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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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Abandoned Dabble DB developers: Get Alpha Five Version 10.5 for $149

When I told you the news about Dabble DB closing its doors, I promised Dabble DB developers that Alpha Software would offer them a competitive upgrade. We announced the offer today in a press release that just crossed the wire. Dabble DB developers looking for a new, reliable home for their databases can get the complete Alpha Five Version 10.5 environment for just $149 -- a $200 savings.

To qualify for the upgrade, Dabble DB developers simply have to send an e-mail to with the words: "I'm a Dabble DB developer who needs a new home for my database" in the subject line. They will receive a coupon entitling them to the savings. Get all the details below in the press release.

Competitive upgrade for Alpha Five Version 10.5 gives Dabble DB databases a future

BURLINGTON, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Dabble DB is closing its doors on May 18, leaving developers in the cold and their databases without a home. A vendor going bust is the #1 risk of cloud computing for any company that makes the mistake of committing to a database development platform entirely hosted in the cloud. And this risk isn’t just limited to small Internet startups—it’s a fundamental problem with the model. The same model that’s being used with Intuit’s QuickBase, Caspio, Zoho Creator, and others. But Alpha Software is stepping in by offering Dabble DB developers a path to rescue their databases, so they never have to reinvent the wheel again. Starting today, Dabble DB developers will receive $200 off the $349 price of Alpha Five Version 10.5 -- that’s right, they can get the complete Alpha Five Version 10.5 environment for just $149.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #3: Calendar and scheduling support

People use calendars and scheduling for more than just setting up appointments and phone calls. They use it for managing supply chains, setting invoice due dates, synchronizing employee schedules, etc. The list is long.

Calendar and scheduling support in Alpha Five Version 11 makes it easier for your users to keep track of their critical data by providing a graphical display to select dates and times on a calendar. For example, I showed you how Bob Moore's jQuery calendar component functioned in Mike Scholin's USMON Pro 2 Web app he built with Alpha Five Version 10.5. At that time, Mike had to purchase Bob's JavaScript add-on separately. Now this support is built in.

Although a third-party library might be required, the heavy lifting to integrate to this component from Alpha Five is done for you. Watch the video to see how you'll be able to add a new Web component to your app in Version 11, the options you can define in the calendar Web component, and more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #2: Map your data

I told you how you'll be able to integrate Google Maps into your database applications in Alpha Five Version 11. Today I'm going to tell you how Version 11 will provide you with the ability to easily build GISs (Graphical Information System) around your data.

A GIS captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data on a map. Using this feature in Web and mobile database applications can be beneficial, but costly. Commercial standalone GIS systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

But GIS and mapping capabilities will be baked into Alpha Five Version 11. For example, if you're building a real estate app, you can graphically show where the homes in your database are located. But you could also draw a circle around a geographic area on a map to narrow down your choices of homes, and so forth.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to turn an Excel spreadsheet into a sophisticated Web app

Our good friend from "down under" is at it again. Peter Conway is always pushing the boundaries of Alpha Five, building contemporary user experiences with transparent windows, shadows, and more. Most recently, he built a Web app to solve a common business problem using Alpha Five in just four hours.

Peter's daughter works at Morrisons Winery in Australia. Like most wineries, Morrisons has members. But the members' information was stored in an Excel spreadsheet. It was difficult to maintain and use, and it could only be opened from the desktop. So she asked for Dad's help.

In just under four hours, Peter exported the data from Excel, pulled some images from Morrisons' website, and built a sophisticated members management application for the winery. Now the winery can easily search the data, add icons or images to a member's profile, include wine preferences, notes, and much more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dabble DB is no more: Developers abandoned

It's a sad day for Dabble DB developers. According to Dabble DB's website, it will be closing shop on May 18, 2011. Dabble developers will now have to dabble in another platform.

The good news is that you can export your data by May 18. The bad news is that you are now faced with rebuilding the business logic you perfected in Dabble DB.

Even worse, if you have employees or customers using or depending on that Dabble DB application, it is, for all intents and purposes, offline and dead.

This is the #1 risk of cloud computing for any company that makes the mistake of committing to a database development platform entirely hosted in the cloud. Frankly, there couldn't be a higher risk if you're depending on that database to run your business or a part of it. Because at a moment's notice, that strategic business asset is gone, fundamentally undermining your business, and conceivably shutting it down.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #1: Google Maps integration

You'll never have to ask for directions again with the new Google Maps integration in Alpha Five Version 11. Now you can graphically display your records in the Grid on a Google Map. In the videos below, Selwyn uses a Grid that lists the name, city, state, zip, latitude, and longitude of airports to demonstrate the many ways you can display the records on the map.

He walks you through how to add the the new alternate view under Properties. Then he shows how to include different icons on the map to represent different records, allow the Detail View to pop up when you click on a record in the map, add a search field where the results are displayed on the map, the multiple ways the map can be viewed or laid out, and much more.

A Google Map is just one of the many different ways you're going to be able to view data in a Grid in Version 11, but more of that to come in another post. Most importantly, this new feature trims some significant time off of incorporating a Google Map into your app on your own. And with the demand for locational references in applications, this is something end users are going to benefit from too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Here come the feature peeks for Alpha Five Version 11

One of the most popular parts of this blog since it launched has been feature peeks. We started with 57 feature peeks with Alpha Five Version 9 as a way to give our loyalists insight into what was coming. And to spark feedback from our faithful developers about what they liked, didn't like, and what features they'd want to see added to the product. With Alpha Five Version 10 we did it again, generating 49 feature peeks.

Well I have big news for you today. Queue the drum roll. We're officially launching the feature peek drumbeat for Alpha Five Version 11. If you thought Version 10 was exciting with the introduction of Codeless Ajax and how it revolutionized the way database apps could be built with minimal coding, while maintaining complete programmability for experienced developers, well then Version 11 is going to put that excitement to shame.

We have some exciting things in the pipeline that will be as big as Codeless Ajax. But enough about that. I can't say much more just yet. What I can tell you about are some of the other exciting features that are going to be in Version 11.

Sit tight, I'll be posting the first feature peek soon. I'll give you a hint. It involves integration and rhymes with moogle taps.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hear why Web developers are abandoning Microsoft Access

We've talked to plenty of developers this past year about their frustrations with the Web capabilities (or lack there of) of Microsoft Access in podcasts.

Frankly, we did this because we know that Alpha Five offers Access developers an easy, cost-effective solution for migrating their apps to the Web.

But instead of me telling you this over and over, I wanted to give you the raw, unedited conversations we had with developers about why they left Access for Alpha Five.

Melissa, the voice of the Alpha Software podcasts, talked to some of these developers. In case you missed any of them, I compiled all of the podcasts for you below. Browse through our selection because Melissa talks to a variety of developers.

From long-time, experienced Access developers to non-developers, Melissa gives them the floor to express the reasons why Microsoft is not a good Web solution. And if you don't time to listen, you can always grab the transcripts.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

'Fanning the flames of developer burnout' in TechNewsWorld

Try to count on one hand the number of mobile operating systems developers have to build for today. You can't, can you? That's because there are six right now. And more are sure to come in the near future. If you're not aware of what the six are, let me give you a quick recap.

There is iOS from Apple, Android from Google, Symbian from Nokia, Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft, RIM from BlackBerry, and webOS for HP/Palm. And let's not forget that the Web has become a platform. After talking with developers day in and day out, I know that there simply isn't enough time and no unifying tools that let them build across all of these platforms.

With the proliferation of mobile operating systems and the demands of application development, I think we're about to witness developer burnout. The editors of TechNewsWorld invited me to expand on the conundrum developers are facing in a guest article, which they posted today. Hit the article to pick up where I leave off here.

Thanks again TechNewsWorld for publishing my article!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Alpha Five add on: Netmailer for Runtime

I told you all about Alpha Five's NetMailer and Netmailer Pro add ons last week. But if you're interested in distributing e-mails with your Alpha Five application to as many people as you want, NetMailer Runtime is more of your cup of tea.

NetMailer and the Pro version can be used only on a single computer. The Runtime version doesn't limit your distribution list. Better yet, you don't have to pay royalty or usage fees.

It's a simple way to quickly build marketable e-mail applications. To get all the details on how NetMailer can speed up building newsletters, invoices, statements of account, appointment reminders, and more, head back to my previous post or watch the video.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

You've got database-driven mail: Alpha Five Netmailer and Netmailer Pro add ons

If mass e-mails are in your job description, or extracurricular activities (hey, I don't know what you count as fun), you can shave off some of the repetitive work and even improve your mailers with the Alpha Five Netmailer add on.

Netmailer is a broadcast e-mail package that integrates with Alpha Five. You can completely customize your e-mails using fields in your database, embed images, add attachments, and more.

It's a tool that can speed up building newsletters, invoices, statements of account, appointment reminders, and more. And if you want to add one more layer of organization to it, you can automatically manage subscribe and unsubscribe requests with Netmailer Pro.

It monitors incoming e-mails for these requests and then manages which list the requests fall under. Netmailer Pro can also be controlled via Xbasic, so it can be tightly integrated with the Alpha Five apps you create.

There's a lot more you can do with it too, such as using a third-party editor like Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Dreamweaver, or Microsoft Expression. But take a look a the video to get a rundown of the features. And if you like what you see, you can buy Netmailer for $199 or Netmailer Pro for $499.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Alpha Five Users unite on LinkedIn

For many years, Alpha Five developers have been turning to the Alpha Software message board to ask technical questions, get advice, and share ideas around building database applications.

But it occurred to me that we needed a separate space where developers could easily network with one another and have discussions that are aimed at the business side of developing. That's why I created the new Alpha Five Users group on LinkedIn.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, just search for the group and join. It's a great place to get to know one another and start some helpful conversations. Since I launched the group, discussions have popped up around migrating Access desktop apps to the Web with Alpha Five, feature requests that will be added to Alpha Five Version 11, and much more.

So feel free to jump in or just observe and learn. And don't forget, if you haven't added Clifton Rabins to your LinkedIn network yet, you can do so when you log in to LinkedIn. Hope to see you in the conversation!

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