a block of their own, with a beige background, and a thin border. Notes provide extra information about the documentation which precedes them. Though this information is optional, you may often find it interesting and/or useful.

Finally, when a function returns data, it will have a block like this. Like notes, return data is always in a block of its own, with a thin border, but with a green background surrounding a return symbol (i.e. an arrow which curves down, and then to the left.) The text in these blocks is also a bit larger than that in notes.

What should I read next?

Okay, so you've got your hands on FX.php; now what? If you're already a seasoned web developer, you may be more appealing to dangerous, man-eating beasts! Or maybe not. It probably depends on the seasoning (and the beast, for that matter.) Regardless, if you're in that boat, you may want to jump straight into the functions documentation. If you're still here, I'm going to assume that you're fairly new to web development, PHP, or both; though you may be quite familiar with FileMaker® databases, or some other sort of development.

As a result of FX.php's origins (among other things), a fair bit of what you see here will be aimed at folks who develop with FileMaker® Pro. If you're not in that boat (that's two boats so far, for those of you keeping score), and/or you're not familiar with FileMaker® stuff in general, this next bit is for you. FileMaker® databases are aimed at work groups, and as such it competes with products like Microsoft Access, though it scales better (up to millions of records), and is much easier to use. Successful FileMaker® developers can be found with most any training and background. In short, it's a great place to start if you're a small business owner in need of database software.

I hope you enjoy your time with FX.php. Please let me know how it works for you, and feel free to join the mailing list. FX.php is on github if you'd like to contribute code. For now, jump on into the Getting Started section of this documentation, and get your feet wet.


Chris Hansen