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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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #45: Showing row-level errors in a pop-up window

We're human. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we miss a required field when we're filling out forms online. We've made an error. Normally an icon appears next to the missed field alerting you to fill it in to get to the next window.

But some forms are so long it's easy to miss the icon. As a developer, you want the user to know they've missed a field so they can quickly solve their problem. The last thing you want is a user wondering why that form won't submit.

Now there is a new feature in Alpha Five Version 10 that lets row errors be displayed in a pop-up window, along with the icon. This ensures that the error message cannot be missed. This video demonstrates the new error reporting feature in the grid component. Watch it, learn it, and use it. Enjoy!

Tell us what you're doing with Alpha Five Version 10

We want to feature you on our blog, in our newsletter, and in a podcast. Yes, you! I'm sure you're asking, "Why me? What makes me so special?" Using Alpha Five Version 10 is what makes you so special. ;) We created the product, now I would love to know what you're doing with it.

Businesses and institutions big and small use Alpha Five Version 10 to create some pretty amazing stuff. From making a process more efficient to developing a database that houses millions of records on the Web, I want to hear how Alpha Five Version 10 is giving your company a competitive advantage.

Whether you're a start-up with two employees or a well-established company with thousands of workers, you'll be able to share your story with the world. While you're at it, you'll be exposing your company to a whole new audience too.

If you're interested, e-mail me your contact information and a brief summary of what you're doing with Alpha Five Version 10. I can't make any promises, but this could turn you into an Alpha Five Version 10 star.

Monday, February 22, 2010

InfoWorld's Martin Heller joins Alpha Software

It's no longer a secret. I'm thrilled to tell you that Dr. Martin Heller has officially joined Alpha Software as Vice President of Technology and Education. He'll continue to blog for InfoWorld, but just not about us. :) Yes, he's a bona fide journalist. And we were willing to make that trade to bring his valuable knowledge and skills to Alpha Software.

We distributed a press release detailing his new role. I hope you join me in welcoming Martin, and congratulating him on his new position. Here's the release we put on the wire today.

Dr. Martin Heller Joins Alpha Software as VP of Technology and Education

Veteran InfoWorld journalist is now part of Alpha’s executive team

BURLINGTON, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- From editor and columnist at to the Strategic Developer at InfoWorld, Martin Heller is a voice that developers around the globe trust. Now this respected technology journalist has joined Alpha Software’s executive team as Vice President of Technology and Education. In this new role, Dr. Heller will be responsible for the ongoing development of the Alpha Software wiki, Alphapedia; authoring and delivering Alpha Software training courses; directing development of Alpha Five’s documentation, help, and online support systems; and producing other content crucial to the success of Alpha developers, including white papers, blog posts, and more.

Dr. Heller will also serve as a strategic advisor to the development team building Alpha Five Version 11, the next generation of the company’s industry leading Ajax Web database development tool. As a result of joining Alpha Software, Dr. Heller will no longer cover the company’s products or directly competing products in his InfoWorld blog.

“We’re thrilled to have someone of Martin’s background, experience, and reputation in this new position,” says Richard Rabins, Co-Chairman of Alpha Software. “World-class technology needs world-class documentation. With Martin’s unique blend of programming and editorial talent, we know we made the right choice to ensure all of Alpha’s content will give our customers everything they need to be successful.”

For the last 24 years, Dr. Heller has been a Web and Windows programming consultant. He has served as Senior Contributing Editor and the Programming Windows and Web Dev columnist for WINDOWS Magazine. He was a frequent reviewer at PC Week (now eWeek) and GCN, and a writer for Developer Pipeline, ComputerWorld, and DevX. Dr. Heller has authored or co-authored almost a dozen PC software packages and half a dozen Web applications.

He holds bachelor degrees in physics and music from Haverford College as well as a master’s and doctorate degree in experimental high-energy physics from Brown University. Dr. Heller currently resides in Andover, Mass.


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 The company’s blog is located at

Alpha Software
Press contact:
Kate Ritchie, 610-642-8253, ext. 162


Company contact:
Richard Rabins

Thursday, February 18, 2010

eWeek names Alpha Five Version 10 Product to Watch

Every month, eWeek editors name new or newly updated enterprise-class products they think should be on IT professionals' radars. This includes products and services that promise to create efficiencies as well as competitive advantage. We were honored to learn that Alpha Five Version 10 was determined to be a product to watch.

I want to thank the editors for choosing Alpha Five Version 10. See who else stacked up here.
(When you click on the link - you will see a slide Show. Alpha Five v10 is the second product in the slide show. Thanks.)

PRODUCT TO WATCH: eWeek says Alpha Five Version 10

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek # 44: Show or hide the alphabet button search bar in a grid

When you create a grid that is going to include hundreds or thousands of records, being able to easily sort them is crucial, and well, just plain convenient. You're probably familiar with the alphabet button search bar, then, if you've ever created such a beast. It lets you quickly search for records in a grid that start with a certain letter.

But not every project results in a large database that would benefit from an alphabet button search bar. In the case of a grid with only a few records, you might want to hide the alphabet button search bar. Now, when the search results appear, the tool is no longer visible. It makes the grid look cleaner and smoother, and doesn't consume screen real estate unnecessarily.

This video shows how you can use JavaScript system events to dynamically show or hide the search bar.

HIDE AND SEEK: How to hide or show the alphabet search bar based on number of records in a grid

Monday, February 08, 2010

Government Computer News compares Alpha Five to FileMaker, Access, others

Government Computer News just published its annual roundup of database software. This year, as in years past, GCN compared Alpha Five, FileMaker, Microsoft Access, and several other tools.

Two main points the reviewer makes (I'm quoting verbatim):

  • "[Alpha Five is] the only participant in this roundup that can compete with larger databases."
  • "Alpha Five beats FileMaker and even Access when it comes to advanced features such as script building and Web application development tools."


Here's the entire review. And if you haven't tried our latest version, you can give Alpha Five Version 10 a test drive right now.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Codeless AJAX, transparent windows, shadows, and desktop-like experiences on the Web: One developer pushes the limits of Alpha Five

Everybody loves their babies. They're cuddly and cute, but you never know what they're going to grow up to be. You want your son to be a doctor, but he grows up to be a rock guitarist. You want your daughter to be a painter, but she grows up to be a lawyer.

It's just the same when you're a marketer of database development software. Alpha Five Version 10 was officially born in January when we launched it. It's still an infant and we really don't know what's it's going to grow up to be.

What I mean is, developers in our community continually send me examples of what they're doing with Alpha Five Version 10 as they explore its new features and test its limits. I'm constantly amazed at the things they can figure out to do with the tool, things we didn't even conceive of when we designed the fundamental product.

Here's one example. Developer Peter Conway, as many of you know from past posts, has been exploring Alpha Five Version 10's ability to create ultra-contemporary user experiences. He's been able to create the kinds of things we see in Microsoft Windows 7, such as transparent windows, shadows, curved edges and more -- without having to write any code. The difference is he's doing it with Web applications that are driven by Alpha Five Version 10 with Codeless AJAX, not desktop applications!

Take a look at this video that Peter put together for me with his latest experiment. It blew me away! And I think it will do the same to you. Like I said, we could not imagine everything users would do with Alpha Five Version 10. We build the tool with tons of capability. What you do with it is up to you.

Watch the video below to see Peter's innovations in use. 

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Microsoft Access developers revolt against Access 2010

Microsoft database developers are apparently in an uproar over the upcoming release of Microsoft Access 2010. You need to look no further than Microsoft's own Access 2010 Web site to see the evidence. At the end of this post, I've posted some of the images we captured of developers' comments. (Better look at them now before Microsoft takes them down.)

It makes me wonder ... if Microsoft doesn't care enough to respond to the developers on its own Web site for its "hot new" product, how much do they care about the product at all? How much do they care about the database developers who need to use it?

Monitoring what developers are saying in general about Access boils down to one key point. They are apoplectic that the only way you can get MSFT Access databases on the Web is through a complex and incredibly expensive SharePoint solution that only the largest organizations can justify.

From talking to people in the know, my understanding is that it will cost at least $10,000 to get a Microsoft Access 2010-driven Web application up. That's just for the Web. If you want it on your intranet, factor in the additional costs of CALs (concurrent access licenses). No wonder developers are in an uproar. They can already feel Microsoft's hand scraping the bottoms of their pockets.

From Microsoft's perspective, we understand why Microsoft is doing this. SharePoint is aimed at major organization, and this Sharepoint centric approach is aimed at selling more Sharepoint licenses. But what you need to remember is this: Microsoft Access is no longer a platform for database developers. It's a platform for SharePoint developers.

The rants on Microsoft's Web site aren't the first time we've heard rumblings from unhappy Access developers. In December we started a new series, "A developer's thoughts on Microsoft Access 2010" with Martin McSweeney, Head of Development at I encourage you to read Martin's view of Access 2010's limited Web capabilities and overall "lack of beef." His thoughts are representative of Access developers everywhere.

We also recently published a comparison grid that helps developers see how Alpha Five Version 10 stacks up against Access, because the rumblings have been so loud. I expect many developers will abandon, or start to plan to abandon, Microsoft Access this year. The comparison grid is an excellent resource to have for any migration planning.

Another resource for MS Access developers is Martin Heller's course, which can quickly train you how to build database-driven Web sites with Alpha Five Version 10.

And now, the screen shots I promised.

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