New plant database for landscaping professionals

Horisk recently completed some behind-the-scenes work linking Filemaker Pro and MySQL databases on a new website for Ilex Creative Solutions. The website consists of an extensive database of plants for Garden Designers and Landscape Architects.

This will help professionals in the industry search for and select plants based on their suitability for the conditions or situation required by their Landscape Project, whether that be design considerations (plant size, flower colour, leaf type) or site conditions such as soil structure, pH, location (coastal or urban) etc. The database of plants was originally developed in Filemaker Pro, and Horisk's initial job was to setup a hosted version of this database so that a number of experts around the country could collaborate on preparing the initial data.

Then we developed scripts to link the Filemaker database with the online MySQL database which runs the Ilex website - this means that Ilex staff can maintain the database behind the scenes using the Filemaker tools with which they are familiar, and then instantly synchronise their changes to the live website. Effectively, Filemaker Pro is acting as an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) for the website.

The site is a great example of how to effectively use the External SQL Data Sources (ESS) tools in Filemaker Pro to seamlessly connect Filemaker databases to other systems. Horisk are currently using this technique to quickly build complex backend CMS for a number of websites.