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MacEdition Pro News : April 24, 2003

Dat’s all da data dare is

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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Web-based learning?

If anybody is truly serious about learning how to build a mission-critical enterprise-class server architecture around an Apple Xserve might want to hold April 30 open.

On that date Sybase Inc. and PowerEasy Corp. will webcast a how-to on building that sort of environment using a couple of Xserves and a Linux box, in addition to software from the two companies.

A PowerEasy e-commerce, logistics and financials application will be the centerpiece of the demonstration, leveraging Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), Sybase Replication Server and Xserve RAID. ASE on Mac OS X, the first enterprise-class relational database management system (RDBMS) to support features such as Apple's Rendezvous technology, will serve as the central database with Replication Server on Linux used to replicate data from the central database (in this case, ASE) to another server.

The demonstration will illustrate how to integrate and replicate data stored within heterogeneous systems to solve common enterprise IT problems.

The demonstration goes at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT) and those interested in viewing the event are to register before the event so that Sybase can pass on additional details prospective viewers will need in order to view the demonstration.

Extreme data mapping

Number crunchers and others who use data visualization software will doubtlessly perk their ears at news that Red Rock Software has leveraged the Quartz Extreme graphics in OS X for their new version of DeltaGaph.

“DeltaGraph 5 has taken the beautifully-innovative graphic capabilities that Mac OS X is known for and combined it with the science of data analysis,” said Craig Hopson, CEO of Red Rock Software. “Using DeltaGraph, numbers, formulas and statistics are turned into compelling information that is engaging, enlightening, and easier to analyze.”

The newest release of DeltaGraph contains over 80 chart and graph types with over 200 styles to address specific business needs. The software helps researchers, analysts, and managers who work with complex sets of data to collect, analyze and present their findings in a visually compelling and memorable manner. The flexible program includes a chart advisor and style libraries that enable users to quickly edit and arrange legends, grids, and pictures anywhere on a chart to achieve a greater level of impact and readability.

DeltaGraph 5 also contains Formula Builder, a utility which contains 50 statistical and mathematical functions. The new OS X program sells for US$299 with upgrades selling for US$199. Academic and multi-user packages are also available.

Messin’ with the moniker

In the month since 4D Inc. has been shipping 4th Dimension 2003 a number of developers have been climbing on board and making use of the new Web-savvy tools the database development environment provided in the new release. The end result of which are a raft of programs that make database development look – dare I say it – sexy, in comparison to field’s rather staid reputation.

Developer Exenevex SA has released a handy little plug in that lets 4D users access or export information with Apple’s Address Book, the dandy little application that ships with every copy of Mac OS X. The EXE AddressBook plug in, which sells for US$99, will exchange VCARD information and hook up a Palm Pilot via Apple's iSync software.

Not to be outdone, 4D’s boys have whipped up a demonstration application linking information in the database to Apple's Keynote presentation software.

4D Keynote Builder, which is a free download, uses XML to send data from a 4D database to a Keynote presentation. In the example, 4D built a list of residential properties which a real estate agent would be able to show to a prospective client. Through the magic of XML and the glue factor of SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) the same presentation would produce up-to-date listings even as homes come on or off the market. The source code for the sample program is posted on the 4D site and is available for 4D developers to manipulate to suit their own purposes.

Another interesting product built around 4D is just beginning to hit the streets. MasterWriter - which had its coming out party at MacWorld - began shipping a week ago. The program is a songwriting aid comprised of a set of rhyming and phrasing and information dictionaries, a database for organizing works in progress, a hard-disc recorder, drum loop library and an on-line date-of-creation song registration service. The program sells for US$289.

As an add boon for 4D developers Committed Software is shipping 4DVersion, a version control software for 4D projects. The software tracks modifications made to project methods and gives a version history while allowing the developer to see viewable differences between the versions. The tool has the ability to allow the developer to snap back to an older version or share out code with other programmers working on the same project. A demo of the US$399 program is available from the Committed site.

Finally, and this may be old news to some, 4D is licensing out their database engine to 4D developers in order to make custom programs built with the database more affordable to those who wish to deploy them

The basic read-only database engine 4D Engine Light, comes with the purchase of 4D 2003 and is free for distribution. The 4D sponsored engine provides full database functionality and is aimed at low-cost programs and in-house efforts. The US$999 license requires the developer to incorporate and “Powered by 4D” splash screen at the program’s shutdown. The 4D Pro engine is aimed at enterprise developers looking to forgo the sponsored message and costs US$2499 for 1,000 seats.

Meanwhile back at the FileMaker front...

24U Software is giving developers a sneaky-peek at their Simple Help plug-in for FileMaker Pro.

The plug-in – which is currently available as a beta release – allows developers to quickly attach help tags to layout objects, such as buttons, data fields or pictures. The beta is available on the 24U site and the company posted an instructional video on using the plug-in for download.

The Simple Help plug-in follows 24U’s last effort which enabled users to quickly plug database information contained in FileMaker or AppleWorks into a static Web page.

The 24U DatabaseToWeb plug in is aimed at the SOHO market and at Web developers who want a quick and easy way to enable their clients to automagically update their sites. The plug in costs US$49 and is available from the 24U store.

And for those wanting to get away from it all, .com Solutions Inc. has released a utility that allows Web developers to quickly convert FileMaker databases to MySQL.

The migration of FileMaker Pro numeric, date, time and JPEG container field data is supported with FmPro Migrator STD Edition. Adding support for MySQL database migrations makes it possible for FileMaker Pro customers to quickly and accurately migrate data to MySQL databases located at their ISP. FileMaker Pro customers can now economically host FileMaker Pro data on the internet even if their ISP does not directly support FileMaker Pro database hosting.

FM Pro Migrator moves FileMaker database fields of 255 characters of more to MySQL’s text columns and JPEG images are converted LongBLOB columns without the need for manual data entry. A demo of the US$30 product is available from the .com download site.

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