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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Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to get an Alpha Five Coffee Mug -- Alpha's all star video

A few weeks ago, one of our creative folks Bob Hebeisen, created this video for fun. It's a parody of the "Ultimate Dog Tease" video that quickly became a sensation on YouTube over the summer. At first, it was intended to be shared only internally, but we got such a positive reaction that we decided to post it on YouTube.

Initially, it got a few hundred views. After that, we noticed that it crept up to reach a few thousand.


A 15 minute training demo on one of the gems of Alpha Five Version 11: the new dialogue component

If you haven't gotten a chance to check out all the features in the new dialogue component in Alpha Five Version 11, here are a few more extended videos that will help you catch up.

The first series of videos I'd like to share is an extended dialogue demo. We'll show you how tables can be created from the dialogue definition, as well as how data can be entered into repeating sections. Through the three videos below, we'll demonstrate how a dialogue with a repeating section can be used to create database tables, and then we'll show how to enter data into the database.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32: How to change the look and feel of your entire app with just a few clicks

I might not know which patterns to mix or what shoes to wear, but I do know how to dress up my apps with Alpha Five Version 11's project styles.

We've designed 12 different styles specifically for Version 11, but the options don't stop there. The new style builder also allows you to roll your own styles into your apps. Of course, that's not including all of the styles that were designed for Version 10 and earlier, which are still available.

But with today's feature peek, we're going to show you how we've taken project styles to the next level by making it easy for you to transform the look and feel of your application in just a few clicks, and all in one place. At the end of the day, we've made using project styles more comprehensive, faster, and simpler.

This video debuts a new feature in Version 11 that allows you to set the style of the components used in a project, all in one convenient place. This is helpful because when you normally create a component, Tabbed UI, etc., you would have to specify the style name for each.

But Version 11 supports the ability to set the style name to project style. By doing this in all your components, you can head to the project style option in the project properties dialogue window and set it to whatever you'd like. In Selwyn's example, he enters "GrGray," a cosmetic change that will set the table to gray. You'll get to see that in working preview.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How do you defend your Alpha implementation when your company calls for a major Microsoft SharePoint integration?

Well, you can come back to the Alpha blog and reference the following article!

"Comparing SharePoint with Alpha" was written by one of our Alphaholics when he was asked to evaluate the possible decision of a Microsoft SharePoint migration. After months of research, he presented the article below to the rest of the company.

Microsoft SharePoint integration is something we see happening more and more in big corporations. But like building a house, a company needs many different tools to be built successfully, so SharePoint might not be the one-size-fits-all solution that it appears to be.

The article pasted below is exactly how it was sent to me -- we haven't touched a thing. Give it a read if you're in the mood for a technical, in-depth analysis.

COMPARING SHAREPOINT WITH ALPHA

I was asked by Bill Brush to evaluate the possibility of using SharePoint as a migration direction from Alpha DBMS which we’ve been using for years.

An important decision in the design a user application is whether to store information in lists or in a database like Alpha which is how NET manages engineering information. The version of Alpha we have is almost 6 years old and does not run well on the new MS OS Windows 7 so there is a compelling reason to examine how to proceed in the very near future.

We are heavily leveraged with legacy applications using the Alpha Application Developer. However, these applications work well and it is likely they can be ported to the newer version of Alpha. The cost for the new product is about $1500. Development time in person-hours is unknown but not daunting. One of the issues regarding this is the lack of planning to implement an upgrade so we’re a bit behind the curve in this aspect of moving forward.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Press play on 12 new video component features in Alpha Five Version 11

It's never been easy to integrate videos into a database application. That's one of the reasons we decided to develop our video component for Alpha Five Version 11. But before we even talk about what we've done to make adding videos to your database application easier, let's first ask the question, "Why would you even want to include videos in a database application?"

We examined this question when we first introduced video capabilities in Alpha Five. Some obvious uses include a real estate database of home tours, an insurance company's database of claims videos, or a database of featured speaker videos for an upcoming event. And it doesn't end there. These ideas just scratch the surface.

Our own Bob Moore produced a video that shows off 12 of the newest features we've baked into Alpha Five Version 11's video component. These features will help you meet all manner of video database requirements, and make doing so easy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32 Part 2: Where in the world is ... ?

In part one of this feature peek, Selwyn talked us through how to build a table that automatically updates geography fields in Version 11. In part two, we're going to continue and conclude the discussion by conducting a search with Google Maps to demonstrate that.

First, Selwyn enables the search component by activating the component type window, where he checks the box that will allow the grid to have a search field. The map will search on the location field that is actually a special geography data type, along with two other fields he selects.

In working preview, you'll get to see the result of the work done in this video and in part one. To test it out, Selwyn will do a test search for all records in Massachusetts that have an elevation of above 1,000 feet. When the results turn up, you'll see they're clearly marked with the familiar design of the Google Maps component that we incorporated in Version 11.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32 Part 1: Where in the world is ... ?

No matter what it is you're looking for, you'll have a better shot at finding it if you build a table that can organize your locations by storing latitude and longitude in a records field. In this two-part video series, Selwyn's going to be letting you in on the advanced features of grids based on SQL tables that support the geography data type.

Let's kick things off with the first video. The sample table that Selwyn has set up is a table listing airports from different parts of the world. It includes fields for latitude and longitude, along with the field for location. The location field, (shown on the far left of the screen) is a special type of binary field that's only possible using databases that support the geography data type. In other words, this table is perfect for our demonstration.

Selwyn will start in design mode by heading to edit the fields in the grid builder window. When he highlights that location field, he needs to make sure "location" is selected and checked in the middle window, which is marked "selected" (you'll see in the the video that even Selwyn gets confused here, so make sure to note that specification). When everything its correctly selected, we know that we're working in the location field, and Selwyn will start the customization in the properties window.

The property he's looking for is the geography field info option, which will allow him to enter whatever he specifies in that location field. For example, Selwyn keeps latitude and longitude marked, which you saw earlier when you saw those two fields in the example table.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Warning: This app is protected by Alpha Five security framework

If you ask me what my most trusted alarm system is, I'd answer that my loyal guard dog, Clifton, does a great job at barking at anything he hears and sees before it gets within a thousand feet of our home or office. But unfortunately, he doesn't have much bite when it comes to protecting apps.

That's one of the many reasons we designed the security framework that's woven into Alpha Five Version 11.

The security framework provides a comprehensive set of services that can be used by Alpha Five developers to protect their apps. It originally debuted in Alpha Five Version 8, and has been continuously updated to stay abreast with current and emerging security threats.

Rather than delve into its many capabilities, I'd like to talk today about how it works with the dialogue component.

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