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-- by Serdar Yegulalp
I tested a second-stage beta of the Standard version-a free download from Borland (approximately 7.5MB). Many of the Help features were not yet available, although the program feature set was almost completely implemented. Borland will market the product in three distinct versions: Standard for SOHO or individual users, Professional for power users, and Client/Server for Enterprise use.
IntraBuilder needs a Web server to work properly, but it doesn't have to operate across the whole Internet. It can work in local loopback mode, too, using the 127.0.0.1 or local host names.
IntraBuilder comes with comprehensive instructions about how to configure the program to work with all the most popular Web servers, including Netscape's FastTrack 2.0, O'Reilly's WebSite and Microsoft's Peer Web Services. I tried out both Peer Web Services and WebSite 1.1e, and IntraBuilder configured both correctly in less than 2 minutes. You just need to create a couple of virtual directories and set a few server-side options.
The underlying data can be stored in almost any format you want: Paradox, Visual dBASE, Oracle, IntraBuilder, MS SQL Server, Sybase and Microsoft Access with ODBC. Although the data-editing functions are pretty rudimentary, it can be edited in IntraBuilder. Ideally, create the data in the database of your choice, and then use that as the data manager.
The Report Designer works in much the same way as the Form Designer. In addition, you can group data and create aggregate data, for totals columns and such. The Form Designer also introduces an innovation that Borland calls the "self-evaluating code block," which is simply a block of code that is evaluated every time the item it's attached to is printed. Every HTML formatting function can be set by the programmer either at design time or print time.
One feature that's bound to interest high-level programmers is the Form Designer's ability to do visual inheritance and subclassing. By creating a new class of form, which can be done with the provided design tool, you can also create a template for new forms.
The BDE Configuration Utility allows you to examine which ODBC drivers are installed in your system and change settings for each of them: cache time, maximum query time, cache directory, and so on. You can also add and remove ODBC drivers.
IntraBuilder's Standard version doesn't contain a built-in HTML editor, but you can launch one through the IntraBuilder Explorer. As an added bonus for large users, Borland plans to bundle Netscape Navigator Gold with the Professional and Client/Server editions of IntraBuilder.
Obvious beta deficiencies aside, IntraBuilder stands as a potentially indispensable tool if you plan to make live data available through Windows-based Web servers.
Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.