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Commentary - A5v11 working for me. v12 seems a good direction.

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  • Commentary - A5v11 working for me. v12 seems a good direction.

    (Sorry if this is in the wrong sub-forum. I couldn't figure out how to post to the general forum)

    I may have missed it, since my day job is not as an A5 developer but instead as a small business owner and manager, but I have not read any announcements from Alpha Software that they are going to quit supporting small business owners like me who use A5 only for in-house applications. I have read quite a bit of opinion from other users who seem to believe it's time to start looking elsewhere for their database applications software. Most of the complaints seem to be centered on two issues, a new pricing model and lack of new features for desktop development.

    If I were to make my conclusion based on some of the comments on this forum I might conclude that A5v12 is the end of the line for users like me. But I'm not so sure. I am concerned, of course. Is Alpha Software going to stop providing software solutions that small business owners can use effectively to manage their business data? Are we going to have to buy only packaged solutions that cannot be modified and manipulated as we see fit?

    As I analyze what my A5 future looks like I am considering both of these main topics of dissent, the price and the desktop. Of course, my analysis does not include using A5 to develop software solutions for my clients. I will leave that to the software developers who are in that arena. Yet, as I read on this forum and consider my own needs in the years ahead I do not feel the same about the changes Alpha Software is making as some of our fellow forum members. I wonder, is this because I am missing some critical information? Are others here privy to things I am not aware of since I am not a developer but only an end user?

    First, the new prices do not seem unbearable to me. I was offered an upgrade to the same setup I have now for about $1000. Given what I have paid for pre-packaged software that I have never been able to put into everyday use I think that is very reasonable. Every once in awhile I will buy into a software package that I saw at one of our industry trade shows. I buy it but then I can't get it implemented and we end up not using it or the support for it is terrible or too expensive. I once spent a year setting up QuickBooks only to later drop it due to policy issues. I still use a software program for general accounting that is more than 10 years old because it still works for what we us it for and to upgrade will cost over $1600. I will spend the $1600 on A5 instead and setup the accounting tables on that. (Of course I have to find the time to set it up and that's why it keeps going un-done).

    I do not want to upgrade right now and I don't want to spend $1000. For now I don't need to since Version 11 seems to be doing what I need at this time. But if I have to spend $1000-$2000 to upgrade A5 I don't think it's a lot to pay for the value I get out of the software. I've used A5 more than any other software I've paid for and it's much more flexible than any other business software I've ever used.

    Will Version 13 be priced higher? Will Alpha stop offering these yearly “deals” to me as a current user? Maybe. I don't know. But for now I am not going to complain about the price. It seems fair to me.

    Now, what of this rumor that v11 is the last desktop version? Well, quite frankly, I've been planning for years to move all my data into web applications. Before A5v9 I was not sure I could do this with A5 at all. I am not a programmer so I found the idea quite daunting. But then A5 started making it possible for non-programmers like me to do simple web applications and deploy these on our own LANs. With Version 9 I started experimenting and I am convinced I can move all my data to web applications even while I continue to run my desktop applications at the same time. For the past couple of years I have been able to access my data from anywhere over the web, and my main desktop application running on my LAN has not been affected at all. I can do both at the same time.

    My plan is to do all further development of my in-house applications using the web. I don't see a need for the desktop anymore. I am using version 11 currently and so far it works just fine for my web applications. I am not working on mobile apps yet so I don't yet need v12. But when I do decide I need to start working on mobile apps I think I can learn to do it with A5, starting with v12.

    I have read comments that intimate that Alpha is going to abandon the non-programmer. But I am not so sure that is going to happen. It's true that I am more comfortable with the desktop features. It's easier for me. But I am learning how to do the web. A5 makes it possible. I probably won't become an expert but I can program my applications using A5 and reach them from anywhere where I have the web. As I get more comfortable with this new paradigm I am thinking I can also learn how to do the mobile apps using A5. For now, I can use my web apps from my tablet, or netbook. It's not as slick as the full mobile touch interface but it's working for me.

    Will Alpha Software continue to support my A5 versions as the years go by? I don't know. I hope so. And so far, so good. As far as I can tell they still offer something for A4DOS users, even if only a forum. I started with A4v2 and I've stayed with them so far. I see no reason to bail from where I sit. I'm thinking this software will continue to make it possible for non-programmers like me to do some pretty useful stuff. As long as they can survive. Hopefully this new direction will help them do just that.

    BTW, I almost decided to move all my accounting data to MS Accounting. Glad I didn't since they killed it. I also had started using MS Live websites. They killed that too. I moved all my web sites to Google Apps for now. Fact is, you never know what the future will bring. Companies come and go. Software changes or gets killed. Since I know this I am careful not to put all of my business data in the hands of anyone else. But I am still looking for the “silver bullet” that will solve all my business data problems! Ha Ha!

    I wish everyone good luck whether they upgrade to v12 or not.

    Sean Kennedy

  • #2
    Re: Commentary - A5v11 working for me. v12 seems a good direction.

    I'm with ya on this one. I'm strictly inhouse as well (v11 web) and am very happy with it. It works well for my business and will continue to do so for many years to come, I'm sure.