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This glossary is provided as a single location where the most critical terms which are used in the manual are defined.

Please browse through the glossary to familiarize yourself with the terminology of Lasso 9. The glossary is divided into sections and the terms are listed alphabetically within each section.

User Types

Administrator – A person who has privileges to access the configuration and security settings of your server. Includes one server administrator and one site administrator per site.

Client – An application which access your Web site. A Web browser is the most common example of a client.

Developer – A person who creates Lasso pages. Developers include both HTML programmers and Lasso programmers.

User – A visitor to your site defined in Lasso Security or in the security system of a database. A visitor may authenticate themselves as a user in order to gain permission to execute restricted tags or database actions.

Visitor – An end-user who visits your site through a Web browser or other means. When a developer is testing a Web site, the developer is considered a visitor of the Web site.

Product Line

Lasso 9 – The name of the Lasso 9 product line including Lasso Server and Lasso Studio.

Lasso Server – The Lasso 9 product used to serve data-driven Web sites. Lasso Server is commonly abbreviated L9.

Lasso Studio – A Lasso 9 product used to build data-driven Web sites to be served by Lasso Server. Lasso Studio installs as a set of extensions for Macromedia Dreamweaver.

LassoScript 9 – LassoScript stands for Lasso Dynamic Markup Language, the name of the programming language implemented and supported by the Lasso 9 product line.


Default Site – All incoming Web requests are handled by this site by default. The default site also serves to catch any incoming Web requests that do not match another sites’ site criteria.

Lasso Apps – Compiled Lasso solutions. An entire folder of Lasso pages, HTML files, and images are compiled into a single LassoApp. LassoApps can be served on-demand from the LassoApps folder in the Lasso Server application folder or from the Web server root.

Lasso Connector – A module or plug-in that provides connectivity between Lasso Service and an external application.

Lasso Data Source Connector – A module that installs into Lasso Service and provides connectivity to an external data source application. Built-in data source connectors are provided for MySQL, JDBC data sources, and FileMaker Pro. Third parties can build their own Lasso data source connectors using LCAPI, LJAPI, or Lasso tags.

Lasso Libraries – Collections of tags in the same namespace which are loaded on-demand from the LassoLibraries folder of the Lasso Server application folder.

Lasso Modules – Extensions to Lasso that are installed into Lasso Service. There are two types of Lasso Modules: Lasso data source connector Modules and Lasso Tag Modules. Lasso Modules can be implemented in C/C++ through the Lasso C Application Programming Interface (LCAPI), or in Java through the Lasso Java Application Programming Interface (LJAPI).

Lasso Service – The core executable of Lasso Server. It is implemented as a service application which can be started and stopped independently from the Web server. Lasso Service is the Lasso Web Data Engine.

Lasso Tag Module – A LassoSoft or third party provided module that installs into Lasso Service and implements one or more Lasso tags providing extended functionality.

Lasso Web Server Connector – A module or plug-in that installs into a Web Server and provides connectivity to Lasso Service. There are three initial Lasso Web server connectors: Lasso Connector for Apache, Lasso Connector for IIS, and Lasso Connector for WebSTAR V. Other connectors may be created using Lasso Connector Protocol.

Master Site – The master site routes incoming Web requests to each site based on their site criteria. The master site also serves the initialization pages and Server Administration interface.

Site – An independent Lasso Service process. Each site has its own modules, data sources, privileges, security settings, etc. Each site can be stopped and restarted without affecting other sites. Site criteria are used to determine which site will process incoming Web requests.

SQLite – The internal SQLite database provided with Lasso Server. SQLite is required to store Lasso 9 settings and preferences, and can also be used to store data in place of, or in concert with, external databases.

Web Application Server – An industry term for a tool that allows one to serve an application to clients over the Web typically tied to a back-end database. Lasso Server is a Web Application Server which serves Lasso-enabled Web sites. Web Application Server is synonymous with Web Data Engine.

Web Data Engine – LassoSoft’s trademark name, synonymous with Web Application Server, but specific to the Lasso product line.

Web Serving Folder – The folder from which a Web site is served (also known as the Web server root). This folder typically contains HTML files, Lasso pages, JPEG or GIF image files, style sheets, and more. Note that if multiple Web sites are served from the same Web server, they might each have their own Web serving folder.

Administration and Security

Administrator – A person who has privileges to alter the setup of Lasso Server. In Lasso Server, there are three types of administrators: a single required site administrator, and multiple optional group administrators.

Anonymous User – Any client which visits a Lasso-based Web site without authenticating, or for which there exists no matching username and password. This client inherits the permissions specified for the AnyUser group.

Group – A collection of users in Lasso Security. Permissions are assigned exclusively to groups. A user can belong to one or more groups, and inherits the permissions from all of the groups to which they belong.

Group Administrator – A user who has the privilege to assign other users to a specified group.

Server Administration – The interface and functionality for configuring Lasso Server. Available as a LassoApp entitled ServerAdmin.LassoApp loaded on-demand from the LassoApps folder in the Lasso Server application folder.

Server Administrator – The person who has access to the server-wide settings including creating new sites. There is only one Site Administrator specified by a single username and password.

Site Administration – The interface and functionality for configuring each site in Lasso Server. Available as a LassoApp entitled SiteAdmin.LassoApp loaded on-demand from the LassoApps folder in the Lasso Server application folder.

Site Administrator – A person who has access to all configuration and security settings for a single site. There is only one Site Administrator per site specified by a single username and password.

Lasso Security – The built-in system for securing data-driven Web sites powered by Lasso Server. Lasso Security allows data sources, databases, tables, records, fields, tags, and Lasso pages to be secured.

Permissions – Permissions are granted to groups and define what tags a user who belongs to the group can execute, and what data sources the user can access. Users inherit the permissions from all of the groups to which they belong.

Privileges – Privileges are granted to administrators and define what administrative and security settings each administrator can access. Administrators are generally granted privileges to modify the permissions of one or more users and groups.

Tag Category – A set of related tags which can be enabled or disabled as a group. Tag categories include Math, Date, String, etc. The names for Lasso tags in a category are often related by sharing the same prefix before an underscore character. (e.g. [File_Control] and [File_Delete] are both members of the File tag category.)

User – A specific visitor of a Web site with a unique username and password. A user is asked for authentication information by the Web browser. A user can belong to one or more groups and inherits the permissions from all of the groups to which they belong.

Internet Technologies

CGI or Common Gateway Interface – Commonly used as a generic term for any server-side technology that processes URLs and HTML form inputs and returns formatted results.

FTP or File Transfer Protocol – A client/server protocol for exchanging files with a host computer.

HTML or HyperText Markup Language – The tag-based markup language for the World Wide Web. HTML can be created using a text editor or a visual authoring tool.

HTTP or HyperText Transfer Protocol – The protocol which governs how a Web browser communicates with a Web server.

HTTPS or HyperText Transfer Protocol, Secure – Version of HTTP developed by Netscape for secure transactions. URLs that begin with “HTTPS” indicate that the SSL protocol is being used.

SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol – The protocol which governs how email clients communicate with email servers. SMTP support allows Lasso to send email directly to an SMTP email server.

SSL or Secure Socket Layer – A protocol designed by Netscape to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.

WAP or Wireless Application Protocol – The protocol which governs how a wireless browser, such as in a cell phone or PDA, communicates with a Web server.

WML or Wireless Markup Language – A tag-based markup language based on XML which allows pages to be formatted for display on a wireless browser.

XML or Extensible Markup Language – A tag-based markup language which is similar to HTML but can be extended with new tags for special purposes. This language is commonly used for data exchange.

XML-RPC or XML Remote Procedure Call – A communication method using HTTP as the transport and XML as the encoding. XML-RPC allows complex data structures to be transmitted, processed, and returned.


Array – A series of values stored sequentially. The values can be stored and retrieved by index. This allows many related values to be stored and retrieved as a group. For example, the days of the week might be defined as an array, and then the name of the third day of the week retrieved:

[Variable: 'Week'=(Array: 'Sunday', 'Monday', 'Tuesday', 'Wednesday',
'Thursday', 'Friday', 'Saturday')]

[Array_Get: 'Week', 3]  Tuesday

Classic Lasso or Classic Method – The programming method which uses Lasso commands within URLs or HTML forms. These commands are passed from the page in which they are specified to a response page which formats the result of the commands. This method is commonly contrasted with Inline Lasso or Inline Method.

Command Tags – Lasso tags which can be embedded within URLs, HTML forms, or [Inline] tags which instruct Lasso to perform a command or action. Command tags are named starting with a hyphen (e.g. -Database or -KeyField). Their value is specified differently depending on how the command tag is used.

Compound Expression – A form of Lasso syntax that incorporates traditional bracket syntax and LassoScript. For example, [Encode_HTML: {If: ($Var == Null); Return: 'Default'; Else; Return: $Var }->Run], uses a LassoScript conditional statement and variables within the [Output] tag. LassoScript within traditional syntax is always contained within {…} characters.

Container Tags – Lasso tags which perform on operation on a portion of a page. For instance, the [Records] … [/Records] tags will repeat the code contained within them for every database record returned by a Lasso action, but will still allow the code contained within the container tags to be processed.

Data Type – The type of data for any value used by Lasso (e.g. string, integer, etc.). Operations and member tags behave differently depending on the Data Type of the values they are passed. For more information see the Data Types section in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

Decimal – Any number that contains a decimal place. -300.20, 1.0, 2000.40 are all decimals. Decimal literals should never be surrounded by quotes.

Encoding – The process of converting characters to their hexadecimal equivalent in order to accurately represent them to the client in a Web browser, URL, or XML file. Values returned by Lasso can be returned using a variety of different encoding methods to ensure the proper results.

Expressions – The building blocks of values in Lasso. Expressions include sub-tags, mathematical operators, and member tag calls. Any place that a string or integer can be used as a parameter value for a tag, an expression can be used instead. For more information see the Expressions and Symbols section in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

Lasso page – A text file that contains Lasso tags which are read for instructions on how to process and format any specific action or request.

Inline Lasso or Inline Method – The programming method accomplished using the [Inline] tag which provides the ability to specify commands and the formatted results of those commands within a single Lasso page. This method is commonly contrasted with Classic Lasso and can provide enhanced security and code protection.

Integer – A whole number that does not contain a decimal place. -3000, 1, 200 are all integers. Integer literals should never be surrounded by quotes.

Keyword – A parameter for an Lasso tag that affects the output of the tag. Keywords always start with a hyphen. For example, the -Encode… keywords in substitution tags are used to specify how the output of the tag is encoded so HTML tags are rendered properly.

LassoScript – A method of specifying Lasso tags within a single container . This allows for a block of programming logic to be formatted in a more readable fashion without any square brackets. Usually used by developers who are familiar with other programming languages such as JavaScript. The following example performs a series of math operations in a LassoScript.

Var: 'Total' = 0;
Var: 'Total' = (Var: 'Total') + (Var: 'Item One Price');
Var: 'Total' = (Var: 'Total') + (Var: 'Item Two Price');
Var: 'Total' = (Var: 'Total') + (Var: 'Shipping');

Map – A series of values stored and retrieved by name. This allows many values to be stored and retrieved as a group, but still referenced individually by name. A record for a user of your site might be constructed as follows where the first name is retrieved:

[Var: 'User'=(Map: 'First'='Bob', 'Last'='Smith', 'Phone'='555-1212')]

[Map_Get: 'User', 'First']  'Bob'

Member Tags – Tags which are associated with a specific data type. The function of these tags is defined by the data type with which they are associated. A member tag is called as part of an expression by using the member operator ->. The tag is specified to the right of the operator and the value which the tag is to operate upon is defined to the left of the operator. The following expression gets the third element of the array returned by the variable myArray.

[Encode_HTML: (Var: 'myArray') -> (Get: 3)]

Namespace – A collection of tags with a common purpose. The namespace precedes the tag name with a hyphen. For example, [String_Replace] is the Replace tag within the String_ namespace.

Parameter – A component of a tag that follows the tag name and defines the functionality of the tag. Parameters can be simple keywords or complex expressions with many sub-tags. Named parameters and keywords always start with a hyphen.

Pipes – A pipe is a technique for passing information from one process to another. Pipes allow data to be sent to background processes for asynchronous processing, allowing threaded systems to be created for faster performance.

Process Tags – Lasso tags which perform an action, but do not return any result to the client. For instance, the [Email_Send] tag sends an email message when the Lasso page that contains it is loaded, but does not show any information regarding the email to the client.

References – A method of passing parameters from one action to another where an alias to a parameter value is passed rather than the actual value. Returning data by reference reduces memory usage and increases code execution speed.

Semaphores – A variable with a value that indicates the status of a common resource. A process needing a resource can check a semaphore to determine the resource’s status and then decide how to proceed. Semaphores allow safe use of the same resources across multiple threads.

String – A sequence of letters, numbers, and other characters. Strings with letters are enclosed in single quotes, e.g. 'This is a string'. Strings with numbers which are to be interpreted as an integer, decimal, or date type should not be enclosed in quotes lest they be interpreted as a non-numeric text string.

Substitution Tags – Lasso tags which take one or more parameters and return a result that is substituted in place of the tag in the page which will be output to the client. For instance: [Date_GetCurrentDate] is replaced by the current date and time.

Sub-Tags – Substitution tags used as part of an expression. The sub-tag is specified exactly like a normal substitution tag except that the square brackets which delimit the tag are replaced by parentheses. Sub-tag expressions are usually used as parameters for another tag. In the following example the [Field] tags are sub-tags used as parameters for the [Math_Add] tag:

[Math_Add: (Field: 'Price'), (Field: 'Shipping')]

Symbols – Used to perform math or string operations, or logical comparisons in conditional [If] tags and expressions (e.g. =, -, +). The behavior of symbols change based on how their parameters are defined and based on the data type of the parameters being modified. For example, ('1'+'1') returns 11 since both parameters are of the string data type (in single quotes).
(1 + 1) returns 2 since both parameters are of the integer data type. For more information see the Expressions and Symbols section in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

Variable – A temporary storage place for a programmer-defined value. Values can be stored in variables and then referenced later in a page. Or, using a session, values can be stored in a variable and then referenced on subsequent pages accessed by the same client. The following example sets a variable and then retrieves it within an HTML tag:

[Var: 'URL'='']

<a href="[Var:'URL']">LassoSoft</a>

Database Technologies

CDML or Claris Dynamic Markup Language – The language of the FileMaker Pro Web Companion. It is basically a subset of an earlier version of Lasso.

Data Source – A database application or database server. Lasso can connect to a data source and access any of the databases which that data source provides.

Database – A collection of tables and their associated records and fields. Every database is hosted by a particular data source.

Field – A container for storing data in a database. In Lasso, field is synonymous with the SQL term column.

JDBC or Java Database Connectivity – JDBC™ technology, produced by Sun Microsystems, is the standard API that allows access to virtually any tabular data source using the Java™ programming language. A JDBC-compliant data source is any data source that has a JDBC driver developed for it.

Key Field – A field whose values (called Key Values) uniquely identify particular records. Used to establish relations between different tables. In Lasso, -KeyField is synonymous with -KeyColumn. For FileMaker Pro databases, -KeyField_Value is synonymous with -RecordID_Value.

Record – A unique collection of fields within a database distinguished by a unique key field value. In Lasso, record is synonymous with the SQL term row.

SQL or Structured Query Language – The language which is used to query and build SQL compatible databases. Lasso automatically creates SQL statements based on the criteria specified, or allows one to submit custom SQL queries.

Table – A collection of records that share common fields. Every Lasso action must be performed on a specific table within a database. In Lasso, table is synonymous with the FileMaker Pro term layout.

Extending Lasso

API or Application Programming Interface – A set of shared libraries, documentation, header files, and examples that allow a third party to create a tool which interacts with an existing application.

Lasso Connector Protocol – Defines the rules that govern communication between a Lasso Web server connector and Lasso Service. This protocol is documented in the Lasso 9 Language Guide so third parties can create custom Lasso Web server connectors.

LCAPI or Lasso C/C++ API – This API allows third parties to develop Lasso tag modules or Lasso data source connectors using the C/C++ programming language. Documentation is available in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

LassoScript or Lasso Dynamic Markup Language – Custom tags, data types, asynchronous processes, and data sources can be created using Lasso. Documentation is available in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

LJAPI or Lasso Java API – This API allows third parties to develop Lasso tag modules or Lasso data source connectors using the Java programming language, and documentation is available in the Lasso 9 Language Guide.

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