Blue World Communications Sponsoring TidBITS -- We're pleased to announce a new sponsor for TidBITS, Blue World Communications. Based near us in Bellevue, Washington, Blue World's claim to fame is the Lasso Web Data Engine, software (or "middleware") which enables a Web server to communicate with a database. As the Web has moved from static pages to dynamically generated sites served from databases, software like Lasso has become increasingly important. Blue World has answered this need by extending Lasso to support a variety of operating systems and databases and has integrated support for Lasso's tags into Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive, but Lasso originally made its name back in 1996 as a flexible and speedy CGI for connecting the popular FileMaker Pro to Macintosh Web servers like WebSTAR. FileMaker Pro may not be an ideal database for the Web, but it was cheap, easy, and in common use. Add Lasso and a database on an inexpensive Mac, and you ended up with a sprightly Web site for fractions of what other approaches would cost. I'm speaking from experience here - we rely heavily on Lasso to interface with FileMaker to present (in a highly interlinked fashion) every article ever published in TidBITS, every post ever made in TidBITS Talk, and all of our polls and quizzes. FileMaker is still occasionally a bottleneck for us, but Lasso has helped us sidestep many of FileMaker's limitations and provide many additional subtle features like caching articles and TidBITS Talk messages, generating our just-announced version of TidBITS Handheld Edition, detecting denial of service attacks, and blocking "ballot stuffing" by over-zealous poll participants. In short, Lasso has become an integral part of how we publish TidBITS on the Web, and so we're especially happy to welcome Blue World to our select set of sponsors. [ACE]
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