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Showing posts with label charting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charting. Show all posts

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to write a charting application from a Web service

Alpha Software used to position its products as database application development tools. The way our Ajax Grid and Report engine are designed, that was largely true: you couldn't get much built unless you had a database, be it SQL or DBF.

That's no longer the case, however. In the two videos we're going to discuss, Selwyn Rabins shows you how to build a stock charting application that uses a REST Web service call to Yahoo! Stocks to populate a high-low-close chart, without sending the data by way of a local database. Now, it's not that there's any dearth of Stock Charting applications in the world, but think about it: a high-low-close chart (or any other form of time-series chart) is also useful for other data that varies with time, be it daily factory production yield ranges or minute-by-minute patient blood pressure range readings in a hospital setting.

Selwyn starts this video by demonstrating the application, and then lifts the covers to show you how it was done. It is best viewed full-screen.

The key code discussed above is:

dim url as c = ""+month+"&b="+dayNumber+"&c="+year+"&s="+ticker
dim data as c = http_get_page2(url)

'data returned by yahoo is chr(10) delimited, not crlf delimited!
'data is returned with newest data on top. we want oldest data on top, so sort the data.
data = word(data,2,chr(10),999999)
data = strtran(data,",","|")
data = sortsubstr(data,chr(10),"A")

Basically, all we have to do is to construct the correct URI for the stock we want, get the page associated with that URI, and massage the data a little so that it is in the correct format for the chart.

In the second half of the video, Selwyn debugs through the call and lets you see the data, then shows you how the ticker name is retrieved from the drop-down and put into the chart to implement the dynamic title.

How cool is that?

You can download the component used for this application from here. Once you have it, copy it into an Alpha Five v11 web project and modify it to your heart's content.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012



Media Contact:
Cathy Caplener
Be Cause PR

Alpha Software Contact:
Richard Rabins


Developers can now integrate sophisticated charts, graphs, analytics, and dashboards
into data-driven business applications

BURLINGTON, Mass. - July 11, 2012 -  Alpha Software, a leading innovator in development tools and platforms to create data-driven business web applications, today delivered a substantial update to its award-winning Alpha Five v11 development platform.  Developers can now integrate a wide array of sophisticated charts, graphs and analytics into business applications quickly and easily. The comprehensive dashboards that can now easily be built into Alpha Five v11 applications empower managers to summarize critical data trends, improving management decisions and the bottom line.
Alpha Five v11 enables developers to create the many diverse web and mobile business applications that organizations require today, without blowing the budget. Developers can build these applications once and then run them on any PC, tablet or smartphone, which dramatically improves time-to-market and significantly reduces the costs of developing, deploying and maintaining the applications.

“Alpha Software’s top priority is to provide developers with a platform to build robust business applications with the web and mobile functionality that their users demand,” explains Richard Rabins, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Alpha Software.  “Today’s update to Alpha Five v11 significantly increases developer productivity and also helps customers enhance their decision-making ability with charts and graphs, powerful analytics and comprehensive dashboards in their applications.  With our latest update the developer is the champion who helps the company be more competitive and profitable.”

“The latest Alpha Five release contains industry-changing features that will increase developer productivity and creativity,” says Thomas Ritter, IT Director of the Newark Group, a leader in paperboard manufacturing for every industry with dozens of locations throughout the US, Canada, and Western Europe.  “The new Chart Control feature solves a major requirement in building modern applications by enabling the developer to produce graphical dashboards from their data.  The Documentation Viewer built directly into the development tool allows developers to access documentation regardless of whether they are connected to the Internet or not, which is a huge time saver.  And as always, the beauty of Alpha Five is that a novice user can produce applications without any coding, and at the same time a more experienced user can get under the hood to write any custom code they want. At this point in time I see no limit to what can be done with Alpha Five.”

The new Alpha Five Chart Control allows developers to base any of ten types of charts on any of seven types of data series and display the charts in a dialog using customizable 2-D and 3-D styles. The charts, chart styles, and data series can easily be defined using graphical builders, and can be enhanced and animated through interfaces to JavaScript and Xbasic. Multiple charts can be displayed in a single dialog to create dashboards. A series of 20 tutorial videos located at demonstrates how developers can use the charts and data series, and a single web page at demonstrates 100 different sample charts.

In addition to the charting, graphing, analytical and dashboarding capabilities mentioned above, there are other significant enhancements that are included in this major update to Alpha Five v11. For all of the details, go to .

Alpha Software empowers developers to quickly create and modify robust, data-driven business applications that run on any PC, Tablet, or Smartphone quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.  Its flagship and award-winning product, Alpha Five, is a rapid application development platform that enables developers to build and modify any business application once and run it anywhere.   The product increases developer productivity with a shorter learning curve providing companies with a shorter time to market product cycle.   Alpha Five is used by millions of user.  Alpha Software, founded in 1982, is privately held and is based in Burlington, MA.  For more information go to and


Friday, June 22, 2012

Product update: Charts, Local Documentation, y mucho más

Today we released what may have been our biggest product update since the launch of Alpha Five Version 11 last October. It includes many new features with benefits for both Desktop and Web developers.

One of the highlights is a new local Documentation Viewer, which allows fast local access to the documentation even when your computer is not connected to the Internet, and the ability to update the local documentation from the master Wiki when it is connected to the Internet. When using the local viewer, you can filter titles using wildcards, search full text using wildcards, search full text with multiple conditions, and browse the table of contents.

This release includes three new Feature Packs: Proximity Search for the Grid Component, a Map Control for the Dialog Component, and Chart Controls for the Dialog Component.

All three are free to subscribers.
  • Grid Component - Proximity Search The Proximity Search Control allows you to easily add a search field to your Grid to find all records within a specified radius of an address (such as 70 Blanchard Rd, Burlington MA 01803) or a partial address (such as Burlington MA). This feature only works with SQL tables that have a Geography/Geometry field.
  • Dialog Component - Map Control You can now put map controls on a Dialog component. The map control object exposes methods that allows you to easily program against the map object. For example, you can center the map, add markers to the map, read the position of markers, etc. You could easily bring up a map control from the item selected from the results of a proximity search. 

    Currently the map control uses Google Maps. In the future, if there is sufficient demand, we would like to add support for other map vendors, such as Bing.
  • Dialog Component - Chart Control You can now add charts to the Dialog Component. This allows the easy creation of dashboards.

    To see a list of all chart types that are offered, click here.

    The basic principle behind defining a chart is as follows.
    • First define the data series on which the chart is based.
    • A chart can be be based on one or more data series
    • To define data series, select the Properties pane and then click the smart field for the 'Data series' property (see below for more details)
    • Once you have defined your data series, add a Chart control to the Dialog. You can add as many Chart controls to a Dialog as you want. This allows you to create 'dashboard' type applications.
    • To add a Chart control to the Dialog, select the 'Chart' control in the list of available 'Dialog Controls'.
    • After you have added the Chart control to the Dialog, click the 'Chart definition' smart field to define the properties of the chart.
This release includes 6 exciting new Subscriber Benefits -- time-saving features that are only available to subscribers. These are

  • Automatically geocode addresses in the data at the same time the record is saved into a SQL database
  • Compute a Geography Field from Latitude/Longitude Values
  • Define an action to display a message that automatically fades out of view over a certain interval. Fade-out messages are ideal for providing feedback to a user to indicate, for example, that some action has been completed.
  • Display a fade-out confirmation message to the user if the data was successfully saved when the user clicks the Submit button in a Dialog
  • Advanced Message Box: When you create an action to display a message box, instead of using the built-in Javascript alert() and confirm() functions, which are very primitive, and do not allow custom styling, you can now choose an advanced option which allows you to create a styled message box that uses the A5.messageBox() function in the Alpha Five Javascript library. Also, when you use the advanced option, you can define custom buttons to appear on the dialog, so you are not limited to OK, Cancel, Yes and No.
  • Defining Javascript using Javascript Actions instead of Writing Javascript Functions - When you define a Javascript function you need to write the Javascript code by  hand. In the Dialog Properties pane, a new property 'Javascript Actions' has been added. This allows you to define Javascript using genies.  Defining Javascript Actions is similar to defining Javascript Functions for your Dialog, except that you use the Action Javascript Builders to write the Javascript code rather than hand-coding it. The Actions that you define here can be called by various event handlers in your Dialog.

Last, but not least, this release includes many Bug Fixes. Despite our push to add new features, bugs that you report and we can reproduce are never neglected, always documented transparently, and often fixed within a day of the report. 

Full details about this update are in the release notes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Add Dashboards and Analytics to your Alpha Five v11 Applications

Since the release of Alpha Five v11 we have had the ability to add charts to applications. With the next update of Alpha Five v11 charting has now been woven tightly into the development tool as a control type in the dialog builder.

The great thing about charting, dashboarding and analytics is that they are visual, so it 
makes sense to show you what is now possible to achieve rapidly with Alpha Five v11 web and mobile web applications rather than describe it.
For more information please click here.
To see a full list of chart types check out this link please.

Just two of the multiple chart types made possible by the new Charting feature pack for Alpha Five V11
I would also encourage you to spend some time going through the comprehensive set of videos for this feature packI think you will find that the feature list is very rich and comprehensive and adds significantly to the power of Alpha Five v11.

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