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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Introducing Alphapedia: The first wiki-based, context-sensitive help system

Back in February when we welcomed Martin Heller to Alpha Software, we mentioned that he would be working on the development of the Alpha Software wiki, Alphapedia. Guess what? He did it! And we think the tool he designed will be very useful.

When you're working in Alpha Five on your desktop, laptop, or netbook, just select the relevant text or component you have a question about, and press F1. You'll be sent to the Alphapedia entry online where you can find the answers you're looking for. And if you're an expert user, you can actually log in and edit or expand the information contained in any entry.

We distributed a press release today announcing that Alphapedia is open for business. I hope this new functionality will be helpful! Read on for all the details.

Alpha Software Unveils First Wiki-Based, Context-Sensitive Help System

Company replaces Alpha Five's traditional Windows help system with wiki

BURLINGTON, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today Alpha Software announced that its Alpha Five Version 10.5 development platform is the first application to integrate a desktop help system with a context-sensitive wiki. The system, dubbed Alphapedia, is now Alpha Software's central resource for all Alpha Five documentation. Alphapedia is continuously updated by Alpha Software staff and independent developers, ensuring users get the most current and helpful support information available.

Getting help from the Alphapedia wiki couldn't be easier. When a user is working in Alpha Five on their desktop, laptop, or netbook they simply select the relevant text or component that they have a question about, and press F1. But instead of the old Windows help system firing up on their desktop, they are whisked to the precise Alphapedia entry online and get the information they need. Better still, if they are an expert user, they can log in to Alphapedia and edit or expand the information contained in any entry.

"Bringing a cloud-based wiki together with a desktop help system is a true industry milestone, and we're proud to be the organization that brought this innovation to the market," says Richard Rabins, Co-Chairman of Alpha Software. "We were the first company to ship Codeless Ajax, which lets people develop high-performance, interactive Ajax database applications without any programming. We were the first to ship portable SQL, which lets developers code once and database anywhere. And now we're the first to recognize the power and importance of wikis as a support mechanism, and to integrate that with a desktop application's help system. I'm sure many other companies will follow this model. And I hope they do, because wikis have obvious benefits for improving help systems and helping users."

Alpha Five developers everywhere are welcomed to sign in to the Alphapedia wiki and share their domain expertise with their fellow Alpha developers worldwide. A free 30-day trial of Alpha Five Version 10.5 with Codeless Ajax can be downloaded at Alpha Software's website. The Alpha Software help wiki is located at http://wiki.alphasoftware.com/HomePage.

ABOUT ALPHA SOFTWARE

Since 1982, Alpha Software has been providing developers with award-winning tools that make it easy to build business applications. Today over 1 million developers and tens of millions of users rely on Alpha Software's Alpha Five. The company is privately held, and based in Burlington, Mass. Alpha Software can be found on the Web at http://www.alphasoftware.com. The company's blog is located at http://blog.alphasoftware.com.

Review copies, reviewer’s guide, and training available to press and bloggers.
Press kit @ http://www.alphapresskit.com

Contacts
for Alpha Software
Alicia Buonanno, 610-228-2096
Alicia@GregoryFCA.com

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11 comments :

garyk said...

much rather have a local help file than something on the interent. i don't want to have to go to the internet for help. in office , i always set the help file to local. the internet is no the answer to everything.

garyk said...

so, howcome my comment wasn't posted? because i don't like the wiki?

Lucy said...

Sorry for the delay. Actually, the girl who normally moderates comments is on vacation, so you were just stuck in the queue. Thanks for your feedback, we appreciate it.

Masago said...

Will this be available in the next release of A5? (The current version I have does nothing when I click on F1).

Richard Rabins said...

Masago,

You can ask for peer help on the Message Board, since this feature has been active since Version 10.5 was released.

Masago said...

Thanks, will do.

Richard Rabins said...

I bet a link to the message board would help :)

http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/

Masago said...

Thanks, I have posted a message here:

http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?p=546689#post546689

Small and Simple Things said...

I agree with garyk that I would rather have local documentation. The PDF's were great. I am not always somewhere where I can get an internet connection. I would rather give up the space on a harddrive to download the wiki if I had too. Maybe it should be in a A5 database?

Richard Rabins said...

Good point. We're actually considering a number of different ways to provide a local copy of the wiki. Once we decide on the best method, we’ll let you know about it on the blog. Thanks for your input.

Richard Rabins said...

Thanks for everyone's feedback. I posted instructions on how to download Alphapedia to your local hard drive. Here's the link. http://blog.alphasoftware.com/2010/10/how-to-take-alphapedia-with-you.html

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