A replacement class for the FileMaker API For PHP using the FileMaker Data API (REST)


At the 2017 FileMaker Developer's Conference, there were discusssions about how to move existing CWP code using FileMaker's API For PHP to the new Data API (REST) interface. fmPDA solves this issue by providing method-level compatibility to the existing API with minimal code changes on your part. Under the hood, fmPDA uses the new Data API. fmPDA has been tested with PHP versions 5.2.17 through 7.1.6.

fmPDA is divided into three classes:

  • fmCURL
      fmCURL is a wrapper for curl() calls. You can use this class for any curl() calls you need to make. fmCURL is used by the fmDataAPI class to communicate with FileMaker's Data API. Additionally, fmCURL instantiates a global fmLogger object to log various messages the classes generate. You can use this for your own purposes as well. See any of the example files on how it's used.

  • fmDataAPI
      fmDataAPI encapsulates the interactions with FileMaker's Data API. It takes care of managing the authentication token the Data API uses. By default it stores the token in a session variable so calls across multiple PHP pages will reuse the same token. If the token ages out, fmDataAPI will ask the Data API for a new one and update the session variable. You can disable session variable storage, but you'll then be responsible for managing the storage of the token. This class can be used without fmPDA.

  • fmPDA
      fmPDA mirrors FileMaker's 'old' API For PHP. To use it, you'll replace:

      require 'PATH-TO-FILEMAKER-CLASS-FILES/FileMaker.php';


      require 'PATH-TO-FMPDA-CLASS-FILES/fmPDA.php';

      Within the limits described below, your existing code should function as is, with the exception that it's using FileMaker's Data API instead of the XML interface. Not everything is supported, so you will probably have to make some changes to your code.

      fmPDA can also return the 'raw' data from the Data API; if you want to use fmPDA to create the structures for passing to the Data API but want to process the data on your own, set the 'translateResult' element to false in the $options array you pass to the fmPDA constructor. Alternatively, you can override fmPDA::newResult() to return the result in whatever form you wish.

What is supported

  • Get Record By ID
  • Find All
  • Find Any
  • Find (Non compound & Compound)
  • Add Record
  • Create Record & Commit
  • Edit Record
  • Get Record, Edit & Commit
  • Delete Record
  • Get Container Data
  • Get Container Data URL
  • Script execution - emulated with the old XML interface. When FMI supports this directly, fmPDA will be updated to use the Data API. This is only for direct script calls: pre-script, pre-command, and pre-sort can not be emulated.

What isn't supported

  • Duplicate record
  • Pre-script, pre-command, pre-sort script execution
  • Setting the Result layout
  • List scripts
  • List databases
  • List layouts
  • Get layout metadata
  • Validation
  • Value Lists
  • getTableRecordCount() and getFoundSetCount() - fmPDA will create a fmLogger() message and return getFetchCount(). One suggestion has been made to create an unstored calculation field in your table to return these values and place them on your layout.
  • Using Commit() to commit data on portals.

Changes you'll likely have to make to your code

The biggest change is replacing all calls to FileMaker::isError() to use the function fmGetIsError() as the FileMaker class no longer exists. If this is a major hassle, you can change conf.fmPDA.php and modify the following line:

define('DEFINE_FILEMAKER_CLASS', false);



This will create a 'glue' FileMaker class that fmPDA inherits from, and you can continue to use FileMaker::isError(). You should switch to fmGetIsError() in the future to reduce your dependence on the FileMaker class.

Things to look out for with the new Data API

  • Do not name a field called omit; that name is used in a find query to omit records.
  • Do not name a field called deleteRelated; that name is used when editing a record to delete a related record.
  • getFieldAsTimestamp() can't automatically determine the field type as the Data API doesn't return field metadata. There is now a new third parameter ($fieldType) to tell the method how to convert the field data. See for details.
  • getContainerData() and getContainerDataURL() now return the full URL - no need for the 'ContainerBridge' file! See container_data.php or container_data_url.php for an example.
  • The Data API replaces the name of the Table Occurrence in portals with the layout object name (if one exists). If you name your portals on the dedicated CWP layouts (you do have those, right?) you've been using with the old API, you'll need to change your code (ugh) or remove the object names (recommended).
  • The Data API translates FM line separators from a line feed (\n) in the old API is now a carriage return (\r). If your code looks for line feeds, look for carriage returns now.


fmPDA is released under the 'MIT' license. If you use this in your project I'd enjoy hearing about it. If you have questions, find bugs, or have suggestions for improvements, I'll do my best to respond to all queries.


Ready to try it out? You can download the .zip file or browse the full repository on GitHub.