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Questions on networking an application

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  • Questions on networking an application

    I own a copy of Alpha Five V9 Platinum for my own use and I have been asked by the company I work for to enquire the full cost of running five clients (initially) on a company network.

    My application has been developed over the years on various versions of Alpha Five starting from V5 (I think) but I have never looked into running this on a network.

    1. Is it easy to do?

    2. I have heard the term runtime license mentioned a lot, how does this differ from the full version?

    3. I am particularly worried about the security of my data and code. Can I prevent users from getting access to my code? I have developed this application in my own time, so see it as my property!

    4. Can I prevent users from modifying records or running operations? If so how and is it easy to do?

    5. Would there be a lot of work involved in developing the application from a standalone to a networkable version?
    Last edited by Alastair; 09-22-2008, 12:52 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Questions on networking an application

    Hi Alistair,

    i can answer a couple of your questions.

    1. running on a network - i run my app over a network, nce i got my head round it, it really is very simple. search for network optimisation in the help file.

    2. runtime licences allow a user to run an app created in alpha5 but do not allow any modifications or the ability to create new databses.

    3. not to sure on this, but i know the run time licences do not allow modification of your database. i have read that you an compile your code, maybe worth a look up.

    4. the built in security group can be used to permit or deny certain actions, in addition other poperties can be set to meet your requirements.

    5. i dont believe there is a great deal of developent work, maybe just the setting of user rights for objects. the main work involved in setting up the network is the network optimisation.

    im sure others may have other info for you, but i hope this helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Questions on networking an application

      Ailistar,

      1 It is easy to do the networking/shadow if you already have all the cables and switches in.

      2 Runtime comes in about 4 flavors. You need to go to the alpha site and figure out which is more economical for you with current pricing. If you are going to have a lot of users, the unlimited may be the baest perperson price. However if you have 2 or 3 users, a 3 user may be more economical.

      3 Basically you just put the app on one computer and the runtime on the computers that need access to it. It is all covered in the help files. Runtime is just using a shadowed copy of the main data files(kinda like a passthrough)

      4 all your scripts and functions can be compiled into an aex file. That gives you pretty good coverage. You can also password protect if you feel it necessary.

      5 Your data tables(dbf) could be opened by another program, so you may want to encrypt the ones with good data.

      6 there are multiple threads on each of the above on the forum. You micgt try a search or two.

      My users have no way to get at an operation or a script or anything. If there is no button, they can't do it.

      .
      Dave Mason
      [email protected]
      Skype is dave.mason46

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Questions on networking an application

        Thanks for your replies Dave & Richard!

        Could you help me with some further questions:

        1. Both of you mention compiling the code and scripts - is this easy to do?

        2. Once they are compiled is it impossible for other users, even if they obtain a full version of Alpha Five to access the code? Once it is compiled how are modifications done?

        3. I am not a database developer, although I have had some training in Access, most of my experience is self taught. I work for a company doing sales (at the moment) I was unhappy with the methods that were used to process orders when I took the job on, so looked about for methods of automating the process and hit upon Alpha Five by accident. Over the years I have built a very useful (to me) application, now the boss wants it installing on the company network but I am worried that all the time and effort that I have put in to developing this application is going to go unrecognised! Has anyone any advice on what I should do to protect my work?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Questions on networking an application

          Alastair, a key threshold question is who owns the work you've done thus far. Depending on how you've done the work it may be the company's already. If so, there may be nothing to protect. Sounds like it's time to have a good long talk with your boss.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Questions on networking an application

            Hi Tom,

            Thanks for your response.

            I think I own the work, but I am not sure legally?

            I have purchased Alpha Five and upgraded as and when I required at my own cost. The development work has been done in my own time; program code and db design. However, most of the data has been entered while I have been doing my paid job. It is only the coding that I am interested in as I have received no time or funding from the company I work for to develop this. In fact they are still using word and excel to manually create orders, despatch notes and all the other paperwork relevant to an order!

            Can anyone advise me on who they think would be the legal owner of this app based on the above infromation?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Questions on networking an application

              *I* think it is you but it may be a bit of a gray zone... it was developed using your software and in your own time though so maybe you should put in a disclaimer stating that the data belongs to your employer and they are entitled to use the software and export the data if you say should leave or similar, but you retain the copyright and all rights to the application itself.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Questions on networking an application

                My 2 cents (pence) would be to tell you to ask a lawyer in your area. However, from what you have said, I would agree with Andrea that the data, depending on what it was, is probably theirs. The application and its intellectual property rights should be yours. If not already done, I would make sure that all parts of the code have copyright notices in comments and you should change the forms to show that it was developed by you as well. This would be a start before spreading the application around the office.

                As for your questions:

                1) networking with Alpha is quite easy - in most cases. As stated before, look up network optimization and shadows in the help file for more info.

                2) the runtime is a copy of Alpha that is installed on the CLIENT machine that allows you to run Alpha applications and to create reports. You are not able to change any code, create forms, create scripts, etc. So in essence, they could use your application but not alter it in any way.

                3) compiling your scripts is quite straight forward and I would direct you to the help file and look in the index under compile. It shows how easy it is to encrypt them so prying eyes can't see them. Once they are compiled, all your scripts appear in a file with an .aex extension. When you create the runtime version for the office you just don't include the regular scripts and functions but include the compiled aex file that you make.

                4)
                Can I prevent users from modifying records or running operations? If so how and is it easy to do?
                I am guessing from this question that what you are trying to do is to just let people view the data but not do any data entry? If so, just create a new form that restricts entry, changes and deletions. You'll find info for this in the help file under forms. This also leads to another question: Are you doing this just to let others view what data you have or are they going to need to alter the data as well? If they are only going to view the data, then create a whole new application for them that just has forms with the above restrictions. This way they wouldn't need all the parts of the application that you are using.

                5) Same question as 1.

                HTH

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Questions on networking an application

                  Just a quick add: Be sure to keep a copy somewhere(different folder?) of your app with the code not compiled.

                  As far as ownership. I have done similar to you and there ahs never been a problem with code/copyrights. There are people who may want your code, etc without even thinking of your rights. Protect it. And as before stated, make the disclaimer.


                  .
                  Dave Mason
                  [email protected]
                  Skype is dave.mason46

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Questions on networking an application

                    Hi Alastair,

                    It sounds to me that you have given a lot of the rights away already.

                    The reason people want to protect their rights is so that others do not profit from your work without your permission. Are you going to let your company use your application for free? Will you grant them a licence to use your application. How much would they pay an outside consultant/developer to supply, install, maintain and update the application.

                    One thing you can do is tie up the application so the control panel is very difficult to get into. Make sure the autoexec is password protected. Lastly, if you want to protect your application and you have not been paid an agreed amount, put a shutdown date in the autoexec, say for three or six months time, which you would then need to update while you still work for the company or as a consultant if you leave.

                    Let me know if you need more help.
                    Regards
                    Keith Hubert
                    Alpha Guild Member
                    London.
                    KHDB Management Systems
                    Skype = keith.hubert


                    For your day-to-day Needs, you Need an Alpha Database!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Questions on networking an application

                      Thanks everyone for your responses - these are very helpful to me.

                      I have looked in the help file about setting up the network runtime programs and come across something called a bootstrap program which is required to be run before you install the actual application, is this still the case with V9? If this is a necessary step, it seems a lot more complicated than setting up an Access db to run on a network. Does this have to be run on each client?

                      Doug, would it be expensive to consult a lawyer about something like this? Does compiling the scripts make the application run any faster? I am maybe thinking about giving different permissions to different users e.g. boss may have read/write access, some other users just viewing - would this be difficult to accomplish?

                      Keith, no I haven't given anything away to the company yet, this app. was developed by me for me to use to speed up the everday tasks, I never designed it for any other reason, I enjoyed learning the programming and setting up a database that could automate most of the tedious paperwork! The rest of the company has not been interested until recently!!! The resulting db is running on my PC alone password protected. The company has not purchased the necessary runtime licenses/programs to allow a networked version to operate as yet. It is just that I have been asked by my boss to look at it. Most people in the company are still using Word and Excel to create manual orders and despatch notes, job sheets etc... very long winded and time wasting!

                      I am not bothered about protecting the data, however I am bothered about data accuracy as this app. is used to purchase and process orders! I know that I am using accurate prices at the moment because I enter the data myself, however when lots of people start filling in the data this may start to cause problems?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Questions on networking an application

                        Alister, check out this thread:

                        http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...ad.php?t=75603
                        Peter
                        AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                        [email protected]
                        https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Questions on networking an application

                          would it be expensive to consult a lawyer about something like this?

                          U.S. lawyers are way TOO expensive. Not sure about Nottingham, England?

                          Does compiling the scripts make the application run any faster?

                          Not really.

                          I am maybe thinking about giving different permissions to different users e.g. boss may have read/write access, some other users just viewing - would this be difficult to accomplish?

                          It's fairly easy. Read the help file on security. It all begins with setting a Master Password.
                          Peter
                          AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                          [email protected]
                          https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Questions on networking an application

                            Peter,

                            Interesting link thanks for the information, however Nigel seemed to be a developer rather than an employee, wouldn't this make a difference?

                            I guess lawyers here are expensive too!!! I don't think this if feasible for me, it is not as though I will be able to make much, if any money from this application, so paying a lawyer for advice seems a none starter.

                            Thanks for your help and time!

                            Alastair

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Questions on networking an application

                              Hi Alastair,

                              I recall being in contact with you and you did tell me about how you were using Alpha in the office to make your own task easier. It does not surprise me that your boss would like to make the rest of his staff more efficient and accurate by developing a larger networked application, now that he has seen what you have done. As this would be critical to the operation to the company, perhaps your boss would feel a little more comfortable with some outside consultation.

                              Dont worry about the bootstrap, it is some very simple code which I have used before to help install the application files on each machine and leave the data files on the server.

                              Yo have my contact details should you need them.
                              Regards
                              Keith Hubert
                              Alpha Guild Member
                              London.
                              KHDB Management Systems
                              Skype = keith.hubert


                              For your day-to-day Needs, you Need an Alpha Database!

                              Comment

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