View Full Version : Microsoft Access to Alpha 5 orientation video/tutorial/orientation


07-15-2011, 03:12 AM

Does anyone know of any orientation/tutorial that helps transition the MS Access developer to the Alpha 5 environment; mainly with regards to VBA to XBasic (code syntax/similarity, where to create event based events, debug windows, watch events, etc, etc, etc...).

I'm sure what I'm asking probably doesn't exists, but if someone has the time and knows both (Access and A5 very well) maybe it will aid the transition of the new A5 user to A5. It would be useful as a video (probably only a few minutes. Dont' get me wrong, Selwyn's Videos are great, however, after spending 15 years (prob more) with developing in access I'm stilling finding some of the basics with the a5 program usage to be a steep learning curve, and then find myself reverting to 'how I would do it access', mainly as i have not found the similarity in A5 (yet).

For example, I recently posted a question to the forum for help with basic coding. What I wanted to do was update a field, on a detail view (access = form), and then update another value on that detail view; additionally I realized that I am still unclear of when do we use JS or XBasic? how do we use select statements--or what is the XBasic syntax equivalent.

Someone could make some good money with a mini-series of "Transitioning to Alpha from Access"! It would only need to be a few minutes per video; and probably would only new a handful of them.

Alpha 5 is easy to use, for the most part; however, a video / tutorial would make those of us coming from different programming environments much easier. Plus i bet the sales of A5 would increase when MS Access uses get a 'good' orientation to A5 from such a video!!


07-15-2011, 10:35 AM
In a sense, you are making a double transition - from Access to Alpha to Alpha web. That's a big jump, I'm sure. I'm not sure Alpha has exactly the documentation you are looking for, but I know they have both videos and white papers outlining that transition. Maybe someone else could provide the links.

07-15-2011, 11:53 AM
Hopefully someone well versed in both programs could put to a get a "GET TO KNOW ALPHA FROM ACCESS". I know at least 3-5 access developers that would transition, but are afraid of the learning curve...
I know i said it in my original post, there are so many areas of access that i know like the back of my hand and wish that i could figure out where the similarity is in a5 (I know they exist, as am slow learning).

07-15-2011, 12:24 PM
...there are so many areas of access that i know like the back of my hand and wish that i could figure out where the similarity is in a5 (I know they exist, as am slow learning).

Well, with 173 posts under your belt, you probably know by now, that at least as far as this message board is concerned, ask one question at a time. Not to make unfair comparisons (and I'm not saying this is unfair or fair), but look at KingCarol (Carol King). She is a fantastic Access programmer and has jumped into Alpha with both feet and is re-building her very sophisticated Access construction & builders application in A5 web. Or look at Wendy Welton, an architect with little or no programming experience who has rebuilt her entire data-driven web site in Alpha in less than a year! Both women have sought help here on this board, but don't we all. Of course, part of their success is that they are motivated - big time. Once you get past certain hurdles you too can be making great progress by leaps and bounds, I'm sure. Hang in there!

07-15-2011, 01:17 PM
Thanks Peter for your words of encouragement; I'm very sure than in a year or so I'll look back at this post and realize the progress I have made. I did review both of their sites, and I'm mighty impressed.

I'm trying to build my access application in alpha 5; however, there are few struggles, mainly with 'time' (just like the rest have the same struggles), slowly I know I'm making progress. Sadly, in order to make my back office function I'm still using access--just because i know how to use it--and i know a5 is way better, but I'm just not there yet with a5 (yet)... a few more learning curves (and mainly with the basics) and I'll be ready!


07-15-2011, 01:47 PM
As someone who's worked with both Access and Alpha Five, I can tell you that programming in Alpha Five is much easier. It will take awhile to make the transition, but once you get the hang of it, Xbasic is far more intuitive than VBA.

Because of my job, I was forced to work with Access. However, after using Alpha Five for so long, I often asked myself why something that is so easy in Alpha Five was so unnecessarily difficult to accomplish in Access. I'll give you one example out of many. I had to develop a feature in my application that automatically sent an email reply to a student who registered for a class with their confirmation reservation, scheduled class and time, plus something else I cannot remember at this moment. It took me several days to figure out how to do such using VBA. In Alpha Five I could have accomplished my goal in several minutes without writing any code.

That brings me to my second point. Many tasks in Access that require VBA coding can be accomplished in Alpha Five with little or no coding using Action Scripting [No Programming]. In fact, many people create entire applications with zero coding. If you need to make modifications, the Xbasic code is already written so one can go into the Xbasic that already exists and quickly/easily make changes.

In my opinion, one can complete the same project in Alpha Five in less than half the time it would take in Access.

07-15-2011, 02:12 PM
I hear you on "sending confirmation email" via VBA in access it took me days (if not a couple of weeks) to figure out how to send the report to a snapshot file and then convert to pdf, and then to create and attach to an email--it was a nightmare. I'm sure that doing that in alpha is a genie or something.. (which is mindbogglingly easy!)

Thanks your reply it is quite reassuring to see that others share the same Access pains.

07-18-2011, 11:32 PM
Hi Lee,

I am another newbie starting to make the transition after 15 years in Access. I too wish there were some more Access to A5 transition help.
I have spent hours watching all the videos and have learn a LOT and yes, Alpha Five is so much easier that Access in lots of things but some things in Access, I miss
And it is sooo hard when you know Access methods and syntax like the back of your hand and you feel like you are are scratching around in the dark in Alpha Five not even knowing WHAT you are looking for at times.

However Peter is right...the hardest thing is doing the double jump not only are you moving from Access to Alpha Five but from Desktop to Web!
So much of what I am struggling with is Web concepts What is done where... I have no desire to learn Alpha Desktop as If I need Desktop App I will build it in Access.

But I agree I think Alpha Software is missing an real opportunity to assist in us die hard Access developers making an easier transition to Alpha.

I have always thought they could do a Basic App in Access than the equivalent in Alpha Five so we could download it and have a poke around and we could see how things are done.
Also a translation matrix "In Access you do this .... In A5 you do this instead." That sort of thing.

Feel free to PM me anytime Lee, as I am sure we are struggling along with the very same problems.

Best of Luck, Bruce

07-18-2011, 11:47 PM
Hey Bruce, thanks for your reply. I'm going to chat with the guys at Alpha later this week; send me the things that you like in access, but are 'in the dark' with alpha and i'll discuss it with them... I think with a strong orientation to alpha, for those of us coming from access, or any other database software will only help the number of alpha users grow! :)


07-19-2011, 05:24 AM

This link has been offered before. Check it out.

J.R. Noe
07-19-2011, 11:30 AM
If you would have told me 2 years ago that we would be looking for an Access replacement, I would not have believed it. Our whole business has been built on Access and .NET. We even recently purchased Assess Developer Solutions www.accessdevsolutions.com focusing on Access users.
BUT after many, many recent problems with Access development, integration, references and stability, we looked for a replacement and found Alpha. We are in the process of moving all our applications to Alpha, no small task. We have a Fire/EMS application (Ambutrax), used around the world and we are moving it to Alpha, a sheet music app (Charttrax) we are moving and we are currently working with Colin H. in the UK, on a web based application called what else? Resqtrax (none of us know how we got started using "trax"). It is a big step but in the last few months we have realized the potential of Alpha and assurance Alpha will still be around years later. Just because Access has MS in front of it's name does not mean it will still be here down the road.

Any good Access developer will shy away from macros, so at first we did not want to use the action scripting, thinking it was the same as macros....yeah, we were wrong. The X-Basic is different but so far we are very pleased with its stability. No reference issues, which is real nice. The more we use the X-Basic the more we like it and of course the better we get. You will find some X-Basic which reminds you of VB/VBA. I created a small app to test deployment and still need a little help on that before we start deploying the big apps, but there is enough help, tips and advice on here to help us work that out. Peter Greulich, who posted here has helped me more than once himself. Thanks again Peter.

Lee, we know how you feel. The learning curve is, at least for us, a little steep. What I can do in less than a minute in Access has stretched into hours with Alpha, but no fault of Alphas, it is just different and we need to remember we had the same issues when learning Access too. Many times, once we learn it, we find it is even easier tha Access,. We have committed ourselves to Alpha and realize during the transition there will be bumps in the road, delays and frustrations. Everyday I learn something new in Alpha, thanks mostly to this message board, and everyday I usually mumble to myself "that's cool" or "that was easy", and more often "why didn't Access think of that".

We didn't use the genie or anything to move our tables to dbf or mysql, some may laugh, but we created everything from scratch. It gave us a chance to correct table issues and to learn as we go.

We did purchase the collection of manuals from Liberty Manuals, which helps a lot, and we watch many videos. We all gather around the big screen and you would think we were watching a ball game with all the "coooool" and "oh yeah's". Everything you could possibly need, or want to know is out there somewhere. What ever issue pops up has probably popped up before and someone in the Alpha community has a solution.

We are new to Alpha and certainly do not yet have the experience to give Alpha help/advice, but we have many years of experience with Access, and are only speaking of our experience so far transitioning from Access to Alpha. Good luck and don't give up.

07-19-2011, 12:00 PM
JR, heaps of thanks for your post! I'm trying not to get too tied up in the "This is how I did it in access..." as I'm i feel it will only limit my Alpha learning. While at the same time I have started to compile a list of things that I did in the access world and would think it could only help the access user merge over to alpha. Hopefully, a handful of short videos orienting the Access user to Access is probably not a bad idea to get someone started; the intention of the video would be to flatten out the learning curve.

I also found the Liberty Manuals to be a great place to get started. They give me a good foundation as to what is located where (and prevented me for asking thousands of questions on the forum!); although i think these manuals would also be better as a video. Overall, Susan did a great job with her manuals.

You're completely correct with regards to the early days of learning access... looking back, it was/is way harder to learn than alpha. I'm running a small company and i find myself building in alpha, yet there is so little time and the learning curve is so high that i find myself sneaking back to access to add a module to my already 'huge' access app (only because i know it like the back of my hand)--that then becomes temperamental and i have to redo it anyway! I long for the day when I know alpha the same way. As my alpha app continues to develop access will slowly fade away.
As I'm sure you're aware Alpha has been around since the 80's. I remember using Alpha 4 when I was in working part time during high school. I only started using access because i changed jobs they wouldn't use alpha and insisted that Access was the best thing since sliced bread.... Clearly it has become stale and moldy.

Thanks again for your post. It provides much positive reflection as to where this Alpha journey is taking me.


J.R. Noe
07-19-2011, 12:22 PM
Lee, I still sneak back to Access too. I have to keep my current customers happy, so when they request something I do it in Access and push it out to them. I know this will just add to the transition work later but it cannot be helped. I long for the day when i can function in Alpha as i do in Access, but in the mean time I enjoy learning Alpha.

07-20-2011, 07:07 AM
Lee, I still sneak back to Access too. I have to keep my current customers happy,

LOL! I still live in Access for my day to day business and I think I will be for a very long time to come, Still pays the bills.
I can see I will always use Access for the Ad-Hoc data manipulation, Analysis and quick and dirty stuff I do for some clients... as that is where Access shines as a "Landing Pad" for data.
I am looking forward to getting up to speed enough to have a real App in Alpha then the ball will be rolling and I will slowly migrate over as and when it works with clients.