Pervasive invites developers to Tango

Not every developer needs to be the salty dog of the programming high-seas, according to Austin, Tex.-based Pervasive Software Inc.

That’s the philosophy underlying Pervasive’s Tango, a Web development suite that lets users build, deploy and maintain Web sites and Web-based applications. Because of Tango’s drag-and-drop functionality, users don’t have to be programming veterans, according to Mike Feneshall with Pervasive Software in Toronto.

“Tango has always been oriented towards people who need to do dynamic Web applications, but don’t necessarily have the time or resources to make that happen.”

But that doesn’t mean Tango doesn’t appeal to those who prefer to play with code, Feneshall added. “One of the neat things about Tango is when you’re working with databases, you don’t have to write any SQL. It’s all just drag-and-drop. However, if you’re a SQL guru…then we provide all of the raw SQL for you to work in as well.”

Pervasive is currently putting the final touches on the newest version of the development software. With Tango 2000, users will be able to visualize objects in the Tango Development Studio, or integrate objects that exist outside the Tango environment. Tango Class Files are now available through the object tab much like any other object type, including COM and JavaBeans — which Tango 2000 now supports.

Users can save Tango code as objects and drag-and-drop them for re-use later.

And Tango 2000 also lets developers store Tango application files (TAF) in XML format. “So Tango can now become a middle ground between two big systems that need to communicate with each other,” Feneshall said. He points to the difficulty merging corporations have making competing ERP modules communicate as one example of where Tango 2000 might be applicable.

As well, programmers can take advantage of Tango 2000’s meta tag language, and the Tango Web Analyzer, which helps Web administrators monitor traffic information in real time. The data is stored in Pervasive’s SQL database, and can be accessed for integration in other Web applications.

“And we’ve created hooks into tools like Macromedia (Corp.’s) Dreamweaver (Web page editor), so people who want to create the Flash…can do it in there, and manipulate HTML between Dreamweaver and Tango,” Feneshall said.

Sheldon Balaski, senior systems developer with Web development firm Onyx Interactive in Thornhill, Ont., said he and a team of three coders use Tango to help build corporate intranets, extranets and Internet sites. Balaski likes Tango’s overall flexibility and simplicity

“If you’re looking to put something together quick, it’s one of the better tools out there, certainly for fast deployment of Web sites and intranets, that sort of thing. The development environment is fairly easy to get around and get to know quite easily,” he said.

Balaski said not being able to see TAF files in a program like Dreamweaver has posed problems, which is why he’s looking forward to the Tango 2000 upgrade. “In a shop such as ours, we’re dealing with multiple people working on projects, and the graphic designer uses one tool, and the developers use one tool…if it could be such that the files that we’re using are interchangeable across tools, that’s a big advantage.”

Jordan Fladell, a partner and chief operating officer with Definition6 Inc., an Internet consulting firm based in Atlanta, said his firm built its own intranet using Tango 3.0. “It was much quicker. Its interface allows you to do things faster (than other tools),” Fladell said.

But Fladell said he’s happy with Version 3.0 for the time being. “They just increased the price point on user licences, and we’re not going to upgrade. We’re going to continue to use the same thing.”

Tango 2000 will be released by the end of summer. A Windows-based preview version of Tango 2000 is now available from Pervasive Software’s Web site ( Preview versions for Solaris and Mac operating environments will be ready by July 30, with the first ever Linux version expected later this year. Pricing information is not yet available.

Pervasive Software in Austin, Tex. is at (800) 287-4383.