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Potential New User - Priced Out!

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  • Potential New User - Priced Out!

    I've been following the commentary for a couple of days now to see what is going on with A5 Ver 5.0. I am ready to make my final selection of a database program to develop a small application to distribute within my specific industry. I had anticipated a relatively low cost of entry by first purchasing A5V5 for individual use, then develop my application and upgrade up to Runtime to distribute, etc. I initially hoped that the commentary may not be too late to somehow influence Alpha to reconsider final pricing, so I decided to throw in my two cents worth. I can concur with most all of the postings regarding approaches to pricing services, applications, runtime levels, etc., etc. Some intelligent folks are here. I've used A4, Paradox, dBase, Access, etc. and honestly Alpha 5 would be my main choice for this project. Furthermore, after using Alpha 4.0 Ver 1.0 many years ago at a previous employer and running a trial of A5 recently, it is still the product of choice for me. I've mentioned it to three software/programmer folks and two software specialist (I am a business owner not a programmer or consultant) and none has even heard of Alpha Software. A GOOGLE search of "relational database" and "relational databases" failed to bring up a reference in the first thirty listings for either. It is also obvious that Alpha is a great product with an excellent following of loyal users and I've not seen a user forum this good in quite some time. Lots of passion and appparently lots of friendly help. However, it is simply priced too high for my small start-up project. I just hope that there are not too many of others like me out there. Unless tomorrow brings about some unexpected surprises - I'm out of here. Good Luck All

  • #2
    RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!


    It's clear that each prospective customer has to make up their own mind about the relative costs and benefits involved in purchasing a database development platform.

    It's theoretically possible to build sophisticated applications with inexpensive tools, if you have the time and the discipline to master the intricacies of multiple Windows environments on your own, in much the same way that it is theoretically possible to paint the Mona Lisa with a couple of paint brushes and some oils. I believe Alpha Five Version Five is going to raise the 'ease of use' performance bar to new heights. Computer enthusiasts will be able to build sophisticated relational, multi-user, network ready applications in ways that aren't easily possible with the other tools out there. Is 'ease of use' important? Is being able to get the project finished quickly a consideration? I think everyone will agree that they are. Are they worth the price of upgrading to Version 5? I think that depends on how much you value your time, and how much (or little) you enjoy the task of learning a new complex programming language.

    Good luck on your journey.

    -- tom


    • #3
      RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!


      Here are some highlights of your post that litterally baffle me.

      1) I've used A4, Paradox, dBase, Access, etc. and honestly Alpha 5 would be my main choice for this project. (So have I & that's a no brainer) Furthermore, after using Alpha 4.0 Ver 1.0 many years ago at a previous employer and running a trial of A5 recently, it is still the product of choice for me.

      2.) It is also obvious that Alpha is a great product with an excellent following of loyal users and I've not seen a user forum this good in quite some time.

      Obviously, you have no consideration for the above as an influencing factor in your decision.

      I did a search on Google using database software. Alpha came in at # 6. The othrs you mention, didn't show even in the top 40. But, in reality, that may not mean very much at all.

      You said, "I am a business owner not a programmer or consultant". I guess that's what baffles me, surely a business owner would look at more than just price. Or, would you accept the lowest bid and not read what you are getting for that price?

      Having owned 2 businesses in tha past, the major factor for be would be how much of my time it's going to take to get a viable database up and running followed closely by the price.

      "However, it is simply priced too high for my small start-up project5"

      Say you bought V5 for $199, would that be too much? Say you bought the 10 user RT for $399. Would that be too much? That's $598 for both, as opposed to $349 + $699 = $1048. So, for $450, your telling Alpha and the folks on the message board to "take a hike". I fail to see the business sense in that.

      I wish you the best!! Say, almost forgot, What's it going to cost you to hire a programer to write your application? Less than $450??

      TYVM :) kenn

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


      • #4
        RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!


        Oops, I misquoted the 10 user RT.

        It should be: $349 + $899 = $1248. I doubt you can hire a programer for $650 but if you can please let me know, I'll hire him as well.

        I wish you the best!! See John Gambles post. Now there's some business sense!

        TYVM :) kenn

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


        • #5
          RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!


          I seem to recall it being mentioned that Alpha hired a firm to get listed on the search engines and more $$ to rank higher.

          I suspect it's #6 rating is a result of how much $$$ was paid, not how popular it is. Honestly, I wish that weren't the case.

          Thank you,
          Mike Konoff


          • #6
            RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!


            Yah, who knows? That's why I said it may not mean very much. I think we have to take the search results with a grain of salt. And, different search engines will show different results.

            TYVM :) kenn

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


            • #7
              RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

              I like your Mona Lisa analogy Tom. Anyone is free to use any other tool to replace Alpha and there are many alternatives.

              Choose C and all you need is a text editor (notepad is free) and a compiler (many free choices, GCC probably the most popular). With it you can do anything Alpha Five does. Of course it'll take you a bit longer, even if you can program at Cian's level. But if you value your time at zero, this is a fantastic choice and it let's you keep that extra $349 around to pay for food and shelter during your extended development cycle.



              • #8
                RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

                I also have been following many of the threads concerning this pricing issue with A5, and I now will also voice my opinion.

                I write software for a living. For myself (own company) and others. True there are many app's out there in the market place but I feel the bottom line is what does it cost you to put the product in the marketplace (or your own business use). I have spent over two(2) years in the developement of some app's with other products and one of my worst experiences was the use of Visual DataFlex. For a purchase price of $1295 (license free, RT free) and a demo that is most impressive, I thought I had this project licked. But, Murphy does exist and due to a very strange file relationship "upward save" that one cannot get around, the project went south. 22-months and $32,000 of developement expense later, I had nothing.

                I also use BBx for large corporation flat-file use for Linus/Unix OS. Very powerful, simple to learn and use (extension of the common Basic language), but an immense amount of time necessary to develop an app. One company I am associated with have 10-full time developers and at 6-years later, they are still working at it.

                Therefore, what I look for in a develop app is something that I can use to bring working app's to the mainstream in as short a period of time as possible. If it takes more than just a few weeks (2-3 months tops), thats too long. The client will not pay the price for the developement.

                Should one be developing a commercial app, the purchase price of the developemnt app should not really be the breaker for the decision. Remember, it is estimated that world-wide, 82% of the Microsoft software applications and O/S's in use have been pirated, and Uncle Bill is still the richest hombre around. The name of game in commercial app's is getting the job done and too continue enhancing the product.

                For well over 10-years Alpha Software products have been #1 choice for application development. They have never let me down. Other products (Visual DataFlex, Access, CA-Objects, Oracle, Sybase) take too much time and and too steep a learning curve, and when comparing the COST, MAKE SURE YOU CONSIDER THESE ISSUES ALSO. The REAL cost comes after you receive the product and start the actual development, and believe me or not, Alpha is absolutely my first choice. Been there, did that....won't do it again.


                • #9
                  RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

                  My search engine showed Alpha after All the other hits on "relational database" were for services or applications or articles or stores or such.


                  • #10
                    RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

                    I develop apps in house for a non-profit agency. I wear several other 'hats' also. Our needs constantly change and I need a way to develop apps quickly and have a quick and easy way to maintain and enhance current apps wihtout having to remember (after weraing some other hat for awhile) an arcane programming language - Alpha simply fills the bill... a wonderful application for our needs. (I've used Access, dbase, Foxpro, dbase template systems and nothing matches the ase of devlopment, IMO)

                    We run the 3-pack and with a credit for the 4.0->4.5 upgrade, it puts it well within the reasonable category for us - and we will upgrade.


                    • #11
                      RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

                      John, that is good to here. That type of info helps to justify the cost part of the equation and supports the productivity part of the decision with a quality product. How else is a guy supposed to know what A5 and the new Ver 5.0 is expected to be like if he simply relies on the Alpha website for selling points.


                      • #12
                        RE: Potential New User - Priced Out!

                        I can't resist jumping in here.

                        Total cost for a database application is the cost for the software AND for your time.

                        One of the key design goals for v5 was productivity.

                        We are getting annecdotal feedback from beta testers (who are also very proficient with MS Access and VB) that, with v5, their development time is being cut dramatically (4-5 times quicker).

                        In real monetary terms, this means that with v5 a project that might take 20 hours could take 80 to hours in MS Access. So if you look at both pieces of the cost equation, v5 starts to look like a fair deal.

                        Another user made the point that this pricing is going to make it more difficult to reach out to brand new customers.

                        This is a good point that we thought long and hard about, however, it is worth noting that a database purchase decision (as we all know) is often a critical decision for a business and organization -- people want to make the right and smart choice.

                        Due to the fact that such a decision is such an important and complex decision, people often look at price as ONE of the factors in determing product quality.

                        A low price does NOT necessarily mean that it will be easier to penetrate into new customer sites.

                        I would like to mention that in the early days of Alpha, we used to send free copies of Alpha Three to IT folks in large companies. When we followed up with these folk after a few weeks, more often than not, they would say "I have been meaning to look at your software, but I am sorry, I have not gotten around to it yet".

                        We then switched to charging for these evaluation copies.

                        Guess what happened?

                        When we followed up with them after a few weeks, almost all of them had evaluated the software. You can obviously draw many conclusions from this, but it is clear that once the software was associated with a price, the perception of the software changed. The lessons that we took from this learning led us to initiate conventional direct mail campaigns promoting Alpha Four in the early part of the 90's. We mailed over 20 million!! direct mail pieces (costing about 60 cents per piece) and generated about 60 million dollars in a 5-6 year period.

                        We believe that conditions for aggresively and (hopefully intelligently) marketing v5 now are more favorable than they were then for the following reasons.

                        1. The market is substantially bigger now.
                        2. The competitive playing field is narrower now. We have two major competitors now -- Filemaker and MS Access. Back then we had to slug it out with dBase, Q and A, Dataease, DataFlex, Revelation, Paradox for DOS, FoxPro for DOS, Clarion, FilePro, PFS, Reflex, RapidFile and a bunch of others!
                        3. Back then (in the early to mid nineties) relative to the alternative products, Alpha Four offered very good ease of use, but did not have a full blown/powerful langauge. Now with v5 we have a product that has clear strenghts in the "ease of use" department, BUT also offers very high levels of power and flexibility because of a greatly enhanced xBasic and Action Scripting.

                        Not being able to offer a developer/user total confidence in the ultimate flexibility and extensibility offered by a development langauge, cost us sales on Alpha Four. With v5 this issue is off the table.

                        One final note. We are keeping Alpha Five v4.5 on the market for those folks who want a lower priced option.

                        Thanks for taking the time to wade through this.

                        We appreciate all of your support and best of luck to all of you.

                        Richard Rabins

                        Richard Rabins
                        Co Chairman
                        Alpha Software