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MacEdition Pro News : March 27, 2003

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The Web and whole lot more

Big software for little boards

Web Crossing Inc. is giving away Web Crossing Express, a a Web/Mail/FTP server plaform based on the core Web Crossing engine. [Corrected 26-Apr-2003. This is not the message board software. -eds]

Built on the core Web Crossing engine, Web Crossing Express has all the robust user access controls available in Web Crossing, plus the ability to wrap HTML pages in Themes. With the ability to administer from any modern browser, Web Crossing Express is easy to install and manage. Web Crossing Express requires no operating-system-level user accounts, making it ultra-secure and less prone to attack. Web Crossing Express includes its own user database and essential HTTP, HTTPS, POP/IMAP/SMTP and FTP, plus HTTP digest and basic authentication for private areas, allow/deny connection control, and high-performance full indexed search.

Built-in and administrator-created themes make it easy to customize the look of any Web Crossing Express site. Web Crossing Express includes the new WebFiles mirroring system -- a breakthrough paradigm for managing server files by mirroring into the file system directly from a Web browser. When used with the new built-in Web publishing feature, users can create and edit entire home page directories via most modern browsers. All files that are added or modified via WebFiles or FTP are automatically synchronized in real-time.

Web Crossing Express does not allow for any email support and allows for up to 1,000 page views per day. However, the program can be upgraded to to the full version with the purchase of a license for the real McCoy.

The software is available for download for Mac OS, Mac OS X and Mac OS X server from the Web Crossing site.

Bigger Boards get better

Meantime, Web Crossing also released a new version of their flagship product.

Web Crossing 5.0 adds a new extension architecture which lets site administrators add appearance themes, page component options, plugins, collaboration tools and a new system for an administrator to mirror files on a server through a browser. Also, added to the arsenal is FTP support and instant web publishing.

“Our new plug-in architecture adds new Web applications, themes, and page components with no programming required. Themes make customizing the whole site or particular sections easy. Our new WebFile system can mirror files, or even let users create home page directories, directly from their browser,” said Tim Lundeen, president and CEO of Web Crossing.

“We are very pleased with the new features that Web Crossing 5.0 adds to an already very feature rich product,” said Chris Zumbrunn of DeployZone.com. “It opens up exciting new possibilities for third-party developers allowing, for example, our DeployZone Object Engine to leverage the new XML and plug-in capabilities for a simple and fast way to build powerful web applications. With version 5.0, Web Crossing has matured from a leading collaboration tool to an industry leading server platform for any kind of Internet application.”

The webmail service now includes anti-Spam tools and support for more than one email attachment per message. Javascript objects can be imported and exported and HTML pages can be compressed for faster loading.

Pricing for the server-based package starts at US$295 for a 1,000 pageview per day license to US$19,995 for 200,000 pageviews per day. User-based licenses are also available starting from US$295 for 10 registered users/no guests to US$34,995 for planet-wide access. Web Crossing 5.0 runs on Mac OS X

ASCII man goes to the movies

Stupendous Software released a new plugin set for iMovie which allows users to convert an iMovie clip into text-based art.

The new set is comprised of 16 effects using ASCII character generators to create the abstract effects reminiscent of the ’70s-era keystroke art. The new set can be obtained from the Stupendous site.

Anti-productivity firm gets busy

Stick Software obviously hasn’t been taking the motto – antiproductivity tools for the discerning user – to heart.

The company recently updated three of their products. The first fix saw a bug hunt take place on their Constrictor screen capture utility which allows users to define an area of the screen and then add borders and save it in a wide variety of formats.

The company also updated Issa, the company’s “fridge poetry” generator. The update again addresses a number of bug issues and adds Spanish localization to the program.

Also getting a tune-up is Fracture, a fractal generating screen saver for OS X. Fracture picks up multi-monitor support, the ability to snap screen shots in JPEG format, desktop picture support and thumbnail icons in the update.

Data on the net and a suite deal

24U Software has broadened the company’s line of software by releasing DatabaseToWeb a program which allows a Web developer to quickly link any simple database to a static web

Primary functions of the program:

  • Import of a single-table (non-relation) database (maximum of 30 fields)
  • Possibility of editing imported data
  • Definition of several output files
  • Automatic filtering of records based on a custom condition
  • Automatic splitting into series of files based on a records-per-page limit
  • Definition of several output web design themes
  • Export of a selected output web page file/series of files to a disk
  • Selection of an output 8-bit text encoding (such as ISO-8859-2)
  • Definition of custom text encodings
  • Three demonstration files for importing
  • Three predefined themes

The company is targeting the program to firms which need to link up existing price list or product catalogues to their web sites. The program runs on Mac OS X, Classic and Windows costs US$49/49€ and more information can be found on 24U’s product page.

Meantime, the company has put together a bundle deal on four of its more popular FileMaker plugins and is offering a free upgrade path for all four items.

“We plan to release significant upgrades to all our plug-ins, as well as brand new products later this year, and in the years to come. By introducing 24U Simple Suite we are offering new subscribers an opportunity to use the newest versions, including plug-ins for all new versions of FileMaker Pro, as soon as we release them, and in some cases even sooner” said Honza Koudelka, 24U software’s quality control manager.

The bundle, which sells for US$171 for an annual corporate license, contains 24U SimpleDialog, 24U Preferences+Globals, 24U PlaySound and 24U Transcoding plugins. Those interested in picking up the package can connect with 24U’s Webstore.

Echo that!

Dog Park Software has made it possible for Mac OS X amateur radio operators to hook up with EchoLink (URL corrected 27-Aug-2003).

EchoLink allows radio operators to communicate with each other over the internet using Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology. EchoLink has over 73,000 registered operators in 122 countries around the world.

The Dog Park offering is a port of echoLinux and runs over Mac OS 10.2. It is offered on an “as is” basis with no support. The developers also caution that the first run of the program may take up to a couple of days to complete as EchoLink validates the name, call sign and password of the user. The system cannot be used until the validation process is completed.

4D gets UNIX saavy

Exenevex has released a 4D plugin that lets Mac OS X programs built around the 4d database engine to execute UNIX commands and scripts.

EVX_SHELL provides ‘root’ level command execution and returns standard output data to a text or blob variable. EVX_SHELL enables you to reach an inexhaustible source of commands and UNIX scripts allowing you, from your 4D apps, to control their environment.

The program is available from the Exenevex site and the plugin carries a US$69 site license fee.

Everybody gets one

An American company with a unique OS X product announced it is planning to expand its line to embrace Windows and other major computing platforms by 2004.

AquaMinds sees its current product – NoteTaker – as the forebearer of a new line of XML-based information processing tools. The multi-platform effort is being call SilverStar, by the company.

“We see XML-based formats such as OPML as the beginning of a richer, more flexible open platform environment. With NoteTaker running on multiple platforms, we think there can be even more innovation and integration among applications and users who want to use XML as their application data interchange architecture. Additionally, NoteTaker’s innovative Create Web Notebook feature will be equally compelling for new users especially where 1-Step Web Publishing(TM) is highly valued at schools and on university campuses,” said Scott Love, President of AquaMinds.

“We want our users to know that there will always be a way to get data in and out of NoteTaker via XML support. And, with Project SilverStar underway, NoteTaker will be available to users across the largest possible choice of hardware and systems. They will want to exchange both native notebook files but also XML-based formats depending upon the target application they're using with NoteTaker. For students and educators, this is the best of all possible worlds,” remarked Love. “Whether they have a Dell, a Sony or an Apple under their arms or in their backpacks, NoteTaker will now be part of any student or educator’s academic life on any personal computing platform they choose.”

NoteTaker 2003 is a Cocoa program while allows the user to jot down notes, drag or clip information from other programs have it automatically indexed so that the information can be reprocessed as a presentation, managed as a project plan, published and then shared out. The program also allows for voice memos to be embedded into documents and all the information in the program can be retrieved through a built-in search engine.

There is a 30-day test drive demo of NoteTaker available on the AquaMinds site. The program sells for US$69.95.

Looking for old ProNews segments? Check out our index at http://old.macedition.com/news/. Do you have news releases or tidbits of interest to the Macintosh professional? Send them to pronewsnotes@macedition.com.

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