View Full Version : Somewhat confused about the product offerings


11-18-2014, 10:11 PM
Hello Everyone,

Apologies in advance if the post seems dumb (and long), but I admit to a high degree of confusion, so I beg forgiveness.

I first glanced Alpha Five some years ago as alternative to MS Access. Like a lot of Access Desktop pros, I was a tad fed up with the direction MS was going, along with their willful ignoring of the developer community. I see Aaron B Brown as an employee, and I remember & respect him from my days on the access forum back when we had usenet.

Although I've been getting email updates about Alpha for years, I last visited the Alpha Five website about about two years ago. My confusion then is echoed now.

As a desktop developer, I need to know about the runtime license, and security, of a desktop program/software Application (but not 'app' in its newly accepted definition).

However, all I see on the Alpha Five website is "Internal Use", or "Application Server", or "Mobile Apps".

I have no interest in any of these. I am looking for a development platform for Stand Alone installs to (unfortunately) MS-Windows.

When I first looked at Alpha Five, the runtime license appeared a bit convoluted and expensive, especially compared to the MS runtime for Access.

But now, there is not even a mention of a distributable runtime license.

Am I missing something?

If I want to develop and distribute, stand-alone installs of either a database driven, or code driven application (not app), that installs to Windows O/S, what do I need?
And, where do I find that information on Alpha's web site?

I would greatly appreciate any response, because right now, according to the official website, Alpha Five is only good for Enterprise, Application Servers, or iPads.

Many Thanks,


11-19-2014, 12:40 AM
I develop for the web and there are MANY other folks here who do exactly what you are asking about. I just wanted to add in my 5 cents, and again It isn't really relevant to the desktop side but what I have found is that dollar to dollar, if you look at what other offerings are out there and consider the fact that this is built to produce an end product others are willing to pay for - I think you will find the costs very reasonable and acceptable.

I would suggest, to you to start small. That's what I did. Once I realized the full capabilities, i committed. From my experience here in the forums I can say that even the guys who have the older versions are still at it even if they do not agree with price structures or the short comings of an older unsupported product. I also think it is because in the end Alpha is way ahead of the competition. Offering more than anyone else out there.

In short my advice is to call an alpha software employee - chat with them. You may find that your concerns are answered. Also I would advise you to talk to some of the other guys in here that develop and POST alot in the desktop forums, they can probably give you some great advice on versions, short comings and work a rounds that made things easier on them.

I want to add as well that I have seen several people developing for the desktop being able to quickly build for the web because they are working in essentially the same software - name a product capable of that...as far as I know Alpha is it.
Good Luck!

11-19-2014, 03:19 AM
Gary, although it's hard to tell from the website, maybe impossible, in my experience the runtime is bundled with the app server, so if you use one of the many Alpha offers you can get everything you need to develop and distribute desktop applications for $999.

There's another recent thread in the forum which discusses the terms of the runtime license, which I believe concludes that you only need a single license if you're building generic applications for general sale. If you're building custom apps for a client (or internal use?) you need a separate license for each app.

As Charles says, talk to Alpha and they'll let you know exactly what is currently available.

Tom Cone Jr
11-19-2014, 06:50 AM
Gary, contact sales at Alpha by phone. I think a desktop / runtime bundle is available separately.

11-19-2014, 12:23 PM

Tom Gave the best advice here. I only do desktop and also distribute with the runtime. Many more do the same here.

The great thing is that the runtime is bought 1 time and can be used over and over with no additional costs to you. You can throttle the runtime to a specific number of users and charge the client based on concurrent users, but pay no more yourself.

11-19-2014, 02:32 PM
I see Aaron B Brown as an employee, and I remember & respect him from my days on the access forum back when we had usenet.

Aaron left the Alpha world a long long time ago. But, yes, he was a great guy to have around.

What they said. See if you can buy a non-web desktop-only Alpha w. RT. You could also buy v11 which I believe is somewhere on the website. Basically v12 has no new desktop features, so v11 might be a better purchase. Of course, having said that, watch them throw some new desktop features into v12. OTOH, we've been waiting for that for a long time.

11-19-2014, 02:40 PM
While there are no new features as Peter said, there have been a lot of minor issues taken care of. If the extra for v12 is a little more, I suggest it. Having built larger apps in both, I prefer v12.

You asked about security on the desktop? I can tear apart a .mdb file quicker than I could a dbf file if properly secured. Alpha has it's own security that you can use, then it can be enhanced way beyond that with fairly simple methods. Also, with mdb, all the tables are contained and with dbf, they are separate files. You can build much larger apps like this. The desktop can work with sql if wanted, but it does run slower. All this is pretty much covered in this forum.

11-19-2014, 03:08 PM
V11 would be a false economy as although Alpha still seem happy to sell it, they won't fix any bugs, or if they do it would be on an individual basis.

11-19-2014, 10:18 PM
Hello Everyone,

Apologies for the delay. I've been trying to resolve Win 8 Update Corruption issues all day.

Thank you all very much for the responses. It has been most useful, and I will contact Alpha tomorrow.

For DaveM, yes Sir, I fully agree that Access mdb security is weak if not implemented properly, but we ship only mde files for the dbs, and the mdw (security) file has been stripped of the Admin account. Consequently, one can not use programs like Access Key to reveal the Admin Account.

As i mentioned in my OP, security is a big concern, and while I don't want to get off topic here, it's interesting to know that a dialog potentially exists regarding security.

Once again, my thanks to everyone for the feedback. It is truly appreciated.

Regards to all,


11-20-2014, 07:59 PM
Hi Gary,

I've used nearly every A5 appp for the last 25 years. I had a subscription running when v12 (The first Alpha Anywhere) was released. However, it ran out before AA 2.o was released and did not see any need to upgrade. Yes, "upgrade". I use that word even though I do only desktop. So why an upgrade? Well, along with v11 developer, you also get all the web (grids & UX components) features which were released at that time. Many of which, can be used on the desk top and come in mighty handy, to say the least. Recently, in response to an email I received from Alpha, I purchased another subscription, negotiating it to 15 months instead of 12. I received the Alpha Anywhere 3.0 Developer and Runtime. (I did not purchase the Application server as I had no need for it.) The reason I purchased another subscription was to get the updated grid and UX features, which are might, mighty awesome. There is so much more one can do using them and the search and query methods are much more than on the desktop. I can't imagine using the desktop without including the grids. IF, at some time down the road, you want to create a web app, any of the grids you used in the desktop can be used on your web app. Heck, your app will be mostly done for the web anyhow.

Stay away from Alpha's email offers, they are confusing, not even the sales staff at Alpha understands them. Call Alpha and simply negotiate the best price you can for Alpha Anywhere 3.0 and Runtime. The sales gimmicks are just that, gimmicks which change ever 2-3 weeks. Keep the process simple. I have't used Access in the last 18-20 years but I dare say, once you get into Alpha, you'll wonder where the Access went.

Hopefully, this is of some help.