Caspio Bridge 6.0
Caspio Bridge, like a Microsoft Access on the Web, allows nonprogrammers to easily create online databases and the Web forms to fill them
- Simple to develop and deploy Web apps
- Table structure may be restrictive
Caspio Bridge's crisp, business-like GUI brings Microsoft Access-like simplicity to building Web databases online. Caspio shines with tight integration with Microsoft Office applications and a clean pricing model. The SQL structure imposed on tables will be welcome to some, but restrictive to others. And while applications are built without coding, many old programmer tricks are still necessary. Table names, for instance, require underscores instead of spaces. The biggest limitation is there's no easy way to add arbitrary logic to Caspio's back end.
Price$ 39.95 (AUD)
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Now that the desktop revolution is largely over, most of the excitement lies in the counter-desktop revolution that is bringing all the flair developed by the desktop programmers back to the safe world of the server. Caspio is one of the most prominent players seeking to lure the desktop database builders away from Microsoft Access and back into the datacentre's fold. The company has been around since before the last bubble burst, and now it boasts a number of prominent companies as customers.
Caspio's solution, called Caspio Bridge, is part of a wave of Web-based applications for building Web applications. Some, such as JotForm, WuFoo, FormAssembly, and their many cousins, promise to help automate the process of turning forms into tables and CSV files (see "Application builders in the sky"). Others, such as Coghead, want to help you develop an entire Web application. The line between them is getting quite blurry, but Caspio Bridge lies much closer to Coghead because it aspires to help you build full-fledged, database-driven Web applications.
As a programmer, I'm loath to call what Caspio and Coghead let you do as "not programming" because it includes much of the architectural forethought and experience that pays my rent. You do need to think about the structure of the data and make a number of other decisions that take up many of the early meetings during a programming project. Smart database design can make a difference. After that, though, using Caspio is just filling out metaforms that specify what other forms will look like.
Wizards and widgets
Caspio won't help you build the coolest applications, but you can accomplish quite a bit without much effort. The meat of the process comes during a fairly complex wizard for designing Web forms. Each field in the data table can have a number of basic and advanced rules for converting it into a field on the form seen by the user.
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