Caspio Bridge on Mac

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The most frequently requested “feature” our customers have been asking us since Caspio Bridge went live years ago, was the ability to run it on Mac. The administrative interface was only compatible with Internet Explorer 6 and 7 which are only available on Windows. Of course the deployed DataPages were compatible with all major browsers all along.

Those days are over now. The Caspio team is thrilled to release the latest version of Bridge which is fully compatible with Firefox on Windows, Mac and Linux and if it wasn’t for the shifting sands that the current Safari beta is, Caspio Bridge would have been compatible with Safari as well.

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The Caspio Bridge administrative interface is decidedly one of the most sophisticated AJAX applications ever built and making it compatible across all major browsers required significant determination. We hope you enjoy this new flexibility as much as we do.

Thanks for a Strong 2007

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Last week we held our annual company meeting. This is the time when as a company we reflect on our past year, celebrate our accomplishments, review our mistakes, and set the tone for the next year. Our customers may be interested in a brief report.

In 2007 we made three major releases. Each release was packed with much new functionality. Among them was the concept of parameters which glue Caspio Bridge apps together or connect Caspio Bridge apps with other apps. Parameters provided many new possibilities for our users. Instant app localization and extensive data formatting plus new data presentation options were other highlights of these releases. We also developed and implemented innovative back-end infrastructure technology that allows us to scale Caspio Bridge enormously. It enables us operate a distributed grid of Caspio Bridge nodes. We are very excited about the potentials of this new infrastructure.

Almost all of our production servers were replaced with new and we upgraded our databases to Microsoft SQL Server 2005. In the future releases we begin utilizing some of the enhancements provided in SQL Sever 2005.

Early in 2007 we formed a new business unit to focus entirely on the needs of the online media organization, primarily newspaper and TV web sites. A year later, Caspio has become the de facto standard in this industry and we now serve hundreds of leading newspaper and TV web sites. We will continue to invest in innovations and solutions that will make our online media customers more successful.

Our revenues grew by over 130%. We expanded our team and moved to new headquarters in Mountain View, California.

We also learned valuable lessons from the decisions that didn’t quite work out the way we intended them. For example the idea of opening a support center in Scottsdale, Arizona seemed to be a good one, however challenges in managing the remote office turned out to outweigh most of its benefits. After about eight months we shut down the office and stopped the distraction.

In future posts I will share with you our plans for 2008. I can say this now that we are preparing for large scale growth. We have already prepared additional office space for housing new team members. We are also working on some fantastic new features that are bound to get you excited. The Caspio team is just warming up!

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.

IT Consultants Expand Their Business with Caspio

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Caspio has proven to be a good source of revenues and new opportunities for IT consulting firms. About 25% of Caspio’s new accounts are created by firms who value-add their own services to the Caspio platform. These professionals fall into two categories, creative firms and developers:

Graphic designers, advertising agencies and public relations firms use Caspio solutions to provide value-added services to their clients and complement their core services. Caspio gives them the simplicity and cost-effectiveness that was never available. Typical scenarios include:

  • Bid on entire projects rather than just the design aspects.
  • Enhance core offering such as ad agencies who now bundle lead generation into creative design services.
  • Profit from signing large and complex projects and outsourcing them to Caspio’s quick and cost-effective Professional Services.

Developers on the other hand have realized that with Caspio they can expand their business without adding new headcounts or incur additional costs. They benefit from their relationship with Caspio in several ways:

  • As a new tool in their toolbox that is applied to relevant projects.
  • An easy way to increase business volume by building apps faster than before.
  • Deploy Caspio’s ready-made solutions to their clients to generate recurring revenues.
  • Create “application templates” that can be easily customized and deployed again and again for new customers.

We are expanding our programs for consultants in the coming months with services designed to help them succeed with less effort. However, the time to expand your consulting business with Caspio is now. Information about Caspio’s current programs can be found at http://www.caspio.com/partners/.

Caspio database brings more page views than the Paris Hilton story

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Last week at the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference in Phoenix, Ryan Konig, a Senior Reporter for The Arizona Republic (and a new Caspio Bridge customer), told the audience that their database of executive compensation which he recently deployed to the newspaper’s web site using Caspio Bridge generated more page views than the “Paris Hilton Goes to Jail” story.

Ryan Konig (right) of The Arizona Republic
Sr. Reporter Ryan Konig (right) of The Arizona Republic, which was the host of the IRE 2007 Conference in Phoenix.

The public counts on newspapers for local data and online media sites are increasingly using Caspio Bridge as an easy and cost effective way of building searchable databases.

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.

Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office

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A good friend of mine Tom Taulli kindly quoted me on his blog about Google Apps. There is a lot of opinion out there on whether Google can chip away some market from Microsoft Office.

With its extremely wide reach in search, Google’s app offering is bound to have a lot of users.

But is it going to win you and I? I doubt it. For one, I do my computer use on my office desktop, home desktop, or on my laptop. I have Microsoft Office on all these machines and I depend on Office’s performance and richness. If you take Microsoft Office away from me, I simply go for the free and powerful Star Office. Version 8 is really nice. In fact I’m tempted to go for it anyway.

Despite what Google says about the penetration of its apps in small businesses, they are targeting the MySpace generation. The generation who’s main computing device is a mobile phone.

You don’t need Microsoft Office for word processing on a phone. Google Apps fit the bill perfectly. Overtime the same users are going to take Google apps to the workplace.

Microsoft, being an excellent follower these days, will surely come up with a similar offering soon. The question is will the market go with the leader or the follower?

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.