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Are we being taken advantage of?

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  • Are we being taken advantage of?

    I'd like to request the help of this forum. I'm a manager at charity organization that has hired a database developer to create a database for us to manage our clients, records, results, progress over time of kid's health, family incomes, etc.

    He had *us* buy v9 for this work and has installed runtime versions on staff computers. As far as I know, the only full version of v9 that exists is on his personal computer. Is this a typical set-up for developers and their clients?


    We recently conducted a major study to assess the status of our communities. We have successfully entered all 1500 forms into the database he created (a five screens of questions form based on the questionnaire we wrote). But now he says it could take weeks for him to write the code necessary for us to get any answers! We are not talking proving hypothesis kind of analysis, just totals, counts, averages, medians, how-many-people-said-yes-to-question-1 type stuff. I find it very hard to believe it could be that difficult.

    I have spent the morning educating myself on Alpha5, reading and watching the tutorials on queries and making reports and I believe generating basic reports is not too difficult that I and a fellow manager couldn't learn how to do it in a few days. But when I enter the database (runtime license) this guy has put on my computer, I can't get to any report writer function. I assume it's cause I don't have the full program. Am I right? I can see the query function and use it to query the records, but all I can produce is the records meeting my query, but not a report summarizing those records.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

    Gary,
    I have not used the Runtime or Run Engines myself as yet but here is some info for you. I suppose the other thing is do you have a contract with the developer to ensure that you have been given what was agreed.

    http://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/al...un_engines.asp

    Murray

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

      I don't think anyone here can evaluate your situation. It may, or may not, be easy to whip out a report for this or that, but then may be more difficult to include those reports in the overall system architecture. Developers have to think about the overall system, not just the individual components.

      You did not say if your developer was charging for several weeks, or just taking that long to deliver a result. Doing the actual programming is just one item on a developers plate - we have other responsibilities and maybe other clients and projects competing for our time.

      It is typical that the developer has the only full version. It's also common that both the client and the developer have a full version. When it comes to making actual program changes, it does not matter who has a full developer license, it matters who has the Alpha Five actual database project. That is, if you were to install the full version on your computer, you still would not have programming access to your current runtime copy.

      Although I typically do, in the absence of an agreement that states otherwise, the developer has no obligation to give you the actual project files, ever (USA law, not sure about other countries).
      Steve Wood
      Join the ALPHA DEVELOPERS NETWORK
      There is no Cloud. It's just someone else's computer.
      Web - Mobile - Hosting - Products - Frameworks - Developer Resources
      AlphaToGo | IADN (100% Alpha Anywhere Websites)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

        Steve-
        Thanks for the explanation. This is exactly the kind of answer I was searching for. Knowing that things can be organized a number of ways gives me a better understanding from which to take our concerns to the developer.

        I think things have been left much too undefined in terms of the contract and expected outputs.

        All replies much appreciated.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

          When you are using the runtime engine you can create / modify reports if the developer allows this access.

          You can also download the 30 day trial copy of the full A5v9 development version. This will give you full access to report design, although as Steve points out, there may be issues of how the reports are integrated in the overall design.

          You will also have acces to any scripts that have not been password protected or compiled into an aex file.

          As a developer I personally do not restrict my clients from the source code of projects they have paid me to custom develop for them, but that may differ by developer.

          Bill.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

            Bill, Thanks for that. I will need to ask him to turn on the reports feature for us then. Very good to know!

            In this case, the guy is on a full-time contract with us and the "multiple weeks" to write some VERY basic reports is not because he has other committments-its because he likes to exaggerate. I know the guy enough to know that now (he routinely says 4 days and then it takes him 4 hours). The problem for us is that our funding is dependent on turning out a report in days so him constantly stalling and saying "alpha five can't do that" when I can see from the tutorials that it can, is just not helpful.

            Unlike everyone's responses. Thanks a bunch.

            Looking on the brightside, the experience has certainly made me want to learn the basics of alpha 5...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

              We are having a program designed and developed for our company also. The developer has not asked us to purchase anything as yet. I have already bought AlphaFive v9 Platium with Web and Branding software.

              My suggestion is to contact [email protected] or one of the customer service staff. They can explain this situation better. Good Luck...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                Bill, unless I missed a recent announcement, Alpha offers two different versions of the runtime. One includes the capability for the end user to design report layouts, and one does not. Whether "access" to the design capability is available at all will turn on which version of the runtime is installed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                  Hi Gary,

                  If you feel the the developer you are currently employing is not giving you what you believe to be best service, do what you would do in the same situation of any other supplier giving unsatisfactory service.

                  Worst way, if the current app is so tied up with password control and you do want to change, you might have to consider starting over.

                  With a better understanding of what needs to be done and what access you want to the application, it might hurt in the short term, but you as the customer will have what you want and how you use the application.

                  Not with standing there are always two sides to a story, I walked away from a project that another developer had worked on. Not because he had done a bad job, (in the eyes of the client he had) but because I found out who he was, I knew that if he could not satisfy the client, no one could.

                  At the end of the day (I hate that phrase) the choice is yours.
                  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


                  • #10
                    Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                    Originally posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
                    Bill, unless I missed a recent announcement, Alpha offers two different versions of the runtime. One includes the capability for the end user to design report layouts, and one does not. Whether "access" to the design capability is available at all will turn on which version of the runtime is installed.
                    Once they announced the new Unlimited Runtime, that is the one and only. It includes it all. There are still, however, run engines but the runtime is what is being discussed here.

                    https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/a...un_engines.asp

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                      The product matrix in Alpha's store shows both runtime and run engine can let users design reports. That was always the case in v9. In v8 the "runtime plus" product was required for runtime users to design reports.

                      Bill.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                        Again, thanks to all who posted above. All of these responses have been helpful. I believe 2 major factors are at work:
                        a) a developer who's never been asked to develop quite this kind of database before and is subject to major personality swings
                        b) lack of clarity from our part going in as to what we truely needed from the project--specifically poor understanding by technical staff of the differences between a research data analysis/database program (like SPSS or the CDC's EpiInfo) and A5.

                        I will be learning A5 out of all this...!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                          Based on Bill's (and Doug's) advice, I requested that I'd like to be able to create reports. The developer said it wasn't possible but I showed him the matrix on the store website and the developer has now changed my login level to grant me the ability to see the control panel! Progress!

                          Funny thing though, I can be on the report section and see his reports but the 'new' button doesn't respond. He's emailing customer service to figure out why...

                          Still a big step forward though!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                            Hi Gary,

                            If you are able to be on the Control Panel, click Help on the menu bar and select About. This will tell you if this is the full or runtime version.

                            Only the full version will let you create or edit new tables, forms or reports.

                            If you can zip up your app and what you want is very straight forward, you might get some extra help here.
                            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


                            • #15
                              Re: Are we being taken advantage of?

                              Keith, the vers 9 runtime lets users create and edit reports, labels and letters.

                              Comment

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