How will a web page look like 10 years from now?

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If you are in the web business you may have considered this question before. It can have a significant impact on your business. Those who get ahead of the curve can gain handsomely from it. Look at Tim O’Reilly and his Web 2.0 ideas.

On one hand more and more non-pc devices are used to browse the web. Then you have a fast growth in video on the web and phenomena such as Twitter.

Love to hear what you think.

Five Misconceptions about Building Apps in the Cloud

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Over the years since we first started Caspio in 2000, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing disbelief from new users when they experience how easily they can create their own web apps without coding or software. And even as cloud computing gains momentum and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) becomes more mainstream, it’s remarkable to still frequently hear so many common misunderstandings from new users and so-called “experts” alike. I’ll try to tackle some of them here, primarily from Caspio’s perspective.

Misconception #1: Only simple apps are possible without coding

Depends how you define simple. You can certainly create a massively scalable, multi-faceted, multi-user, highly-interactive app on Caspio and integrate it with several other online apps and internal systems and load it with millions of records. On the other hand, games and other intensely graphical apps are not as well-suited on Caspio’s more structured database-centric app platform.

Misconception #2: Cloud apps are a temporary Band-Aid

The idea being that to build a “real” app for the long haul, you should go back to traditional coding. Not so! While it’s true that application development platforms (including Caspio’s) have their own unique strengths and approach to solving business problems, by no means are Caspio-powered apps a temporary stop-gap. We have countless customers who have built mission-critical enterprise applications since 2001, when our platform first launched, and continue to expand their usage today.

Misconception #3: Hosted applications pose security and reliability risks

Security and reliability are a big deal as they should be. But if you do proper due diligence in selecting your platform,  you could be assured that the security and reliability achieved through your cloud partner is typically above and beyond what’s available in most companies. Caspio is known in the industry for its leadership in enterprise-grade security and reliability measures. Read about our specific measures and policies here.

Misconception #4: Long-term apps are most cost effective when built in-house

What many don’t realize is that once you roll out an app, someone has to continuously host it, monitor its uptime, update its security, back up its data, apply upgrades, and deal with feature requests whenever necessary. When you leverage a hosted platform like Caspio’s, you automatically benefit from all the built-in maintenance, upgrades, support and economy of scale … without even having to think about it. Once you put these expenses into your ROI analysis you see that unless you are willing to make sacrifices in post-development operational quality, running your app on your own is not more cost effective than working with a well chosen cloud partner.

Misconception #5: Non-developers can’t build powerful apps

After many many years studying computer science at school, the mere thought that a web-based tool could make my skills redundant is disheartening to say the least. But cloud platforms are not meant to be a drag-and-drop replacement to ingenuity … they are accelerators and innovators.


Platform-as-a-service offerings are much like point-and-shoot cameras. They are increasingly smart in that they automatically find your subject, zoom in on them, adjust the shutter speed and so on, so all you have to do is to push the button. The result is a fairly nice photograph. Now is it as good as one taken by a professional photographer? Certainly not. But most pictures don’t require professional photography skills to turn out delightfully beautiful. Furthermore, just by spending an hour learning your camera’s user manual to get down the basic features of lighting, framing and movement, you can improve your picture quality dramatically.
In the world of application creation, Caspio is that point-and-shoot camera. The truth is that Caspio doesn’t make anyone a programmer. However, it does provide an easy way to implement your ideas. The trick is in planning and architecting your app. For that, Caspio offers free project consultations, customer training and technical support. So when you combine an easy-to-use tool with an eager-to-help support team to back you up, you bet that you can build powerful apps without knowing how to write programs.

Point-and-click app building is here and it’s only getting better. We have been focused on this for the past nine years and have seen thousands of fantastic app ideas get implemented without a single line of code. There used to be a time that only professional typesetters could create nice looking publications. Nowadays, my elementary school child uses Word to create great looking documents. Similarly, you now can create web forms and apps fast and without programming. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

Caspio Spotlight: The Herald & Review

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The Herald & Review in Decatur, Ill., wanted to add an interactive component to the already successful print coupon campaign being used by the newspaper. The idea was to offer something extra to advertisers and to boost page views on the Herald-Review.com Web site. So it used Caspio’s tools to create an online coupon page that delivered on both counts. Despite a scarcity of the sophisticated coding skills needed to create a database, the staff experienced easy going using Caspio Bridge. It let them do the job themselves to create an attractive and effective online application. All that work on their part is good news for you because the Herald-Review is willing to share the finished web app for free with other Caspio clients [Request the App]. That means no development time on your part, yet you can reap all the rewards by using an application that’s already been real world tested – now that’s a sure recipe for success. Or, if you prefer, you can easily create your own web app with Caspio’s leading do-it-yourself database platform. Caspio makes it easy for anyone by furnishing the right tools to do the job and plenty of real time support for the times you need some quick assistance.

Source: http://herald-review.com/coupons/

QUICKBITS: Bridget Sibthorp-Moecker, Webmaster, The Herald-Review

“We have a printed coupon piece we do four times a year. We call it ‘Top Ads.’ We wanted something to go with it that was interactive and that included the ‘e-mail to a friend’ functionality. Caspio provided the right tools to get the job done quickly and economically.

“We had one main goal with the coupon page – and that was page views. We started right off with 3,000 page views a month. That’s good for something we are just starting out. And as the awareness grows, so will the response.

“I really like using Caspio. And when I needed help in the beginning, I found that Caspio’s online chat feature was a very quick way to get answers to my questions. And, I’ll tell you; the people at Caspio are knowledgeable. We’ve been able to solve every problem we ran into using the chat function.”

Caspio Bridge – a fast yet safe route over troubled waters

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It’s been too long since we’ve talked here – but luckily it has been a busy time at Caspio and that’s kept me away from the blog. As I read through the entries again I was hit by how often I’ve talked about speed.

And I started to think about the paradox of speed – how necessary it is in business and how dangerous it can be. After all, moving fast can be the difference between an opportunity realized and one that is lost. But I also was struck by the difference between being fast and being recklessly hasty. You must move quickly, yet out-of-control speed can kill, whether it is on the highway or in the board room.

Some companies – in an effort to get speed from overworked IT departments – are tempted to trust the success of their idea to applications rushed to development with inadequate time for thinking. That often means a hurried up specification process. Here‘s more about that danger.

You don’t have to be a software genius to know the most important part of creating an application is carefully working out just what it should do and how it’ll do it. Yet, in a job rushed through IT, that dangerous corner is sometimes cut.

Blitz development is ripe with the opportunity for error or a poorly conceived application. At best, it can amount to an expensive way to do things. At worst? You spend time and money on an application that is doomed from the start.

In an effort to go to market fast organizations can put their projects in a downward spiral that amounts to no more than a major sinkhole for time and money. It’s interesting isn’t it? You have to go fast to take advantage of a tiny window of opportunity. Yet, if you ignore safety in the rush you can crash and burn.

Luckily, there’s an art to moving fast safely.

Caspio Bridge provides that elegant solution. Its inherent advantage of safe speed means – even on the tightest of schedules – that there’s plenty of time for the specification process. But that’s just the start of what it offers.

Since Caspio Bridge creates a prototype fast you have the luxury of using it as a real world test bed to fine tune even the best thought out ideas with a tiny investment of time and money. The prototype can be changed with a few clicks of the mouse making it is easy to test various approaches. Ordinary users, without help from IT, can try out ways to make it even better with no risk and little investment. If a new idea works, that’s great. If not, you can move quickly to the next approach without spending a lot of time and money.

The amazing fact is that your prototype is actually the final product and is good for production. You can roll it out to all your users instantly.

The need for speed is greater than ever. But so is the need to spend your development time and money wisely.  Caspio Bridge can be a bridge over troubled waters – giving you a proven platform that lets you move quickly and safely to grab an opportunity before it vanishes.

ABC News “20/20” Selects Caspio to Power Online Database

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abc2020_logos_v2.jpgABC News “20/20” today launched a Caspio-powered interactive database that allows you to see just how much stuff goes missing every year from luggage at your local airport. The special interactive, “Lost & Looted from Luggage,” chronicles the tens of thousands of passenger belongings that have been looted and lost from luggage using data obtained from the federal Transportation Security Administration. The database is available online and will be featured in the special ABC News “20/20” segment, “Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity about Travel,” that airs tonight (December 14, 2007) at 10 p.m..

If you missed it on TV, check it out here.

Migrating Microsoft Access Programs to Web

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Many companies have aging internal applications that are built on Microsoft Access. There is tremendous appeal in making these applications web-based so they can be accessed from outside the office.

Caspio provides the fastest and easiest way to transform Access applications into web-based applications:

  • The Caspio Bridge user interface is designed to be familiar to Access users.
  • Access data can be imported directly into Caspio Bridge.
  • Caspio’s wizards for creating DataPages (i.e. web forms, searchable databases and other components for web sites) are designed to be easy to follow and intuitive.
  • Caspio’s plugin for Microsoft Office can keep a local Access database in synch with your online Caspio account.

Most importantly, Caspio’s Solution Advisors are very familiar with Access-to-web migrations and are ready to provide assistance and consultation.

Consultants specialized in Microsoft Access solutions find Caspio a powerful complementary addition to their toolbox.

Caspio Bridge User Interface
The 100% AJAX web-based user interface of Caspio Bridge is designed to be intuitive for Microsoft Access users.

DataPages that Generate Page Views

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The number one reason for creating web apps is to make money, directly or indirectly. For online publishers advertising revenues are a big part of the business and increasing visitors and page views is a sure way to improve the bottom line.

Provided that you have a semi-interesting set of data, the design of your DataPage directly affects its ability to generate page views. Consider the following techniques to maximize traffic:

1. Don’t make me think
Long and complex search forms are a kiss of death. They intimidate me. They may be great for research, to find a single record in a massive database, but a fun and interactive “consumer” database should have a simple search form. I don’t have a lot of time or energy to learn a new interface. Make it easy for me.

2. My hand stays on my mouse
Limit your search forms to clickable controls like dropdowns and checkboxes. If you want me to have fun with your database and try different searches again and again, don’t make me work hard. Don’t force me to take my hand off of my mouse and type in some words in a text field. Besides, I could be tired or spelling-challenged, which ruins the whole search.

3. I can’t drink from a fire hose
Don’t dump your entire database on me. That’s no fun for me. Give me my search results in small doses, like 20 or 25 records at a time. Let me discover more by paging through your database. Remember, every new page is an opportunity to show me more ads.

4. Engage me!
Show me just enough to make me want more. Then take me to the detail page of your record for the whole story. If you show me all you have in the search results page, I have no reason to dig deeper. Also, don’t expect me to know where to click. Make it clear.

5. Design sells
Just because it’s a database it doesn’t have to look like one. Give your data a nice layout and color scheme and add interactivity with integrated maps, reader feedback, and rating.

6. Make me look smart
Give me an easy way to send the address of this page to my friends and family. Show me how to bookmark this page and alert me when you update this database or bring another one online.

Benchmark your current performance so you can measure the results you get by applying these techniques. Everything mentioned here is easily possible with Caspio Bridge. If not sure how, ask our friendly solution advisors.

Top 3 Reasons to Avoid Programming When Possible

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Choosing not to “program” your next software project might be a very smart decision. Here is why:

1. Time to market
Writing code one line at a time is not the fastest way of bringing a new idea to life. Companies using Caspio Bridge see at least 80% reduction in their app development timeline when using Caspio Bridge. For IT department it’s time that can be devoted to other tasks. For business manager it’s good business practice and faster deployment. And for independent consultants it’s pure profit.

2. Improved quality
Crafting code is half art and half science. It is error prone the same way it can be ingenious. On the other hand, auto-generated apps are consistent day after day. As the same system generates large number of apps everyday, it receives a level of scrutiny and utilization that custom apps rarely get. As a result potential problems are identified and addressed quickly ensuring high quality and reliability standards.

3. Ease of change
The most dreaded task in the software development profession is changing someone else’s old and usually undocumented code. In many cases it’s easier to rewrite the program again than to change it. In contrast, changing Caspio Bridge apps is through the same wizards used to create the app in the first place. All previous selections are preserved and can be easily tweaked and modified.

Not all app categories are a good match for Caspio Bridge capabilities, however many are. If in doubt, let our trained solution advisors help you decide whether your project can benefit from Caspio’s app creation platform.

Parameters and Relational DataPages

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If you have created anything other than simple web forms, chances are that you have felt the need to send information from one DataPage to the next DataPage. In Caspio Bridge 5.0, due for release soon, we have introduced the concept of Relational DataPages through parameters.

In DataPage wizards you will have “on load” and “on exit” options for all fields. With “on load” you can assign a static value or a parameter to the field. With “on exit” you get to pass the field to the next DataPage.

Parameters along with other features built in Caspio Bridge version 5.0 make it possible to create one-to-many relationships in your apps, without programming.

For instance, you could create a customer details screen showing standard customer information from the “customers” table plus a history of each of their calls from the “call_log” table. Furthermore, you could add a “call log form” to this page in such a way that every new submission is automatically stamped with the customer id.

By default parameters are internal to Caspio Bridge DataPages, however, you will also have the option of passing or receiving parameters through query string values. This way you can integrate Caspio Bridge apps with external apps and web sites.

Sign up for Caspio Bridge 5.0 Beta

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We are in the final stages of the release of Caspio Bridge 5.0. This release is packed with a long list of new features and user interface enhancements. I will begin discussing some of these features here in my upcoming posts.

Our development team will be opening this release for a brief beta period. If you are interested to check your DataPages and apps in version 5.0, sign up to participate in the beta program.

This is how the beta program is going to work. We will copy an image of your account to our beta servers. Your original account remains intact and will continue to serve your applications. The copied account will be upgraded to Caspio Bridge 5.0 and you will be able to sign in and verify your applications and try the new features. Your beta account is for testing and verification purposes only and at the end of the beta program it will be erased. We will have no provision to move anything from your beta accounts to your permanent account.

All standard Caspio Bridge DataPages will continue to work as before after this upgrade. With the beta program you will have the chance of ensuring your customizations are compatible with the new release.

The beta program is open to all regular accounts (no Trial and SOHO).