dimanche 14 mars 2004

FileMaker Pro 7 switches to XSLT

The Apple page is promoting the new release of FileMaker Pro, which is positioned as "the #1 selling, easy-to-use database software for Mac and Windows".

What's interesting to me: a database product aimed at regular folks has replaced its home-grown templating system with XSLT. "Publishing using FileMaker's CDML markup language is gone, and is being replaced with Web publishing using Extensible Style Language Transformation (XSLT) and Extensible Markup Language (XML)."

I've been using XSLT a lot in the last year. There are several things I like about it. Insanely good documentation leads the list, closely followed by excellent tool support (I use the Oxygen XML/XSLT/schema editor.) Lately I've been using this in Zope courtesy of Craeg Strong's very clever Zope XML Methods.

XSLT is viewed by some Zope people as complex. Perhaps that's true, though I also feel ZPT as used in a CMS can look pretty obscure as well. However, I think it is a harbinger when a commercial product like FileMaker, which positions itself as "easy-to-use" for normal people, makes the shift from a home-grown template system to XSLT. At a minimum, making a blanket statement of "XSLT is too hard" must be defended and not accepted at face value.

I'm also interested in other aspects of FileMaker Pro. I've wondered for a while if, with some kind of clever UI system (perhaps XUL), you could make a HyperCard-caliber app with Zope. For example, FileMaker Pro 7 has a relationship drawing tool, similar in spirit to UML tools. With Mozilla 1.7's SVG support (look at xbl-shapes and xulsvg1 on the samples), combined with a semi-structured collaboration server like Zope, there's the potential for very creative thinking.
10:27:54 AM   comment []