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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Friday, July 31, 2009

Alpha Five Version 10 gets some loving on The App Gap

Last week Bill Ives took a thorough look at Alpha Five Version 10 on The AppGap. Bill took A5V10 for a little test drive, and it looks like he liked what he saw, especially A5V10's ability to create complex Ajax databases without bothering with a lick of code.

Have a look at his post for the full scoop.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slimming down to stay afloat in Top Tech News

We're well into 2009 and companies are still looking for ways to cut costs and preserve capital. Earlier this summer, I wrote an article about my ideas for ways companies can cut their costs, without cutting people.

So when Top Tech News' Jennifer LeClaire was looking for suggestions about scaling back salaries, I had a word or two of advice for her readers. You can read what I said, as well as other strategies for working leaner and meaner in today's economy that every business owner should keep in mind.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Google versus Microsoft: My thoughts in Digital Media Buzz

As I'm sure you've heard, Google has recently released some pretty big news. Its most recent project, Chrome OS, an open-source lightweight operating system, is projected to stir up some major competition for Microsoft Windows when it's released next year.

Some commentators are predicting that the launch of the Chrome OS could be a tipping point for a wholesale movement to Web-based applications. But as you know, I think the trend to Web apps has been well under way, even before the Chrome announcement.

Ned Smith, a journalist at Digital Media Buzz, called on me for my opinion on the "Google vs. Goliath" buzz. As I said in the article, without a doubt, the browser is where it's at for custom applications, but I don't think that means the desktop is coming to an end. Have a look at the article for the full scoop on what Chrome OS could mean.

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #16: Foreign language support for Web apps

Let's be honest, when you're dealing with the Web, you're dealing with the world. And now, in Alpha Five Version 10, you can communicate with everyone in it thanks to the new foreign language support for Web applications.

In an Alpha Five Version 10 grid definition, you can switch between virtually any language, whether it be U.S. English, U.K. English, Spanish, French, German, etc., etc., etc.

That means a developer can build an app that with a flick of a switch can change the labels on forms and grids, and the instructions on the screen, from one language to another. It also means the developer doesn't have to create separate apps for various language marketplaces, but can use the same application in every instance.

The app can even be designed to be generic so that the first question the user might be asked is what language they prefer, just like a bank ATM, and then the entire app would come up in the selected language.

As an added bonus, A5V10 even makes it possible for any labels or instructions to be computed on the fly in any language. Let's say the application is a medical app. When someone fills out a form, based on replies to questions on the form, the instructions can change from language to language, if needed

The video below shows you how.


Friday, July 17, 2009

The popping of Microsoft Popfly

Remember Coghead? Well this week, Microsoft Popfly met a similar demise. According to Popfly's Web site, as of August 24 Popfly will be no more. That means all resources will be taken down, and access to Popfly accounts, including games and mashups, will ... er ... pop.

That's bad news for developers who have been creating code in Popfly's cloud. Many of whom, if they don't act fast, will find that all of their work (and their application) has gone poof.

Don't get me wrong. I love the cloud. But platforms such as Popfly, Coghead, and the like aren't able to support serious application development. And as many developers are learning the hard way, it's not a good idea to create code in the cloud. That's the easiest way to lose control of your project.

For a safer, more robust route, build on the desktop and deploy on the Web. Most developers, businesses, and even enthusiasts have ideas that are bigger than these tools can handle. And by creating applications on your own desktop, you maintain control of your data.

As I've said before, that's our model at Alpha Five, because that's the model that allows any developer of any skill level to bring their ideas to life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More customer testimonials from Alpha Five Version 10 beta users

I've already told you a little bit about how our beta users are doing back flips over Alpha Five Version 10. Well, the mail hasn't slowed, so I thought I'd post a few more reviews today, verbatim.

Richard,

I just had a chance to work with the new V.10 and, after only two days, it looks like I can get my project done fairly quickly without having to spend a lot of time learning Java, AJAX and HTML. I come from a time when Ajax was a cleaning product. I can recall hearing some futurist say that some day software would write itself. That day is here now. I can't begin to imagine how long I would have had to work to create this project -- moving from desktop to the Web -- using any other product. I can eliminate redundancy (and with that, the possibility of error) and create useful error trapping which should save our district chairmen a great deal of time.

The videos on the blog and the message board have been invaluable in working with the beta. The Total Web Apps video has also been a great help.

Thank you for the opportunity to use the Beta and I'm looking forward to the final product.

Jim

*************

Hi Richard, I hope you don't mind me contacting you again. I just wanted to report my progress with version 10,and how my company are looking to proceed with it. I have demonstrated a demo application built with version 10 to my CIO. He was extremely impressed and is now asking me to prepare a proper presentation for the other senior managers and developers, which may result in a wider use of Alpha within the company. For your information I am based away from the main IT development area and my team is relatively small compared to the central development area (around 50 development staff including management). I want to present Alpha 5 in the best possible way to the other developers and am working hard to create an impressive presentation with a "real time" element to it.

I must say that this product is the first one that makes me believe that I can develop browser based systems with the power of the desktop, extremely rapidly.

I must be impressed as I'm working on a Sunday!

Thanks again to you and your team Richard.

Best Regards

Dave Wyatt

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #15: Detail view

There are a variety of options where the "detail view" grid can be opened in Alpha Five Version 10. In this video we've put together, you'll see the detail view opened:

  • on the page underneath the grid part
  • in a modal, popup window
  • in a modeless, popup window
  • in the grid part, directly under the row
  • and using the "pre-fetch" option for greater responsiveness


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cloud-based applications not the uphill battle InfoWorld's Neil McCallister claims

In a recent InfoWorld article, Neil McCallister claims that cloud-based applications are still plagued with a variety of performance problems, despite today's browser improvements. While I'm sure some developers are faced with network bottlenecks and scripting problems, the stability, security, and scalability of every cloud-based app depends on the level of testing and capacity planning completed by an organization.

As I said in my comment, performance is actually not an uphill battle at all. It's not fair for McCallister to say, "for Web apps in general," because that is a generalization. IT teams, developers, and the businesses they serve must (and often do) consider performance as part of the application requirement. I'll stop myself there, but have a look at my comment to get the full scoop on what I think the best practices are for performance testing and a closer look at cloud-based applications.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #14: Client-side formatting, calculated fields, and show/hide fields

Alpha Fiver Version 10's grid component supports several powerful "client-side" features, such as calculated fields, dynamic formatting, dynamic show/hide of grid elements, and dynamic enable/disable of grid elements.

The first video shows how you can define a calculated field. The calculation is performed using Javascript as soon as the value in one of the input fields changes.



The second video shows how you can dynamically style controls in the grid. As you'll see, the quantity field can be displayed in a different font and background color depending on what range of values it is in.



And this third video shows how parts of a grid form can be hidden under certain conditions. The grid shown has a section for the billing address and shipping address. If the "shipping address is the same as billing address" field is checked, the entire shipping address part of the grid form is hidden.


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