All Web tools need to do two things: provide high-level drag-and-drop actions that generate low-level code, and ensure that using those tools isn’t more cumbersome than writing the HTML yourself.
For simple sites, plain HTML works fine; for splashy multimedia sites, Adobe GoLive and Macromedia Dreamweaver are handy tools. But if you need to post a product catalog or a database that’s already in ODBC-compliant format, the tool of choice is Pervasive Software’s Tango 2000. This Web connection tool for databases lets you generate actions by selecting a few icons that connect items in your database to entries on your Web page. As a special-purpose Web tool, it succeeds in simplifying a critical business function.
| Iconic Control The icons atop the Tango Editor window are part of a programming language that lets you code Web database tasks just by selecting elements. |
Programming the Store
The Tango 2000 package consists of Tango Editor, a modern editor adapted to visual programming with Tango icons, and Tango Server, middleware that translates Tango action file (.taf) instructions into code for standard Web servers. Tango’s traditional .taf files also now translate automatically into XML for distribution across platforms (and can include Java and C++ modules). But Tango’s real strength is that Pervasive has anticipated many standard business needs and packaged the necessary code as icons for use in assembling .taf code. With a few icon selections in the graphical user interface, you can program operations such as selecting an item from a remote database, ordering an item, and updating the inventory database.
Tango 2000 has some nice extras–a thorough tutorial and commercial-grade examples, including a StoreFront that’s ready for deployment. Annoyingly, the Mac suite doesn’t include Pervasive’s excellent Web Analyzer (for real-time traffic analysis). Another complaint is that Web users with slower connections who access Tango 2000-generated pages sometimes see bits of .taf text files as the graphics download.
Page 116 September 2000 www.macworld.com