Alpha Software is focused on enabling developers to create robust, data-driven business applications that run on any PC, Tablet or Smartphone in the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stack attack

Here's a well-articulated description of the problem facing application developers today: product stacks that grow like kudzu.

Software developer Jeff Atwood shows that in order to take a single action in programming, you often have to buy 20 other products before you can even get started.

Today, product stacking is a large, complex, expensive issue that stands between developers and their final deliverable.

For Jeff, in order to start working with a complete version of Microsoft's Visual Studio, he had to purchase a suite of service packs, updates, editions, and add-ons.

Not only is this expensive, but it's a statement to the complexities developers must work through to build applications. And it often ties applications to proprietary vendor platforms, which can further drive up costs over the app's lifetime.

It wasn't always this way. There was a time when all a coder needed was an idea and a compiler. For Alpha Five users, those days never left.

My team has always believed in giving developers everything they need to get the job done, in one box. Since we first launched the Alpha database system in 1985, it was designed to let people accomplish every programming task in a single environment.

As part of that, we also made certain the Alpha platform was flexible enough to allow the use of other platforms if the user wanted, but we never required bolt-on after bolt-on.

And we still don't. For example, here's what we put in the virtual box for Alpha Five Version 8:

* Complete suite of visual development tools for building desktop, Web, or hybrid GUIs
* Complete suite of development tools such as Action Script, Xbasic, Xdialog, reusable components
* High-level database development and management features such as database explorer, visual schema design, browse view, field rules, "Quick queries", templates
* Integrated e-mail, fax, and PDF capabilities
* Genies to speed development or debugging
* A complete reporting engine or quick genie-driven reports
* A ready-to-go security framework
* "Portable SQL" that allows you to write once, database anywhere
* Remote data access

That's just scratching the surface of what's in the box.

I hope I don't sound like a marketeer (that's my brother's job {grin}). But reading Jeff's post got me thinking about how bad the problem of product stacking has become.

I'm glad we never fell prey to its temptations.

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