dynapolis - lasso development, economics, and ashland, oregon
My ISP / web host of choice is Point in Space, owned and managed by John May. When clients cannot or do not wish to host their own web solutions, I recommend Point in Space for its wide range of solutions, including Lasso; ease of remote administration; and in particular the helpfulness and knowledge of John May.
I have also installed Lasso on client machines running Mac OSX.
The key element in connecting databases to web sites is the scripting language. Some common examples of this kind of scripting tool are PHP, and ColdFusion. I use Lasso, developed by LassoSof t. Lasso runs on several platforms, including Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux running either Apache or WebSTAR. It supports and works with a number of different database programs, including FileMakerPro and MySQL. Those who have followed the progress of FileMaker over the years will note that FileMaker has a built-in web connection language called CDML. CDML's origins trace back to an early version of Lasso. In the last five or so years Lasso has continued to grow and improve, while CDML has stayed pretty much the same.
First and foremost Lasso Professional works to connect databases to web pages. In addition, it offers a powerful scripting language which allows me and other Lasso developers to create dynamic, flexible web sites, independent of database options.
I work with two database programs - FileMakerPro and MySQL. FileMaker, a cross-platform, desktop database program is popular for its ease of use, intuitive interface, and fairly robust feature set. Its strength is in the desktop, small work group arena. It has performance and security issues when used in a web serving environment, but may still be a good solution - particularly for clients already using FileMaker in their office and who wish to transition into web-based solutions.
MySQL is an open source database engine that is fast, powerful, and optimized for web work. It does not have the nice user interface that FileMaker has, and pretty much needs to work in the background, with access to it achieved through web pages. It is my database of preference.
When given the chance to develop sites from scratch, or to develop significant subsets of organizational sites, I adopt a programming technique called Corral . The Corral Methodology, developed by Peter Behnke, uses a modular, dynamic approach to developing web sites. The clients and users see complete web pages delivered to their browser. The Corral Method streamlines web development efforts through the use of templates and include files. It makes use of Lasso's scripting capabilities to test for certain information and conditions and to deliver web pages appropriate for the request. For those who work with ColdFusion, Corral shares some basic foundations with FuseBox.
Through Point in Space, I host a number of announcement and full discussion email lists. We use LetterRip as our mailing list manager. LetterRip runs on Mac OSX and allows me remote administrative access and also provides an email-based administration process for my clients.