The current version of Dynamicweb includes the forms module and the database publishing module. The forms module is a very straightforward module that allows ordinary users to create new forms, while the database publishing module is very nerdy module that allows superusers to publish lists and forms based on tables in a database.
The existing forms module is one the most widely used modules in Dynamicweb. However, it lacks the possibility of designing the form using templates. This is possible in the database publishing module. However, no ordinary user would ever be able to understand the features in the Database publishing module.
So, the new version of Dynamicweb includes a much more user friendly version of the database publishing module. This is called Data Management, and it includes the Datalist, the data forms and the XML publication. It doesn’t include the same amount of functionality as the database publishing module did, but it is much more simple.
I have just briefly tested the new features, so I’m not able to give you a full review of the new modules. But I was able to quickly publish an existing table to a datalist, and I was also able to quickly create a form that allowed users to create, edit and view entries. So far so good. This enables us to create simple forms and lists (no advanced forms though)
However, it seems that the team behind this module still have som work to do. Even though is is a lot more user friendly that the old database publishing module, it is still a bit nerdy. I don’t think that most webmasters would understand terms like “System.Int32”. And the user interface seems to need a bit of quality check in different browsers. The layout jumped up and down in my Firefox browser when I created a new datalist.
So the question is: Is this module intended to replace the old forms module? If so, how will we ensure that ordinary users will be able to create new forms without needing to go through extensive training? And if not, when will the old forms module be template-driven?
You can read more about the new features here.
By the way: I didn’t manage to find the new XML publication feature. This sounds as a really cool feature – maybe it isn’t a part of this beta release?