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Monday, March 01, 2010

InformationWeek challenges Alpha to build an enterprise Ajax app in five minutes

There is one sure-fire way to get a critical, objective journalist to pay attention. Prove that your technology is a true outlier -- something that offers capabilities no other product can match.

We put our money where our mouth is when we reached out to Fritz Nelson, editorial director for InformationWeek and the executive producer of TechWebTV. Fritz periodically runs videos of various IT solutions on his blog, Full Nelson.

We promised Fritz that we could build an enterprise-class, Ajax-powered Web application in five minutes without coding using Alpha Five Version 10. He agreed to put us up to the challenge, and he wasn't forgiving.

He wouldn't give us an additional second. He wanted the entire application built without using any code in five minutes -- no excuses. At one point we were a little concerned. We knew we could do it, but there wouldn't be any breathing room. We had to live up to what we pitched.

As you can see from the video that appeared today on InformationWeek, we met the challenge. Alpha's Dave McCormick met with Fritz and walked him through the Alpha Five application built in five minutes. The application was designed and built by Alpha developer Bob Moore.



As you can see in Fritz's video, he and Dave are watching the playback of Bob building the application. Dave explains what's going on as the video unfolds. Here's the full video that Fritz and Dave are watching. Again, this complete application was built in five minutes in Alpha Five, without and video cuts or edits. What you see here is what you get.



Can't get enough of this five-minute stuff? Bob also recorded a voice-over version, where he explains each step in detail. Tip: Bob's videos are best in full-screen mode. After the video starts to play, click the teeny-tiny-eensy-weensy-microscopic-impossible-to-see zoom button to the right of the progress bar. It looks like a small "X."



One of the interesting things we learned while producing this video is that it takes longer to explain an Alpha Five Version 10 application than it does to build one. Bob Moore joked in an e-mail thread that it takes him 15 minutes to explain what he is able to build in five.

If this kind of power can be delivered in five minutes, imagine what you could do when you spend a few hours or days developing a solution (here is an example of a web app built in Alpha Five v10 in a few hours.) We also believe there is no other application development tool in the market that can build a comparable system in five minutes.

If you're an Alpha developer, we encourage you to share Fritz's post with any of your skeptical colleagues so they can see the power of Alpha Five Version 10 for themselves. If you haven't tried it yet, download the Alpha Five Version 10 demo now.

Thanks again to Fritz for his interest in Alpha Five Version 10 and the considerable amount of time he invested producing the video. We're very excited by his coverage.

3 comments :

costa said...

As impressive as Alphafive it might be, this demo is a marketing stunt.

The developer actually used components that have been previously defined. He added a previously created subgrid component to the customers rows. The report that popped up when the printer image was clicked was created before the demo as well.

Dave McCormick said...

Ahem, I think the charge of "marketing stunt" might be a bit extreme.

Yes, we prebuilt the report and the subgrid.

But the video does show you how the main grid is built -- so watching the subgrid being built would add little educational value -- since it is far less complex than the main grid. Second, building the report was off topic for this video.

Alpha Five features videos already on this topic. The most in-depth one is here:
http://www.ajaxvideotutorials.com/videos/library/reports_tutorial

The point of this video is to show you how things tie together quickly into an application, so you get a feel for the development tool.
It was not intended as a complete course on building applications.

If it were, we would have started with installing the software, gathering user requirements, normalizing and defining the tables, typing in the data, etc.

But we were working under an unusual challenge in that InformationWeek gave us just five minutes to show off our stuff. And where we really shine is our ability to quickly assemble powerful web interfaces.

With a product as comprehensive as Alpha Five Version 10, what would you have shown?

Bildeaux said...

I don't think he took exception to what you chose to show. Also, he did preface it with the fact that the product is "impressive" to which I agree. But, I also agree that claiming a 5-minute build time that excludes critical components is, maybe not dishonest, but definitely bending the truth a bit.

I think his, let's call it, "observation", was that there were pre-built components, thus sort of "tainting" the 5-minute claim, not casting any aspersions on the educational value or the value of the product itself overall.

So, maybe "stunt" is too harsh, but certainly its a "gimmick." We who use the product caught it right off, but those who've yet to purchase it would draw an incorrect conclusion, that's all.

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