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What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

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    Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

    You would think that all the tables would be contained in the Alpha application and all you would need is a connection to the SQL-compliant database.


      Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

      Originally posted by Dick Anderson View Post
      You would think that all the tables would be contained in the Alpha application and all you would need is a connection to the SQL-compliant database.
      Yes, you would think so, but once you understand SQL you will see why this isn't so. This isn't the fault of Alpha or an Alpha shortcoming, it's the way ALL SQL applications work regardless of platform or UI.

      That said, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of diving into the (vast) world of SQL, you can use dbf which works quite well. OTOH, most people who start using SQL rarely want to go back to dbf - at least those who live, more or less, in the web/mobile universe.
      AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

      [email protected]


        Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

        Well, I have been convinced that there are too many advantages to using SQL both for the application and the user. Downloaded MySQL and got lost. Tried using MySQL help but something seems to be wrong. Maybe you or someone else could help me get started.


          Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

          Dick - are you a subscriber? Alpha has a tutorial series "Xbasic for the Web" for subscribers (by Andy Meer and myself) that I think gives a pretty good MySQL primer for A5 users.


            Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

            Steve - what is a subscriber? - Dick


              Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

              You can purchase a license for Alpha Five... and separately you can purchase a "subscription" to Alpha five that includes all updates as they come along, access to all video and other resources, etc.

              If you don't live in a commercial software world, these may seem like heavy additional fees. However, if you do work with commercial software, these fees are trivial and necessary to get the requisite help.

              There are LOTS of tools to help you build applications faster. But no matter how you slice it, all of them have fees once you pull the covers back. And... this is as it should be. If you ultimately build a cool app in raw code or via a tool such as Alpha, you will likely want to be compensated.


                Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

                I downloaded MySQL free version. Can I create a data table in MySQL and then add and configure fields in Alpha Anywhere after I establish a connection string?


                  Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server


                  It might help your efforts if you understand why the "database" (or database-engine) is separate from the "application" (or user-interface).

                  If you have a few local files (like DBF data files) you could build an app that would work for you and quite a number of users in a very controlled environment. Each time you took any action, your application (e.g. Alpha Five code) would go to the files on disk and read or write data. You could back things up just by copying the files to another disk once per day.

                  But... if you truly have a successful app, one serving a company with many user or one that consumers like and you suddenly have 100 or 100,000 users, the file method will experience limitations.

                  A dedicated and standalone database will have an entire series of utilities that work to keep indexes repaired, manage table growth (so it doesn't explode all over your hard drives), perform backups, and even grown to include multiple sub-databases, computers, and/or hard drives.

                  In the end, they both may do the same exact thing, but a dedicated and standalone database does everything better, faster, and with more management tools.

                  • So if you have MySQL, you can access it from a command line (linux or windows). But most people at the very least use a free tool called "phpMyAdmin" to provide a graphic interface.
                  • if you have SQL Server, you can access it from code within an application (Alpha Five) or from a front-end tool (like SQL Server Management Studio).
                  • Oracle includes "SQL Developer" and also "SQLplus" for interacting with the database. And there are a TON of third party tools for providing a nice interface for working with the database (e.g. TOAD, Benthic Golden, etc).

                  Although you can use Alpha Five or any other coding environment to communicate with a database, you will ultimately have to learn the basics of databases. This can be rendered down to:
                  • How/where to install it
                  • How to check to see if it's working (simple commands that ask "are you alive?")
                  • How to log in (user and password)
                  • Permissions (every user typically requires permissions... security is important!)
                  • CREATE a TABLE (start with a simple table... there are examples everywhere on the net)
                  • ADD DATA (the term is "INSERT"... again, SQL INSERT examples abound)
                  • UPDATE DATA (the term is in fact "update")
                  • COMMIT and ROLLBACK (when you save a change, do you keep it or discard it)
                  • DELETE data
                  • And of course... HOW TO LOCATE/COMMUNICATE with it (each database is on a computer with an I.P. number, the database has a name, a "driver" is required for each database, and finally there is "user" and "password")

                  Sadly there is no "easy button" (like the Staples commercial). You have to learn this stuff.

                  And... however complicated it seems, it's not really that bad. Further, it is more complicated if you try to build a full app and have to write everything yourself (interface, file read/write instead of a database, etc). This is why there are databases and application development tools (e.g. Alpha).

                  So. You might want to go back and start with my first suggestion:
                  • build 2 or 3 simple tables with DBF files
                  • no connection string required in this case... Alpha will put them in a local directory
                  • build a simple GRID or UX-and-LIST in Alpha Five to talk to them

                  And then, when you've got the easy stuff down, do one of two things... or both:
                  • install a sql-compliant, standalone database and RECREATE your tables there (for awareness and practice)
                  • or, install noted database and use the Alpha "upsize genie" so that Alpha does the work of recreating your tables

                  Then you have to add a connection string, which in turn points that the "driver" noted in one of your original posts.

                  I'll stop babbling. Back to work myself.

                  Good luck. Stick with it.

                  Remember... all of this work and complexity is what elevates us above bacteria and politicians!


                    Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

                    There are a TON of MySQL tutorials on the net and on YouTube.

                    The WC3schools stuff is clean and not cluttered with ads. You have to be careful of some of the constant advertising on other sites.

                    The link below has some "MySQL... now what?" kinds of links.

                    I work with all kinds of databases. But like everyone... I had to hunt this stuff down and get familiar with MySQL at one point also.

                    Live. Learn. Build stuff. And then you die. It's the circle of life.


                      Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

                      Allan - You just wrote the best synopsis of the evolution of A5, and its' relationship to 'databases', I have ever read. [I read a lot.] Thank you.


                        Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server


                        Glad it helps. My experience with A5 has been bumpy (as it seems to be with any new environment) and it takes a while to sort out the idiosyncrasies. I can imagine it would be harder for someone who doesn't have a hard-core database background because you then must learn both database and Alpha topics simultaneously.

                        I figure I will know enough to be really effective right about the time I get too old to remember any of it!


                          Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server


                          All my experience has been with Alpha4 and Foxpro back in the late 80's. I never did upgrade to Alpha5 because unlike Alpha4 it involved too much programing and there wasn't much information about how Alpha5 worked at the time. I really appreciate all the time you and others spent answering this post.

                          Thank you,


                            Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

                            Thank you all for your comments. since this was written some time ago, I would very much like to know the consensus regarding best SQL choices for alpha anywhere, MySQL, SQL Server Express, of which I have some knowledge, or MariaDB, of which I have none. we would have our network support do the installation on the server, but their support would only be software installation. we have tested the conversion of data in both MySQL and SQL Express. Backup and restore options are a concern, as are reporting services. we've been told a batch file would need to be written to backup, our database in dbf format compresses to 20 mb, and the SQL test database less than 10MB, so we feel we do not need SQL Server. we would appreciate your thoughts. thank you.


                              Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server


                              MySQL & MariaDB are, for all practical purposes, 100% identical. That being true, I suggest going forward to use MariaDB. Whatever you know in MySQL will work exactly the same in MariaDB.

                              Not sure why you were told that you need a batch file to backup. I recommend a good db management tool like Navicat:


                              Navicat allows you to run scheduled backups. You can also find a free backup tool here:

                              AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                              [email protected]


                                Re: What to use? MySQL, SQLite or SQL Server

                                many thanks for the prompt reply. appreciate your time.