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Author Topic: Alpha Five 60% off  (Read 2967 times)

Curt

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Alpha Five 60% off
« on: January 24, 2008, 10:53:38 AM »
What Alpha Five is: >> With Alpha Five, you can quickly and cost-effectively build fully functional desktop and web database applications. Also included are flexible report writing, intelligent email, data browsers and a full security framework. A rich programming language and tools like Action Scripting combine ease of use and complete extensibility. <<

The winner of Dr. Dobb's Events' 18th Annual Jolt Awards will be announced on March 5, 2008; Alpha Five is a finalist in 'Development Environments'.

You can read a thorough review at Programmer's Heaven. The review ends like this: >> While I wouldn't recommend it for every situation where you need to build web or desktop frontends to databases, it is well suited to intranet and in-house corporate applications. If you put the deployment issues and niggles aside, it provides a far better way to develop database-backed applications than the widespread "hand-rolled" approach, and is certainly the direction that web development should be heading in: eliminating code when we can generate it by simply declaring what we want. <<

Some more people think it is a very fine program:

crn.gifpcm.gifper10.giftopuser200710.gif


HERE is a link to a 30-day trial (the link is coded laplink, who mailed me the offer). Alpha Five is regularly $249, but until the end of January you can have it for $99 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

$99: https://www.alphasof...mp;refcode=laplink01

Tutorials:
1click.gif     2click.gif
« Last Edit: January 24, 2008, 04:27:26 PM by Curt »

urlwolf

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Re: Alpha Five 60% off
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2008, 06:28:52 PM »
I'm not sure point and click is always faster than writing code... but other than that it looks ok.

Deployment issues are mentioned. It needs their own server application (windows only). That takes it out of reach for 90% of folks.

Reducing development time of database frontends is exactly what modern MVC frameworks (Ruby on Rails, Django, PHPcake, code igniter, etc) do.

They are of course a lot more flexible than this. You can barely personalize the looks of the final page, right?

It does have an script language, Xbasic, but why would you go with a weird language, with little code examples out there, instead of say PHP , python or ruby?

THis product fits the niche of non-programmers doing web apps that talk to dbs. Is there such a niche? I don't know...

Steven Avery

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Alpha Five and others
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2008, 05:51:57 AM »
Hi Folks,

Interesting thread.

There pretty surely is such a niche, starting with people who are more comfortable with a designed database environment, or whose programming skills are more on mini-computer languages rather than the dozens of overlapping PC and web languages.  I know I like the idea of simply designing a few tables and then linking them by keys and having apps flow easily from that foundation.  If that gives me a web app at the same time (more or less) so much the better.

Even some PC-super-savvy programmers might find that helpful, they might like the nicety of a good RAD when they are working with an application with a number of linked tables.  They may not want to invest a lot of time in tweaking their multi-code languages right and left.

Whether you like the Alpha environment (which does give you a lot of hefty integration to word processing, email, mail merge, data browsing and reports and such as a given) or not is really a personal preference, it is true that hiding the environment is not a good option, you don't have a tabula rasa.  However in many cases that is an advantage, you don't reinvent many wheels in every program.  Same with Filemaker.

My struggle the last time I used Alpha was that their Windows programming seemed to be more 'event-driven' where you would be telling what happens when this button or thingy got clicked, and those snippets of code did not seem to be correlated to an ease-of-use-and-see repository.  Perhaps I missed something, that has been one of two reasons I am reluctant to go back to Alpha (although I may) remembering more fondly the Alpha 4 DOS days.   The second was that they didn't always seem to be able to quickly, fully and decisively eliminate niggly annoyances, something mentioned above (or on the ProgHeaven page) vis a vis the browse mode.  Not sure why that is, since it does seem to be a technically quite competent company.  Despite those two concerns, every time they call me to do an upgrade, I am almost ready to say "let's go !".

Meanwhile I am earnestly considering WinDev/WebDev from France at the moment (partly because it interfaces to AS/400-Iseries data, my home base, partly because it seems to be a hefty and very competent and competitive product that has been active in Europe and worldwide yet a sleeper in the USA) although we are talking a higher price tag.  On the even higher end, costlier, Magic Software from Israel, which used to win all the NC database RAD contests, is a very serious competitor and also very web-capable these days. Clarion is lagging in some ways but still is in the mix and has some pluses.  All of these products, to varying degrees give you their environment (Clarion a bit less so, perhaps, it was more able to give you pure .exe files, a direction towards which WinDev is heading.  Clarion was able to eliminate any concern about end-user pricing on an application you developed.  However the product has not grown quickly into the 32-bit and web worlds like the others.)  Another competitor on the high end is CA-Plex, that Computer Associates took over from Synon.  And there are a few more.  And each one will vary as to their ability to generate, integrate with and tweak lower-level code, written in C++ or other PC languages, and that will effect your decision.  For one product it might be a non-issue, for another product this may be standard and a given.

WinDev and Magic allow you to download their actual product in a trial, limited version, so you can really see if it makes sense. 

All of these seem heftier than the Alpha, Filemaker, Access level (amazingly the old-time goodie DataEase is still a viable product I learned the other day, so there are others.. eg Foxpro joined the Empire while Paradox went into a Borland space-time-warp-black-hole) and a person could easily decide to work with one simpler product and a heftier one as complementary, depending on the app complexity and specific needs.  And still do the PhP and C++ and Python learning and training and developing as they move along.

Back on the simpler end, Alpha probably does have Filemaker beat on many rad-relational aspects, yet Filemaker also has its fine aspects and the Filemaker programmers seem to the 'work-around kings' nicely filling in the gaps this way and that.  Access and its utilities probably lagging to those who like a full feature ease-of-use feature set.

Of course I have missed all sorts of other environments and products, folks who work in the Delphi and Visual Basics worlds, or those other products mentioned in the Jolt site, might have other excellent ways to achieve an ease-of-use full set. If others can share from diverse background, muy appreciado.  Perhaps this discussion is well-placed here, maybe a different section, maybe Programmer's Heaven, maybe elsewhere ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 06:16:38 AM by Steven Avery »

tinjaw

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Re: Alpha Five 60% off
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 06:27:46 AM »
Steven,

Boker Tov. (Don't let my first name, Chaim, trick you. I am 100% Goy)  :D

Thanks for the very informative post. Yes! AS/400s are quite good when used in the manner intended and operated by a competent handler. The European and US markets are quite different. It is absolutely essential to have separate sales and marketing teams. I also found it very interesting to work in the US for a US company that was started/founded by several Europeans. It was interesting in that they came to approach problems for a slightly different angle than the Americans did. Sometimes it was as simple as pointing out that it needed to use unicode to handle multiple languages, or times it was suggesting that the demo/sample integrate not just integrate with the best-selling US database/CRM/ERP/Etc. but that it also include the one that was a best seller in Europe/Scandinavia/Asia-Pacific.

The Holy Grail of the RDBMS world is a "codeless" way to build CRUD apps easily. I am completely biased, because I worked for Borland, but I thought Delphi did a great job of, at least, making it easier for programmers.

PhilB66

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Re: Alpha Five 60% off
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2008, 07:28:35 AM »
Boker Tov. (Don't let my first name, Chaim, trick you. I am 100% Goy)  :D

I had to look this word up. Maybe a new signature, Chaim?

Erev Tov,

Phil