Blue World Communications has released Lasso Professional 5, the latest version of its database middleware for Internet publishing and development (see "WebObjects: WO Is Me, Part 1" in TidBITS 584 for an overview of what programs like Lasso do). Essentially, Lasso sits between a database and a Web server, making information stored in the database accessible via the Web. TidBITS has long used Lasso to make our extensive FileMaker-based article database and TidBITS Talk archive available via the Web.
Lasso Professional 5 adds a number of high-end features, including an integrated version of the open-source MySQL database (plus a database builder for defining and managing your own databases), substantial enhancements to Lasso’s scripting language, completely revised documentation, and extended security and administration tools (including real time monitoring). Lasso Professional 5 can connect to remote MySQL and FileMaker Pro databases, and developers can create connectors for other database systems – connectors already exist for 4D, FrontBase, PrimeBase, and ODBC databases. With these undeniably high-end features comes a high-end price tag: Lasso Professional 5 Standard Edition costs $1,200 and handles an unlimited number of clients (upgrades from the full version of Lasso 3.5 run $600); a separate single-user Developer Edition is available for $350 (and a 30-day evaluation version is available for free). More-expensive “Deluxe” subscriptions add a year of free upgrades and priority technical support. All versions of Lasso come with electronic documentation; printed documentation costs $100 extra and should be available later this month. Lasso Professional 5 supports Apache and WebSTAR Server Suite V under Mac OS X, and IIS under Windows 2000 – users of Mac OS 9 and earlier have to stick with Lasso 3.5.