If you think creating a database-driven Web site requires hard-core coding, think again. Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver 1.5, which lets you add database functions to Web sites, is simple enough for nonprogrammers to use. Without altering Lasso’s user-friendly visual programming style, Blue World Communications has beefed up the latest version and made it even easier to use. New features include SiteBuilder, a convenient set of templates for adding database search functions, and Database Selector, which makes working with multiple databases a matter of a few wizard choices.
After installation, you access Lasso commands from within Dreamweaver. Lasso’s straightforward LDML tags work with the included server-side application, Lasso Web Data Engine, which controls data flow between a Web server, database, and Web client. (Lasso comes with a Lasso Web server but works with all common Mac server software.)
Lasso functions quite elegantly. The upgraded Lasso Configuration Wizard identifies your database and its records and fields. To create a database search page, you choose fields from the FormBuilder dialog box rather than hand-coding tags. Dreamweaver’s Object palette includes several Lasso programming icons for manipulating fields and records. The SiteBuilder function is a bit of a misnomer, though: you’ll use Dreamweaver to build sites and SiteBuilder’s templates to add search pages to them.
Lasso requires considerably less database experience than other popular Web-database solutions, like Pervasive Software’s $495
Tango 2000 ( ; Reviews , September 2000) or 4th Dimension’s 4D Server. Lasso also handles any ODBC-compliant database, but you can expect to do more work if you range beyond FileMaker and 4D. You can embed SQL queries into Lasso Web pages or rely on Lasso’s built-in LDML-to-SQL translation. And Lasso pays meticulous attention to security, letting you define security levels for individual users at database, record, and field levels.