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Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

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    Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

    I licensed A5v4 some time ago with the expecatation that I would soon lincense the runtime. Even though creating an "end user" database was really easy with A5v4, it seems much less clear how a runtime solution would be designed, setup and deployed. Seeing some of the screenshots from other users has renewed my interest and to that end I have searched through the message board, documentation, Dr. Wayne's books and learn alpha.com. This leads me to several questions and points.

    1) It seems that there are many considerations to take into account before deploying an application. Title bar icon, title bar text, status bar text, start-up forms, menus, tool bars, hide control panel, assigning hot keys, F1 (help capabilities), etc. Is there a single listing or set of instructions for doing this and/or creating the necessary script(s)?

    2) I would much more likely have licensed the runtime if it came with a little utility that addressed these issues and created the necessary script(s) that are needed to prepare for the distribution of applictions. Maybe this is something to consider for future runtime releases? I can very well imagine a little A5 program that had a place to browse for files, make selections, etc. prior to packaging and distribution.

    3) It seems that many are creating runtime solutions for limted distribution. I was considering creating an application that would be distributed for free to our customers to print name tags that we sell (similar to Hello name tags). Has anyone created an A5 application that has been distributed in larger numbers? It seems like it would be great for this but I was just wondering if this was advisable. (I wouldn't want to put either our company or AlphaSoftware in a negative light by deploying software that needed more support than we could provide. But it seems like software created and distributed to more users would really help with the marketing.)

    4) Any thoughts on setup and installation software? Especially for distributing to customers all across the country?

    Thanks so much for all of your thoughts and assistance.

    - Tom Causey

    #2
    RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

    Tom,

    I can address #3. You should be able to create your free runtime and distribute as many copies as you can afford to buy disks. I'll let others who have been down that road address #1 & #2.

    kenn
    TYVM :) kenn

    Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

    Comment


      #3
      RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

      Tom,

      If you haven't already done so, try a search for A5 Runtime. Ought to provide some good information.

      kenn
      TYVM :) kenn

      Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

      Comment


        #4
        RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

        Tom,

        You confusion on these points mirror mine, when I got started with the runtime version myself. i think i can answer some of your questions, although there may be a variety of contingencies of which I am ignorant (a seemingly permanent state).

        Unlike MS Office Developer (and Access, to be more specific), Alpha Five doesn't come with the ability to create an installation program for its applications. There is no way at this time to write an XBasic script that will do this.

        So, you will have to get and learn a software installation program like Wise InstallMaster (Alpha's recommended installation program -- I think there are lite versions available as well), or a shareware application called Install Maker which you can download at www.clickteam.com.

        The scripts that you mention sound like they refer to some of the settings that you can select to give your app a custom look with your icons, titles, etc. There are also suggested scripts included in the runtime documentation, but those are Wise InstallMaster scripts.

        Hope this helps.

        Regards,

        Geoff Hollander

        Comment


          #5
          RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

          Packaging software applications for distribution is an animal unto itself. In creating the application, you should consider documentation and help messages. End users are tricky. They can (and always do) find a hole in your logic.

          We tailored one of our applications for use by Municipal agencies. It was somewhat self-contained, so it was fairly easy to split out of our much larger Application ( see my responses in SCREENSHOTS). I used Install Shield as a distribution package. It allowed me to setup a CD with all necessary files and Icons. Installation became a snap.

          My only caution to you is to be very careful. I will reiterate. USERSWILL FIND THE HOLES.

          Tom

          Comment


            #6
            RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

            I really appreciate everyone's input regarding A5's runtime. But I feel that somehow I failed to explain the aspects that most perplex me with regard to creating a runtime application.

            I understand the purpose of installation software. But it seems that well before that stage all kinds of things have to be addressed within A5 such as:

            When a user presses the "F1" key do they get A5's generic help or help that I created? What about all of the other key combinations that could get them into "trouble". While using the application that I created what menu items do they see and when? What toolbar buttons do they see? What about the size and location of the forms?

            Ok, I have to admit that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I just found it to be quite confusing as to how a runtime program could be created that addressed all of these issues. And it sounds like A5's runtime documentation is quite limited.

            Once again, thanks to everyone for providing input and advice. It really is very much appreciated.

            (On a side note: I read on the message board that Avantrix has an installation package available called Package Plus. I have since confirmed with Avantrix that this software is no longer available. I'm not really sure why. We use their backup software, Backup Plus, and it seems to work great.)

            -Tom Causey

            Comment


              #7
              RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

              If they pres the F1 key in a runtime it will look for some help files that do not exist unless you write your own. I usually disable the F1 key with the following
              if a_user.key.value = "{F1}" then
              a_user.key.handled = .t.
              end if
              end

              I then write my own in either a printable report or RTF based on a help form.

              The documentation with runtime does give an explanation of you own help files but I think you will need a third party program that writes these.

              Other things to consider for runtime is a form based on a dummy table that will allow you to have button scripts to rebuild indexes, delete temp $$ files, pack the tables, back up. The user will not have access to any of these operations even if you leave the control panel open.

              Once you have an application running it is absolutely no problem to ship it as a runtime but it will take some time and lots of user feed back before it is flawless.

              Michael

              Comment


                #8
                RE: Runtime Question(s) and Marketing

                Tom,

                Forgot to mention that the script is placed in the Onkey Event of every form in the application.

                Michael

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