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whiteside
03-22-2008, 10:07 PM
I know that there has been a lot of discussion about the new runtime pricing issue. And although I have a number of concerns about that issue, I would like to raise an issue that also affects the developers who believe that they can afford the new pricing structure.

NB: I only develop for larger organizations that could afford the new runtime fees.

However, I also do a risk analysis of all my development choices and tools, and with the new scheme, I have come across one risk that is making me decide to use alternative products to AlphaSoftware for future projects.


Scenario

Let's say I spend a whole lot of time (years) developing an application that is intended to be distributed to a number of organizations.

I buy a 20 seat licences for each of these organizations as they purchase the product.

I start to sell this software product and things start to go well for me and more and more organizations want to buy and use this application.

AND THEN, For some reason AlphaSoftware ceases to exist.

This would mean that I could no longer buy / register any new Runtime licences.

Therefore, I now have a product/application that I can no longer sell to any new organization. ie. I have just wasted all that time, effort, marketing and good-will that I have spent years building up.

Whereas, with v8, I can keep using the same 20 user Runtime that I bought for this application and keep distributing it to my new users.

end Scenario

It is for this reason that I will stay with V8 until I decide which other development platform to use.


MS Access is looking like a promising candidate now that it does not charge for runtimes anymore.




BTW: I only use Alpha for my desktop development. As for web development, I already use more efficient and open standards web development tools for this purpose, so WAS is not an option, and besides, I have to Purchase a new WAS for each client as well, so if AlphaSoftware ceases to trade then I am in the same boat again.

Richard Rabins
03-22-2008, 10:45 PM
With all respect

I don't think there is a whole lot of validity to this argument.

1. Alpha Software has been in business for 25 years and is doing fine.

2. The Alpha ceases to exist scenario should not be concern. Yes, Alpha the company could cease to exist (in a sale or other scenario) - BUT Alpha Five the product is real and will continue to exist and licenses will continue to be available!

3. Frankly, there is more evidence of very large companies "killing" off products because they have lots of products and because of internal political reasons or products not meeting some arbitrary financial objectives - than there is risk surrounding Alpha Five, where it is all that we do and where we focus on it with dedication and laser beam passion.

For example:

Microsoft Sentences FoxPro to Death Apr 10, 2007, http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2007041002026OSMSDV

With respect to Microsoft Access there is considerable evidence that the level of innovation in that product has been minimal in recent years especially compared to Alpha Five. (The reason for this is pretty straightforward. Microsoft is trying to shift everyone over to the much more expensive/complex (and profitable to them)Visual Studio.NET framework.)

In addition, our records show that a significant percentage of people switching over to Alpha Five in the last year have been coming from Microsoft tools like Ms Access and Visual Studio. If you like I can share some internal research that we conducted recently on this topic

Sincerely
Richard

whiteside
03-22-2008, 11:13 PM
Thanks for the reply.

I was not inferring that AlphaSoftware was actually going to cease to exist, just that under risk management scenaros we have to concider what we do if such an event occurs.

My Clients / Partners are very astute IT organisations and thay ask me to come up with answers to these types of risk senarios all the time.

In their opinion (and mine) this is a risk scenario that is a possibility. Over the last 25 years I have seen any number of software/IT companies that have been bought out by larger rivals just to have their product made non existent.

This is no problem for any product in which there is NO runtime licenceing fees, for example Visual Foxpro V9 (which I also use) because we can keep on developing and distributing the product with no restriction.

The use of any runtimes by AlphaSoftware has always been a risk issue with the organisations that I deal with, however under the V7/V8 system it was an easily manageable risk. Under V9 the risk just became unacceptable.

Like I said I will continue to use V8 because of its less risky runtime business model, but any new projects will not be developed in V9 under it's new, more restrictive model.

Thanks again for reply.

Richard Rabins
03-22-2008, 11:30 PM
Thanks for the reply

Let me ask you this question.

under the current runtime model for v8 we state

(reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")

"If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime."

Unfortunately - we have seen a lot of folks ignoring this and saying to customers - " all you have to do is pay me the developer/consultant for my efforts and i will just use my runtime - so you, the customer has to pay nothing for the Alpha Five product"


So the question is - without a system of license numbers - how can Alpha get paid for our efforts in creating Alpha Five?

Best Regards

Allen Klimeck
03-23-2008, 01:10 AM
Richard,
The line above the line you quote says:
"If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network."

So now I guess that we have to define just what is a "standalone application" and "custom application" is there some place on your web site that defines these two terms? I consider all of my applications as standalone applications but they are also custom applications. so which line of the license agrement applies? As the standalone application line is first I think that it should have more weight than the custom application line. But since the two lines seem to contradict each other how would a developer know which line to apply. Also it has been the belief of most of the developers that the standalone application line was the de facto license. See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?t=68432&highlight=license+runtime

Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira. There have been other similar post none of them had any comment from Alpha Software. If you didn't correct these post than what are the developers to think is correct? Since version 5 I have believed that what Ira posted was the runtime license and I don't think that I am alone. In any case it is ambiguous at best. Now with version 9 that has changed.

Allen J Klimeck

Mike Wilson
03-23-2008, 01:31 AM
Allen,
Well written! I have been carefully following these threads regarding the destiny of Alpha software because I develop for non-for-profit church based organizations where the number of "seats" would be low, yet the price structure for this "client-base" is extremely critical. I am sure I am one that gone-by-the-wayside would be nothing more than a 'gnat on the windshield', yet I tend to think there are alot of A5 gnats out there.

Richard Rabins
03-23-2008, 01:33 AM
Allen,
Well written! I have been carefully following these threads regarding the destiny of Alpha software because I develop for non-for-profit church based organizations where the number of "seats" would be low, yet the price structure for this "client-base" is extremely critical. I am sure I am one that gone-by-the-wayside would be nothing more than a 'gnat on the windshield', yet I tend to think there are alot of A5 gnats out there.

Mike for ages we have made accomodations for non profits and will continue to do so:)

Richard Rabins
03-23-2008, 01:45 AM
Richard,
The line above the line you quote says:
"If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network."

So now I guess that we have to define just what is a "standalone application" and "custom application" is there some place on your web site that defines these two terms? I consider all of my applications as standalone applications but they are also custom applications. so which line of the license agrement applies? As the standalone application line is first I think that it should have more weight than the custom application line. But since the two lines seem to contradict each other how would a developer know which line to apply. Also it has been the belief of most of the developers that the standalone application line was the de facto license. See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?t=68432&highlight=license+runtime

Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira. There have been other similar post none of them had any comment from Alpha Software. If you didn't correct these post than what are the developers to think is correct? Since version 5 I have believed that what Ira posted was the runtime license and I don't think that I am alone. In any case it is ambiguous at best. Now with version 9 that has changed.

Allen J Klimeck

Allen thanks very much for the question regarding version 8 and prior runtimes.

Going back a while there may have been ambiguity on this topic. It is for this reason we put this explanation on the order page for version 8 runtimes when it was first introduced

(reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")

The idea behind this was there were two distinct categories of developers.

A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime

B) Developers who develop a canned/pre-packaged solution that they plan on selling to a bunch of clients. In this case you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers

Thanks

DaveM
03-23-2008, 01:53 AM
for clarification:

Help Me Choose — Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

If you plan on having your users take advantage of any of the Enterprise features, then you will need the Enterprise Runtime (described below).
Runtime packages above 20-Users are ONLY available for the Enterprise Edition.
The Desktop Edition cannot be used to develop runtime applications.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

Alpha Five Version 8 runtime enables you to distribute your application to customers without the need for your customers to have Alpha Five. The runtime is also used to have multiple users access your application across a LAN within your organization.
In order to deploy or distribute your applications using the runtime, you need either the Professional Edition or the Enterprise Edition of Alpha Five Version 8.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime Licensing

The Alpha Five Version 8 runtimes allow for unlimited distribution per application or an unlimited number of installs per site. This means that you can install a 10-User runtime onto an unlimited number of computers at a specific site, but no more than 10-concurrent users may access the same application on a single network. If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network. If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime PLUS

Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters.
Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime

For your runtime applications to take advantage of features such as Enterprise reporting, Passive Linked Tables, the SQL Genie and other features regarding SQL and remote databases (only available in the Enterprise Edition), you need the Enterprise version of runtime.
Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime PLUS

Enterprise Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters against Alpha Five's native .dbf tables.
========================================================
I bolded the part referenced. This is non-enforcible in most any court and all I have ever been in. In some of the positions of employment I was in court a lot. It was most always contract law problems. Leave room for the one judge somehwere who thinks different though. You could lose.
Who is to say that you will not make it a distrbutable app and this was your beta? It also looks like something added as an afterthought.

Richard Rabins
03-23-2008, 02:06 AM
for clarification:

Help Me Choose — Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

If you plan on having your users take advantage of any of the Enterprise features, then you will need the Enterprise Runtime (described below).
Runtime packages above 20-Users are ONLY available for the Enterprise Edition.
The Desktop Edition cannot be used to develop runtime applications.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

Alpha Five Version 8 runtime enables you to distribute your application to customers without the need for your customers to have Alpha Five. The runtime is also used to have multiple users access your application across a LAN within your organization.
In order to deploy or distribute your applications using the runtime, you need either the Professional Edition or the Enterprise Edition of Alpha Five Version 8.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime Licensing

The Alpha Five Version 8 runtimes allow for unlimited distribution per application or an unlimited number of installs per site. This means that you can install a 10-User runtime onto an unlimited number of computers at a specific site, but no more than 10-concurrent users may access the same application on a single network. If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network. If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime.
Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime PLUS

Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters.
Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime

For your runtime applications to take advantage of features such as Enterprise reporting, Passive Linked Tables, the SQL Genie and other features regarding SQL and remote databases (only available in the Enterprise Edition), you need the Enterprise version of runtime.
Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime PLUS

Enterprise Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters against Alpha Five's native .dbf tables.
========================================================
I bolded the part referenced. This is non-enforcible in most any court and all I have ever been in. In some of the positions of employment I was in court a lot. It was most always contract law problems. Leave room for the one judge somehwere who thinks different though. You could lose.
Who is to say that you will not make it a distrbutable app and this was your beta? It also looks like something added as an afterthought.


Dave - in all our 25 years in selling database software to developers we have never taken anyone to court and we dont expect or plan to change our mode of operation. That is simply NOT the way we do business!

The overwhelming majority of our users are incredibly smart, honest, creative and hard working developers, who will respect a license agreement once it is clear to them. That was the only point - I was making. Nothing more.

MikeC
03-23-2008, 02:07 AM
Richard,

A "bit" more clear but

A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime
is still somewhat ambiguous!

"should" by definition only suggests or implies that the client would have to have ownership through purchase but that it is not mandatory. How are we to determine the actual meaning of such a statement!? If ever there is confusion people will always lean toward the easiest to understand premise--which are the lines which come prior to these.

"...their own runtime..." means only that they are to have a runtime of their own and not necessarily had to purchase same.

ALL that needs to be done to make this much less ambiguous is to say that ---the client (or developer) would have to purchase a runtime for this specific application (custom solution).

Couldn't be much easier than that I think?

Richard Rabins
03-23-2008, 02:11 AM
good clarification

one further - hopefully final comment.

Once the client owns their own runtime. The developer can build multiple applications for that client to run

thanks

DaveM
03-23-2008, 02:14 AM
The idea behind this was there were two distinct categories of developers.

A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime

B) Developers who develop a canned/pre-packaged solution that they plan on selling to a bunch of clients. In this case you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers



Why? the custom app will probably make less money in the long run. If a company is hiring me to do a job, they should supply all software. If I am selling a finished product, I should supply all software.

Think of a mechanic in a shop. Did you know he supplies all his own tools and the shop only supplies the really big stuff? Did you know that mechanic has to invest about 300 hours of school and on the job to be certified to change tires? Programmers follow similar patterns. Think about it.

csda1
03-23-2008, 02:22 AM
Hi Allen,



See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?t=68432&highlight=license+runtime

Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira.

Since you referenced a thread I responded to, note that I said that the runtime could be distributed with multiple applications, but never discussed the licensing issues. And I said things were always subject to change.

I've said in the past that each of my clients own their own runtimes for their usage, and I'd have my own as needed for my usage.

As for the new licensing, I do believe the issue of seats vs users needs to be resolved, and the issues of coming up with a viable method for distributing demos (including multi-user demo versions) in an appropriate way.

Other than that, I believe you have to weight the cost/benefit of using the A5 environment and decide for yourself. I'm sure the Alpha Team is hard at work trying to find the right solutions to fit everyone's needs, but I say you need to wait at least of week so they can study options and solutions. Dropping Alpha without giving them a chance is just shooting yourself in the foot!

NoeticCC
03-23-2008, 08:21 AM
under the current runtime model for v8 we state

(reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")

"If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime."

Unfortunately - we have seen a lot of folks ignoring this and saying to customers - " all you have to do is pay me the developer/consultant for my efforts and i will just use my runtime - so you, the customer has to pay nothing for the Alpha Five product"


So the question is - without a system of license numbers - how can Alpha get paid for our efforts in creating Alpha Five?

Admittedly this could and should be stated more clearly in the documentation etc. as you are well aware of the existing confusion - however I do think you have hit the nail on the head there Richard. I for one understand that the new licensing is at least in part a way to ensure you guys don't get cheated out of money (either accidentally or deliberately), and therefore actually contributes to ensuring that the company continues to thrive and is not at risk etc.

I can however see the original poster's worries too, especially when you look at other platforms that just don't require RTs at all. I have said elsewhere that the ability to generate single user, limited functionality exes built into A5 would be nice, and while that would not be useful for the situations outlined here it might give Alpha an added edge.

NoeticCC
03-23-2008, 08:30 AM
Why? the custom app will probably make less money in the long run. If a company is hiring me to do a job, they should supply all software. If I am selling a finished product, I should supply all software.

Isn't that what Richard said, e.g. With custom apps, the customer pays for a RT themselves, if you sell your own app, you can use your own over and over again.

Alan Lee
03-23-2008, 09:49 AM
When I upgraded to V8 I never looked at the page defining runtimes, I had spent my time on the what's new page. Why? A Alpha telemarketing rep called me. Gave me a 30 second sales pitch, I already knew I was going to upgrade because I had already bought every version since 4.5. They gave me the upgrade price for V8 with the 10 user RT and I gave them my credit card. They did not define the "new" RT and I did not ask. I did not know to ask. I had already read the section pertaining to runtime licenses in the help file, which is still there and is still worded the very same way it was ever how many years ago that I bought my first runtime.

I was happy when I bought V8! I was initial discouraged about V9 RT, but am hoping(even praying) something can be worked out so that I can keep up my tradition of staying on the current version with a 10 user RT.

While initially I, like a lot of other people, was angry and emotional over the change, I have calmed down and I really want this to work out for Alpha and for us. The fact that Richard has been monitoring the forum and replying at all hours is a testimony to his commitment and interest in what we have to say!

A worker is truly entitled to his wages. They are entitled to make a profit, to stay in business, to write V10, V11, V... I look forward to each of these.

My problem with the pricing is that I am a hobbyist who, when he grows up, would like to be a programmer/developer. It is kind of an expensive hobby, but one that I enjoy. Most of the programs I have written, which aren't many, were given away. From a monetary since, it would be difficult if not impossible for me to do what I have done on past versions.

Happy Easter to all on the Board and all at Alpha Software!

NoeticCC
03-23-2008, 10:35 AM
When I upgraded to V8 I never looked at the page defining runtimes, I had spent my time on the what's new page...
They did not define the "new" RT and I did not ask. I did not know to ask. I had already read the section pertaining to runtime licenses in the help file, which is still there and is still worded the very same way it was ever how many years ago that I bought my first runtime.

Yes the license agreement, help file etc. Haven't been worded to make this clear, so while*I have always been aware of this condition since before purchasing our first copy of A5 last November, I really can't blame anyone for overlooking this tiny disclaimer, especially when they just ugraded instead of being first time buyers.


The fact that Richard has been monitoring the forum and replying at all hours is a testimony to his commitment and interest in what we have to say!

Indeed - and my boss thinks I am mad for expressing my disappointment at not getting her to buy me V9 WAS already so I can set it up over Easter! (Still not forgiven her for the typical delay, no atter how far in advance I put in a request, our company never acts without a lengthy back and forth and weeks of lack of response.


Most of the programs I have written, which aren't many, were given away. From a monetary since, it would be difficult if not impossible for me to do what I have done on past versions.



Happy Easter to all on the Board and all at Alpha Software!
Likewise, I hope others were blessed with nicer weather than the snow sludge we got here!

DaveM
03-23-2008, 11:37 AM
I can agree to the custom app only in this manner: company/enduser pays for developer's time only. The company should have their own runtime, computers, and everything else necessary including the developement software. Granted most developers will do their work in their own office so the developement software for the company may not be needed.

If a developer contracts a set price to make a program/app for a company/user, he should supply everything necessary to make that project work including his PAID FOR runtime. Very few apps made like this are not sold to more than one company, taking it out of the custom area.

Question. If I take my app that I sell to several people and make a deal with a new client to change the input form to comply with what they do, is it then a custom app? I customized it whether charged or not. If not, where does the line stop between? If it is a custom app, I broke a rule.

Real deal. You can not change the rules from version to version and
expect to keep your base... My question now is: If things were to go back to V7 for runtime, how long before it is changed or attempted to change. I did not see that last line in the runtime when I purchased V8. Luckily, I never got the runtime. That was something I intended to do this month along with the was except v9 came out.

gregz
03-23-2008, 11:44 AM
Easy fix.
Go back to the V7/V8 runtime licenses method with V9 and start charging an annual maintenance fee to the developers. This way, if alpha software is gone, we can still distribute the runtime.
I think the OEM product with no SQL capabilities will restrict me in the future with regard to MySQL and SQL Express.
I would rather pay a maintenance fee than a fee for each runtime. As for now I will stay on V8 for my own business but move to V9 for my corporate users.
Greg

Richard Rabins
03-23-2008, 12:17 PM
The value of this message board and customer feedback

Firstly Best Wishes for Easter to all of the Alpha Community reading this board!

Secondly I want to thank all of you who have posted for giving us at Alpha Software the opportunity to get instant feedback on the new licensing plans. (As an aside - think about earlier times - when the feedback mechanism for companies was either non-existent or so slow to render it effectively useles. In that sense, all of us in the Alpha community are incredibly fortunate to live in this "always-on interconnected" age!)

There have been many very worthwhile and informative viewpoints, perspectives and suggestions raised.

I would like to assure everyone - that we take this feedback very seriously and also view it as a big positive. i.e. People are clearly incredibly pasionate about Alpha Five and want Alpha to have licensing/pricing policies that continue to make it attractive to build their products and businesses around.

Give us a few days to go through all this feedback and respond in a way that I am confident will make the vast majority of our developer base feel very much at ease and also will also allow you to focus on the wonderful capabilities (yes I am biased - but this is truly an astounding product) that Alpha Five v9 PLATINUM brings to you, your market place, your businesses and your business plans!



Thanks very much for hearing me out.
Best Regards - Richard

-- On this topic - I would like to take note of the comment below from Dr David Volgas - a long time Alpha user who posted on one of these threads as follows

it looks like a very busy week for you guys at Alpha . At least you guys are willing to listen. It's like having the ear of the small-town mayor versus trying to talk to the federal government. It's why we are so much more comfortable with Alpha through the years.

Keep it up, but don't go crazy!
Dave
__________________
David A. Volgas, MD
__________________

popellis
03-23-2008, 12:26 PM
I am going to chime in here even though I am a newbie. I always thought Alpha 5 and other development software was a tool. The Developer then uses this tool to create a usable device that he was paid to build. If all things were created like this proposed license fee, in everything we used we would then pay GM,Ford,Chrysler per use evertime we used our car. The mechanic that fixes the car would then pay Craftsman, Proto, or whatever tool company they buy there tools from for each use on each car they repair.
This is just my impression.
If Alpha 5 is not a tool then there would be no need for developers to design and build an application for someone.

I Understood years ago that alpha 5, was designed for nonprogramers designed for people and small companies that could not afford to hire a developer to build an application for them.

I miss the days when your average Joe would build a small application that served a purpose, and alot of times they gave it away for free. Those people also used some developement software to create these little programs. Sometimes larger programs were made from a collection of these smaller programs.
Would Alpha 5 be what it is today if it wasn't for the applications that these developers made, showcasing the power and possibilities of Alpha 5?

MikeC
03-23-2008, 12:32 PM
:)

Here is something to add even MORE confusion to this issue--actually just makes the ambiguous nature even more extreme!!

I have a copy of the runtime documentation that was included in a download dated as originating on 1/27/08. It is Exactly the same as it was for version 5--word for word.

it states:

Distributing Runtime Applications Licensing
Issues
You can distribute as many copies of the Alpha Five Runtime as you wish. The number of users who can use your
application concurrently on any network is based on the type of Runtime that you purchased. The people to whom
you distribute the Alpha Five Runtime may not, in turn, distribute any copies of the Alpha Five
Runtime.
For example, if you purchased an "Unlimited 10User
Runtime", then a maximum of 10 users can use your
application concurrently on any particular network.
If you purchased an Unlimited User Runtime, then there are no limitations on the number of concurrent users of your
application.

Nothing is said regarding custom applications at all!!

Guess Alpha really needs to hire a documentation person REALLY soon to try to alleviate such discrepancies in the future.

NoeticCC
03-23-2008, 12:34 PM
:)
Nothing is said regarding custom applications at all!!

Guess Alpha really needs to hire a documentation person REALLY soon to try to alleviate such discrepancies in the future.

And the unlimited RTs haven't been around for a while so yes I agree there needs to be someone to update the documentation faster than is currently the case, otherwise it just generates more work for the developers and sales folk!

tcausey
03-23-2008, 02:57 PM
And this is from AlphaFive's website on 01/14/2007 regarding version 7.


Runtime Products
Alpha Runtime products are ideal for developers who want to sell their applications. They prevent your application from being modified (and damaged) by your end users. And they let you distribute your application(s) without paying additional license fees to Alpha Software.

With a runtime application, your users don't need to have Alpha Five installed.

Alpha sells two variations called Runtime and Runtime +. Runtime + allows your customers to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters. Besides that, the two variations are the same.

Once you decide on Runtime or Runtime +, there are several runtime packages available.

3-user
10-user
20-user

The numbers 3, 10 and 20 refer to the number of people on the SAME NETWORK who can connect to a database at the SAME TIME.

For example, let's say you developed a package for insurance agencies. And you want to sell your application to multiple agencies. Further suppose that EACH agency would have no more than 10 people who need to use the system. You would buy a 10-user license.

No matter, which package you buy, you can make and distribute as many copies of your application as you want.

It seems that either Alpha Five wants to sell one way and license another OR the rules have changed. Regardless, this makes me even more certain that I will look elsewhere for development tools.

There are just too many other options that are better known, more respected, less risky, and have a lower total cost of ownership. Would I prefer to continue working with Alpha Five? Absolutely. But given what I now know about v8's runtime licensing, I will be moving away from v8 and will definitely not be signing up for v9.

Tom

MikeC
03-23-2008, 04:18 PM
Tom,

As others have stated, why not wait to see exactly how the runtimes are to be before changing "horses in midstream" as is said?

In fact regarding the version 8 runtime...even though it is stated at the top of the pdf I received with a download of version 8 dated 1/27/08 that it could change without notice at any time (how often have we heard that!?).

It states this in my copy of the runtime documentation I had when I purchased the runtime---and no update of this has ever been sent to me regarding a change which I guess I falsely assumed would be if it was changed.


Distributing Runtime Applications Licensing
Issues
You can distribute as many copies of the Alpha Five Runtime as you wish. The number of users who can use your
application concurrently on any network is based on the type of Runtime that you purchased. The people to whom
you distribute the Alpha Five Runtime may not, in turn, distribute any copies of the Alpha Five
Runtime.
For example, if you purchased an "Unlimited 10User
Runtime", then a maximum of 10 users can use your
application concurrently on any particular network.
If you purchased an Unlimited User Runtime, then there are no limitations on the number of concurrent users of your
application.

So this apparently has been superceded by another which until now I was completely unaware of!! SO what to do---I think Alpha has a point that they need to be compensated....but then what about their obligation to honor what was said when the product was purchased? (IE.; what my original runtime document said). Truth be told, I am still pondering this as even though it is stated things could change at the beginning of the PDF, a notification of a change is the very least I expect and in this case I am not certain that it would be even eithical to make such a change that would have influenced user's decisions to even buy a product to begin with!

As far as ethics I want to make something VERY CLEAR! I truly believe that Selwyn and Richard are extremely ethical and moral people from what I have read and in any dealings I have had with them personally...not a question in my mind regarding this! I feel what happened with the documentation was a mistake or accident is all---NOT intentional. A more honorable and commited group of people such are at Alpha would be hard to find... if even possible.

NoeticCC
03-23-2008, 05:04 PM
As far as ethics I want to make something VERY CLEAR! I truly believe that Selwyn and Richard are extremely ethical and moral people from what I have read and in any dealings I have had with them personally...not a question in my mind regarding this! I feel what happened with the documentation was a mistake or accident is all---NOT intentional. A more honorable and commited group of people such are at Alpha would be hard to find... if even possible.
Oh I do agree, they are extremely quick at responding to most bug reports and other requests and I suspect any developer knows that one can only expend so much effort on a finished product, and as far as customer service is concerned a functioning product is more important than a well-documented one that is extremely buggy or limited in usability!

Of course better documentation is essential, and I do really REALLY hope the help file doesn't take as long to update as it did with V8*!!! But I'd rather have a product that works well enough for me to simply experiment (without breaking everything!) with than one with to-the-dot documentation that doesn't give me as much freedom as A5 does...

* I know there is a lot of it but there's a lot to A5 full stop, and I have learned more about programming in the last month or two by just trying out bits from the help file/Xbasic function listings than in several years working with PHP and Powerbuilder among other things...

trackmanpete
03-23-2008, 06:30 PM
Ok, I am going to make this simple, I think. I bought V8 when it didn't exist. I got a second v7 and then when v8 came out as a beta, I received my copy. I paid $149.00 for it. I then purchased a 3 person runtime for $181.00. Why would I buy that IF I could only use it one time on one other machine? The runtime does nothing but enable a completed application to run on another machine without the original V8. So all this talk about the runtime having limited use is nonsense. It was sold for one purpose and only one purpose, to enable one to include it with a newly created app without having to purchase a fully functioning v8.

Access gives away their runtime. I have two commercial apps that use Access as their engine and I don't even need or have to download a runtime to make it work. I have one commercial Access engine program where I was asked to download the free runtime from the Microsoft website if I did not have a full version of Access to run that program. I did and that commercial program runs without having a full version of Access on the machine that uses that commercial app.

Alpha v9 was asking me to pay $599 for an unlimited version of the runtime. In communicating with Richard on this it was clear to me that the new runtime could be used for unlimited distribution of an application I created for distribution. At least that was how I understood his comments. This new runtime was limited to single user and no SQL.

So, I will patiently wait for the Alpha team to sift through all the comments they have received.

By the way, I have three full Alpha programs, two V7 and one V8 and I have one runtime 3 person program v8 and yet have not used the runtime or created a completed program I could share or sell to anyone. So, I have spent almost $400 for the privilege of playing with Alpha Five. I would have gladly spent another $300 for version 9, as the new changes to the desktop were very nice. That brings me up to $700 for a database program that has had three major version changes since I came on board in November of 2006. So, I don't consider myself cheap in asking to not have to pay another $600 for a runtime that is limited in its distribution.

If Alpha continues to make changes every 18 months, I think they are doing quite well by me just selling me each new update. I bought MS Office Pro with Access 2003 for $79 educational price and haven't had to pay anything additional. That is the competition Alpha faces, don't you think?

tcausey
03-24-2008, 10:47 AM
For me this really just comes down to a developer/business decision. It isn't personal and I do not question the ethics or integrity of anyone at Alpha Five. They're just trying to find ways to move Alpha Five forwards. I get it.

Now, I also wanted to say that I have licensed various combinations of Alpha Five products over the past few years - v5, v6, v7 and v8. I am currently using Enterprise v8 with a 5-user Runtime Plus. I have only used Alpha Five for non-essential purposes inside our company. And the runtimes have only been deployed on our company's network in a single location. So, why should I really care about this new understanding (new to me) about v8's runtime licensing, and the even more restrictive and expensive licensing scheme for v9?

It is just one more hurdle to overcome when it comes to choosing Alpha Five over other development options. It limits the option to dream. I really like Alpha Five both as a company and a group of development tools. And I do hope that Alpha Five comes up with a new licensing scheme that will enourage rather than discourage developers from choosing Alpha Five today and tomorrow.

Tom

Bill Griffin
03-24-2008, 11:29 AM
I am currently using Enterprise v8 with a 5-user Runtime Plus. I have only used Alpha Five for non-essential purposes inside our company. And the runtimes have only been deployed on our company's network in a single location. So, why should I really care about this new understanding (new to me) about v8's runtime licensing, and the even more restrictive and expensive licensing scheme for v9?

Tom

Why would you care? With V9 If you only have 5 users and no need for ever adding one of your apps to another workstation, you would not care. But the new licensing, as it stands today, will allow you to install the runtime on 5 workstations, thats it. No concurrent licensing. One run engine license = one computer, period. If you have 20 or more users on your network that occasionally use your apps, you need 20+ run engine licesnes. I am in this same situation and yes, I care. BUT, that said, this is as of today. It "seems" like Alpha is listening and are going to do something about it. (Hopefully)

tcausey
03-24-2008, 11:53 AM
I care for a couple of reasons.

First, the success of Alpha Five may well hinge in no small part on their licensing scheme. I started to go into this in more depth but for now I will leave it at that. Suffice it to say if you extend this in a number of ways it becomes clear just how much this could impact Alpha Five users.

Second, I would like to be able to go beyond our company's walls and develop applications for others either for our company, with another company, or independently. I've actually created a few programs for our company that we have never deployed in part because of support concerns. Some of these we were even planning to distribute to our customers for no charge. That's really going to be difficult if we have to work out payment and licensing for each location. On a related note, I have paid for Alpha Five (v5, v6, v7 and now Enterprise v8 w/ 5-user Runtime Plus) out of my own pocket. I have gladly done so as I've enjoyed working with it, hoping for certain future changes and dreaming about the possibilities. (On a related note, I have always been very appreciative of the special discounted pricing Alpha Five has made available.)

Are my wishes and/or needs a reason to reconsider Alpha Five licensing? No, not really. But I believe the variety of scenarios that could be run based upon the current proposed scheme in combination with the cost of availabile substitutes should be taken into consideration. I'm just not convinced that the proposed pricing scheme for v9 will result in the desired outcomes for Alpha Five.

Tom

Bill Griffin
03-24-2008, 12:09 PM
I'm just not convinced that the proposed pricing scheme for v9 will result in the desired outcomes for Alpha Five.

Tom

Tom,

It sounded from your previous post that you didn't care


We all wait, impatiently, to see where Alpha will go with this. There are almost as many opinions as to how Alpha should be priced as there are people who have aired their concerns. It is not going to be easy (or possible) to please everyone. But they are listening. When was the last time you has the co-chairman of a software company respond to the complaints of users, personally and so quickly as Richard has? I am encouraged that Alpha will come through and try to make things as right as they can.

Unfortuanetly what has gotten lost in the pricing mess, are the features in V9. V9 really brings some very cool features back to the desktop environment, as well as some great improvements to the web side as well.

NoeticCC
03-24-2008, 12:53 PM
But they are listening. When was the last time you has the co-chairman of a software company respond to the complaints of users, personally and so quickly as Richard has? I am encouraged that Alpha will come through and try to make things as right as they can.

Quite, I knew they were flexible but really hadn't expected the quick response and, regardless of whether or not they come up with anything to satisfy everyone on most counts, willingness to offer alternatives or flat prices instead of the initial case by case basis OEM license etc.



Unfortuanetly what has gotten lost in the pricing mess, are the features in V9. V9 really brings some very cool features back to the desktop environment, as well as some great improvements to the web side as well.

Indeed - also, albeit at the moment sans genies/GUI, some of the AJAX stuff like the tree control, will genuinely make for some great opportunities for moving functionality onto the web.

I do wonder where Alpha are going with the HTML elements on desktop forms though. One would think eventually these might be 'exportable' to WAS.;

tcausey
03-24-2008, 12:54 PM
Bill,


It sounded from your previous post that you didn't care
It's not that I do not care but that I may be forced to not care.

When was the last time you has the co-chairman of a software company respond to the complaints of users, personally and so quickly as Richard has? I am encouraged that Alpha will come through and try to make things as right as they can.
I agree but at the same time I believe this can be tied back into Stewart's original post. Large companies (primarily corporations in the United States at least) are generally averse to both this type and level of risk. From an individual's perspective it is great that Richard and others at Alpha Five are so responsive. But large companies want to know with a relatively high degree of certainty that the companies they work with move deliberately and with a solid foundation. Does this always work as hoped? No. But they will as a general rule seek to reduce uncertainty and risk where safer substitutes exist at a similar or lower cost.

Tom

Bill Griffin
03-24-2008, 01:01 PM
I do wonder where Alpha are going with the HTML elements on desktop forms though. One would think eventually these might be 'exportable' to WAS.;

I would not be surprised if somewhere down the road that when you develop an application, then choose whether you would like to deploy as a desktop, web or hybrid application. Or this could just be very wishful thinking on my part.

NoeticCC
03-24-2008, 01:05 PM
I would not be surprised if somewhere down the road that when you develop an application, then choose whether you would like to deploy as a desktop, web or hybrid application. Or this could just be very wishful thinking on my part.

Or at least, copy HTML forms from desktop to WAS - fingers crossed, eh?

DaveM
03-24-2008, 01:13 PM
I would not be surprised if somewhere down the road that when you develop an application, then choose whether you would like to deploy as a desktop, web or hybrid application. Or this could just be very wishful thinking on my part.

a very good friend of mine owns a rather large software company in Orlando, FL and all their forms for the desktop are being built in vb enterprise with .net on msde databases for web conversion. I don't quite know how that works, but he said I could sit with his head programmer for a day and should get the gist of it.

I would suspect Alpha is headed there.

Cian Chambliss
03-24-2008, 01:46 PM
Yes - HTML elements on a form are part of a move toward the eventual publishing of form as a webpages. Also reports are getting the same treatement as well - v9 supports embedding of a static HTML in reports, we hope to elaborate on this in v10 to allow definition of 'live' HTML reports on the web, which makes a great navigation interface when you embed dynamically generated links.

We have demonstrated internally that publishing an existing forms layout to a 'dumb' HTML is easy , however this is not a feature that is all that useful until all of the field rules & binding can be handled in by the code behind the web page as well (i.e. lookups, validation, calculated fields etc). We are well along on supporting a *lot* of these features through AJAX, but have done no work on the next step which is to add a module that will convert our existing field rule definitions to use our AJAX framework - this will be a big focus for the next release.

DaveM
03-24-2008, 01:51 PM
Cian,

didn't expect anyone to be here(idea that all were in the meeting) from Alpha.

Thanks for the info. Kinda figured you were headed there and ajax would be involved. you are ahead of where I thought you were. I can't see inside alpha, but the hint of html on forms struck a cord.

NoeticCC
03-24-2008, 01:52 PM
Yes - HTML elements on a form are part of a move toward the eventual publishing of form as a webpages. Also reports are getting the same treatement as well - v9 supports embedding of a static HTML in reports, we hope to elaborate on this in v10 to allow definition of 'live' HTML reports on the web, which makes a great navigation interface when you embed dynamically generated links.

We have demonstrated internally that publishing an existing forms layout to a 'dumb' HTML is easy , however this is not a feature that is all that useful until all of the field rules & binding can be handled in by the code behind the web page as well (i.e. lookups, validation, calculated fields etc). We are well along on supporting a *lot* of these features through AJAX, but have done no work on the next step which is to add a module that will convert our existing field rule definitions to use our AJAX framework - this will be a big focus for the next release.
Thank you very much for that, I suspect a lot of people have been very curious about this for a long time. :)

mattdonlan
03-25-2008, 11:28 AM
Allen thanks very much for the question regarding version 8 and prior runtimes.

Going back a while there may have been ambiguity on this topic. It is for this reason we put this explanation on the order page for version 8 runtimes when it was first introduced

(reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")

The idea behind this was there were two distinct categories of developers.

A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime

B) Developers who develop a canned/pre-packaged solution that they plan on selling to a bunch of clients. In this case you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers

Thanks


Maybe its a language thing but this has never made any sense to me. There is (or rather can be) far too much grey area, in regards to what is a custom app and what isnt. What is the case for a canned solution that a customer wants to have modified? What if the customer wants 1 form changing, but another wants 50 forms changing.

What if you build a custom app, then decide to market it as a canned solution? In that circumstance you should buy the RT for the customer and then another RT to distribute it. But then again, what if a customer approaches you to ask for a custom app, and you realise it can be sold as a canned solution before you even start designing it.

Im afraid this definition is much too vague in wording and design and whilst it isnt something I have had to worry about I remember reading the definition and thinking O.o

As far as V9 goes, I am waiting to see how the pricing looks after Alpha have reviewed the vociferous feedback about the initially proposed pricing scheme.
I do hope the licensing requirement is at least better defined :)