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.

Share this blog:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alpha Five Version 10 training in Vegas: You can bet on it!

Two words: Vegas baby! We're bringing back Alpha's successful Live Hands-On Alpha Five Version 10 Training Course for round two in Las Vegas. Join us from May 17 to 21 at the luxurious Marriot Renaissance Las Vegas hotel.

Last time we offered this training course it sold out within days. Now here's a tidbit that will help you pull out your credit card faster. Sign up before April 1 and you'll save up to $400!

"Alpha University" is a hands-on, in-depth training course that will teach you how to build modern Ajax-enabled Web database applications rapidly with Alpha Five Version 10. It will also help prepare you to become an Alpha Certified Developer.

The course was developed by Dr. Martin Heller, Alpha Software's new Vice President of Education and Technology, Strategic Developer blogger for InfoWorld, and as you know, a well-respected author, educator, and developer. Based on feedback from the first training course last month in Boston, Martin streamlined it to make it better than ever.

In round two, the course will be taught by Steve Workings. Steve has trained more people on Alpha Five than anyone else in the world. He is the author of the bestselling "Alpha Five Total Training" video series and has been an Alpha Software consultant and trainer for over 20 years.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Internet access becoming a right, no longer a privilege

I was recently asked to join the Board of Directors at O3b Networks. One of the reasons I accepted the position is that its mission is to make the Internet accessible to the Other 3 billion people in the world who have little or no Internet access.

As you're reading this blog post on your connected computer, did you realize that's how many people lack what you depend on for most, if not all, of your day?

Now contrast that with growing international sentiment that Internet access is a fundamental human right. In fact, an article in PCWorld, "Vast Majority Feel Internet Access is a Right" cites a recent survey conducted by the BBC that found a majority of Internet users now consider it to be a right, not just a privilege.

I agree with the survey's conclusions. I couldn't run my business, let alone create and sell my products without the Internet. It is directly connected to my family's livelihood. I wouldn't be blogging today without it, and you wouldn't be reading this post.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scaling Alpha Five for high volume needs

If you've been wondering if Alpha Five Version 10 can scale to high volume situations, well, then this blog post is for you.

I invited one of our partners, Clive Swanepol, President of ZebraHost, to tell you about a recent test his company performed for a customer.

This customer, is deploying an Alpha Five Version 10 Ajax Web application running against MS SQL Server to over 600 retail stores with thousands of users. Here is what Clive wrote, unedited, in its entirety.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to build an Ajax Web application in Alpha Five: "The Tutorial, Volume 1" now available

When InfoWorld journalist, Ph.D., and international man of mystery, Martin Heller, joined Alpha Software, we didn't waste any time putting him to work. After many sleepless nights and thankless weekends, Martin has produced the first volume of what we think will be the be-all, end-all tutorial on how to build, test, deploy, and maintain Ajax Web database applications with Alpha Five Version 10.

THE TUTORIAL: Ready to be read
Ultimately,"Alpha Five Version 10 Web Applications: The Tutorial" will consists of three books.

Volume 1
  • Teaches you how to create Ajax Web grids against SQL databases, without programming.
Volume 2
  • Will teach you everything else needed to create Web applications with Version 10 without programming.
Volume 3
  • Unleashes the full power of Version 10 by teaching how to program with the product and utilize its rich client- and server- event models for Web applications.

I'm proud to say that Volume 1 is ready to ship. I'm doubly excited by this. At one level, it's great to announce that this is available. But at another level, this plugs a hole that we have had in our supporting material for Alpha Five.

Customers, colleagues, and partners have been pointing this out to us for too long. The problem was one of resources and bandwidth, and I'm happy to say that we've invested in that in the form of Martin Heller. Here you have the first fruits of that investment.

If you want to read the first chapter, go ahead. It's on me. The level of detail Martin provides is, in my opinion, remarkable. If you like what you read, you can buy the PDF download for only $24. Or, if you still like "dead trees" editions, you can get that for $34, and you'll still get the PDF. Once you read Volume 1, you'll see how valuable all three volumes are sure to be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #47: Automatic prompting for missing arguments

There's a new feature on the desktop side of things in Alpha Five Version 10 that I'm eager to tell you about. Arguments are used extensively in reports, passive and active-link tables, and in custom Xbasic. Now when you create an argument, any values that are missing will be prompted for in the dialog box. And you can use combo or list box controls.

Switch over to the video to see a demonstration of the new feature in action.

ARGUMENTS: New feature auto prompts missing values

Friday, March 12, 2010

How to use Oracle stored procedures and functions

One of our customers, Harry Titlbach from Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung in Germany, sent me an interesting question. I passed it over to Kurt Rayner, Alpha's Vice President of Research and Development. He copied me on his technical reply.

Reading that, it occurred to me that Harry's predicament and Kurt's answer could be useful to some of our readers. Here is Harry's original, unedited e-mail followed by Kurt's unedited response.

Hi Richard,

I'm evaluating Alpha Five Version 10 with the 30 day trial (15 days remaining) for
Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, Bonn, Germany. For information about the "Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung" please look at our homepage and

Starting this year, we have a new project with the goal to give our colleagues abroad better, and direct support to our Oracle 10g database applications.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PC Pro highlights Alpha Five Version 10's simplicity, effectiveness, and more

It's only March, but I got my hands on the May issue of PC Pro, a computing and technology magazine from across the pond. When I saw that the editors dedicated three pages to Alpha Five Version 10, I knew I was going to REALLY like this issue.

One of the things I liked about the article was the step-by-step walkthrough of building an application, complete with screenshots. It was very well done and reminded me of the best days of PC publishing.

What a lot of Americans don't realize is that in the United Kingdom and Europe, "dead tress" publishing is very much alive. Which is why publications like PC Pro are still thriving over there, while most of the U.S. tech trade publications have gone mostly, if not entirely, online.

If you miss those days, grab the next flight. Meanwhile, order the issue because the articles aren't available online yet (when they are I'll post the links here.)

Alpha Software donates $270,000 to support the nonprofit community through TechSoup Global

About two years ago, we donated a truckload of copies of Alpha Five to TechSoup to help nonprofit organizations. I'm happy to tell you that we're continuing our partnership with them. We announced it to the world today via a press release.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alpha Five Version 10 Feature Peek #46: Multiple language definition support

Hola! Bonjour! Jambo! Buongiorno! There are so many different ways to say hello. And when you're building a database application, there a lot of languages you might need to create it in.

Arguably, internationalization wasn't as much of an imperative 10 or 20 years ago as it is today. In the client server era, you weren't necessarily having people around the globe connecting to your internal corporate applications. In the global Internet era, by definition, your application might need to be available to people all around the world. And it should respect them by speaking their language.

This is one of the reasons we made sure to include support for internationalization in Alpha Five Version 10. Language definitions were first introduced in the grid component, but they now have been extended to the Tabbed UI component and the page layout builder. Watch the video to learn how to use language definition strings in each.

NEW V10 FEATURE: Language definition strings extended

Friday, March 05, 2010

This post is rated "R"

Warning: The following post contains hardcore technical information. Developer discretion advised.

One of the risks about promoting a product around ease of use and speed of development is that developers assume it has some of the limitations that other RAD platforms have. Namely, it runs out of gas when you need to tackle the really hard problems.

We've spent a lot of time over the past 16 months talking about and promoting Codeless Ajax, our main message being that Alpha Five Version 10 makes it easy for developers of all skills levels to quickly build highly interactive Web applications without coding. Drag and drop, click here, click there, and your basic application is built.

In fact, to put a fine point on this, we were recently featured in InformationWeek, showing how Alpha Five Version 10 can build an enterprise application in five minutes.

We heard these complaints about Visual Basic when the Web came along, and you hear them about Access, IronSpeed, FileMaker, and others. But you won't hear these complaints about Alpha Five Version 10. The purpose of this post is to explain why, and to illustrate the depths of capabilities that Alpha Five Version 10 can achieve.

The interesting thing about Alpha Five Version 10 is that the application development capabilities scale as well as the applications themselves. That is, from the novice developer who needs to pull together a quick Web application, to the hard-bitten enterprise pro who wants absolute control over every aspect of the application and needs to integrate it with Web services or enterprise systems.

It only takes one video to demonstrate how easy it is to use Codeless Ajax. That's the single requirement, build an Ajax application quickly.

I want to share with you some more videos, part of our growing library of demos, that show you all the muscle that's under the covers of Alpha Five Version 10. If you're the kind of developer who likes to get your hands dirty, and you want speed and power, these videos will show you what Alpha Five Version 10 is capable of.

Part of this deep power is due to Alpha Five Version 10's robust EVENT model, for both server-side and client-side, support for REST services, CSS support, the ability to support custom code with xBasic or SQL, and the ability to connect with any SQL back end without having to rewrite your code.

Go ahead and grab yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending upon the time of day). Cozy up with a warm laptop and spend some time with these videos to see what Alpha Five Version 10 can do.

  • Alpha developer Peter Conway shows beautiful application-user interface designs that make the user experience extraordinary. In part one and part two of his video, you'll see his designs and how he was able to build an application without using any code. I challenge anyone to detect that these are actually Ajax Web database applications built in Alpha Five Version 10.
  • View our ever-growing library of over 50 videos we've created just for you that demonstrate all of Alpha Five Version 10's features.

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.

Why you should use a staging site for your Alpha Five applications, and how to set one up

Publishing changes to a production Web site can be nerve-racking, unless you mitigate the risk by testing first on a staging site. Here's how to set one up without needing another physical server or a second Alpha Five server license.

Unlike desktop applications, which are typically revised on a schedule measured in months, Web applications are revised often. There's a temptation to make a change in the hope that it will fix a problem. But some of the time, an ill-considered change will do nothing, make things worse, or break something else.

We advocate a widely used approach to Web development: Maintain a development site, a staging site, and a production site. Most Alpha Five developers use their own PCs as their development site. Many publish directly to their production site after quickly testing their work on their development machines. Unfortunately, that does not give a wider audience a chance to test the new site.

The use of a staging site not only helps you to test your own changes, it can help you test patches to the Web Application Server. While Alpha tests its own patches, there might be aspects of your application that differ from Alpha's test cases. Therefore, you should always test patches before you put them into production.

We've broken the process of setting up an Alpha Five staging site into seven easy steps.

TechTarget's SearchOracle says Alpha Five Version 10 is a "complete solution"

TechTarget's SearchOracle, the leading independent source for the Oracle community, had some nice things to say about Alpha Five Version 10 as part of a recent review. In particular, this paragraph stood out for me when I read the article.

"What is nice about Alpha Five V10 is that it’s a complete solution. The product offers a full complement of development tools and bundles in a Web application server that serves up any Alpha Five Ajax applications that work with any Web browser. Arguably, there is no quicker way to bring an application to the Web than with Alpha Five V10."

Don't stop reading there. Here's the full TechTarget SearchOracle review.

THE COMPLETE SOLUTION: says Alpha Five Version 10

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...