Alpha Anywhere is a complete and rapid environment for developing business/enterprise mobile and web apps!
I love the flexibility: Alpha allows for almost any SQL-Based back-end database tables/views (SQL Server, MySQl, MS Access, Oracle, etc). That made my transition from Access much faster. Also, it's great that single platform can be used to deploy applications in the web or in a client/server desktop environment. OR, you can develop applications specifically for a mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
I wish there were better documentation. The Message Board forum is GREAT and their newly designed documentation website is an improvement... BUT, I'd love it if they had an experts "hotline" where I could get expert guidance, when I get stuck.
First, a confession: I'm a former MS Access developer (please don't judge me!). I converted to Access from DOS-based dBase IV.
I discovered Alpha 5, several years ago, from an e-mail ad (that's what it used to be called... it became "Alpha Anywhere" a couple of years ago in order to highlight its ability to develop on multiple platforms). The offered a free trial, so I decided to give it a try. Well, after 2 weeks, I was hooked.
The applications I develop now dwarf those I'd developed previously. I'm doing things that would never be possible in Access... and giving my customers "cloud" access to their apps. If you're a serious business application developer, you should certainly give it a try!
Here are some things you should know (the good and the not-so-good): As an Access developer, I loved that could use the back-end tables and queries in Alpha. That made the transition much faster. Now, most of my new applications, use SQL Server (added security, reliability...
I'm a commercial developer and I develop applications for business customers. My customers love the end products. The are fast, attractive, reliable and functional. They don't know who "Alpha" is... they just know that they like what they're using.
I've used many development platforms and the Alpha Platform is one of my favorites. The product is affordable, flexible, and extremely powerful. The company stands behind their product and the service and support is exceptional. I would not hesitate to recommend this product to anyone looking to develop Web Applications and Mobile Applications.
I wish I was stronger in node.js as I would use this as an alternative server side language over the XBasic. XBasic is by no means difficult to learn, but coming from a .Net world I miss some of the strongly typed features of .Net
Talk to the folks at Alpha. They are very knowledgeable, friendly, and honest. They provided me with two demos and answered any questions I had about the product along the way. Their pricing is clearly published on the website and I found that to be a plus. If you need a 45 minute call to determine price based on any number of factors that most likely you were more than my budget allowed to begin with.
We are developing web applications and mobile applications. Both public and internal. The speed at which applications can be built along with the flexibility of the data sources allows you to accomplish any business task.
Documentation has been an issue in the past, but has been addressed with a new online Documentation Server. Alpha is very attentive to Documentation requests where end user developers will suggest enhancements for the documentation and it's now there within days. Some features, like the FormView Control, seem very complex and maintaining a working knowledge over time is tough.
Follow the many, many excellent Tutorials.
Utilize the pre-designed Template Components to learn basic concepts.
Read the Release Notes, and Pre-Release Notes every day. Watch the excellent videos accompanying almost each new feature release.
I'm an independent developer working with database environments from mainframes to PCs for over 40 years. Alpha Anywhere allows me to assist companies and other developers worldwide with web development, hybrid web/mobile and mobile development for projects ranging from farm safety in Australia, mobile site security involving NFC tags in Australia, mobile service forms in Canada, PTO/PTA Management Systems in the US and many others. I get to help lend a hand to those building businesses. Alpha Anywhere allows me to have any number of different released versions installed which is immensely important since many of the projects I work on stay with different specific versions for long periods of time.
I have been developing with Alpha for more than three years and quite honestly the thing I like best is the product has been continually evolving and expanding in its feature set. My original plan with Alpha was to create a web based facility management system to manage our expansion of 30 houses to a planned 100 houses over a 5 year period. Alpha was more than capable of being the development platform for this project, but all of a sudden new releases started coming at me so fast it was like catching the perfect wave. I quickly expanded the vision of my project from a web based application to a multi-platform mobile app. From a developer's perspective the most significant features are behind the scenes. The heavy lifting of enterprise security, database transparency, cross platform development and complex interactions are all included in the development environment. This has allowed me to concentrate on application requirements. If I need to get into the code, I can do that....
I am old-school when it comes to manuals. I am used to seeing big, detailed, indexed user manuals. Alpha does a great job of producing videos on features included in the application, these videos are indexed within the development environment so getting to the appropriate video is easy enough, I would just love to be able to keyword search to the text of a solution that I need.
I recommend quick start demonstration projects that are available from Alpha and from consultants. Also, Alpha just released complete pre-built sample application solutions.
Get appropriate training from Alpha and/or firms such as Twin Peaks.Research.
My business problem revolves around a limited development staff and an unsophisticated user base. In addition, the user base is rapidly becoming mobile based. This limited what off the shelf software was available and required any application development be easily maintained and enhanced by the limited resources. With the increasingly rich development environment made available by Alpha, I was able to use the “low code” features of Alpha to produce a maintainable product.
This has allowed me to concentrate on satisfying requirements without concern about the need to encumber highly technical resources to keep the system running.
Alpha Anywhere is one of the most complete software packages (for it's intended purpose) that I have ever used. It has many wizards which either help reduce or eliminate the need for coding. Conversely, for those who are knowledgeable coders, it also accommodates custom programming so you can really accomplish just about anything you need for a web app.
Alpha Software is also a great company to work with. They're very responsive to questions/issues as they arise and are constantly adding new features and integrations with other tools.
The documentation needs improvement, but they are actively working on it. However, there also is a very active users forum with a lot of helpful folks on it.
Dig deep! The more we work with Alpha Anywhere the more we're surprised (and delighted) by all the features/flexibility/options it has. As I noted earlier, you can do a lot either with the pre-programmed features or do custom coding. Because of this, it allowed us to get our app launched quickly but then we were able to add more enhanced/advanced features as our web programming skills improved.
We developed a SaaS app using AA which helps parent teacher associations manage their membership and provide their family directories. We took an app we had built in MS Access (single user) and redesigned it for the web (as a SaaS app) using AA.
Alpha Anywhere allowed us to get the app live within 6 months for what otherwise would have been a 12-18 month project.
Alpha software supports the users more than any company I have seen.
Not much to dislike. When I think about the only item that comes to mind is a lunch they served at Devcon.
Best software ever!!
I have created many custom apps for my company at a record time. This is true RAD development.
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