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DESKTOP or Web?

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  • DESKTOP or Web?

    Hi, have been tinkering with Alpha V10 for a few months now and have just purchased V11. With winter upon us it is time for me to buckle down and learn how to use the product. My question is should I be concentrating on WEB development or Desktop? I know the obvious answer is what am I planning to develop. I have developed on a fleet maintenance program in Lotus Approach and want rebuild it in Alpha. At this point it is only used on a couple of machines as a desktop application. I am just wondering if I were to develop it as a Web App can it be used as a Desktop APP for now and published on line at a later date? I know to many of you this may be a rudimentary question but I just want to start out on the right foot. Thanks for any help on this.

    Kevin

  • #2
    Re: DESKTOP or Web?

    Welcome to alpha,

    Your questions are normal and you said it just right.

    The web app can be used as a lan or stand alone application, if you so wish. Most all web apps can do this. You will need the web app server on your lan. The web app can be hosted by your server or p-p network or hosted online by certain hosting companies the will support it.

    The desktop is(in my opinion) faster to develop, but you have to rewrite for the web(to a great degree). It is easier to go web later, from desktop, if you use MySQL for the data.

    Good luck either way and there will be plenty of help here when the proverbial walls hit you in the face. One suggestion is to forget all you ever learned in lotus approach so your mind is free to pickup the new terminology of alpha.
    Dave Mason
    [email protected]
    Skype is dave.mason46

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DESKTOP or Web?

      Hi Dave, Thanks for the welcome and your comments. I am glad that I have found this forum as I know I will have lots of questions as I start down this learning road. Looking forward to it, Alpha looks like a great product.

      Thanks and look forward to seeing you here.

      Kevin

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: DESKTOP or Web?

        Since its sounds like its internal use product with just a couple of computers involved I would recommend the desktop as well. You can run it as a client/server setup and updating or changes should not be a huge problem. I also not be concerned about using the Alpha native database (.dbf) files. They are quite robust and if the Lotus Approach database was working well these should serve you well. Too bad about Lotus Approach development being dropped. It was always superior to MS Access in my mind.

        I just started using Alpha Five several months ago so I know how hard it is to get started. What I can tell you is the forum (message board) members really want you to succeed, the level of help they provide is simply incredible. I will say if you get stuck use the search function on the forum, frequently somebody else has had a similar problem and a solution has been given.

        Welcome to the group and have fun working with A5.
        Regards,

        John W.
        www.CustomReportWriters.net

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DESKTOP or Web?

          Kevin,

          There will probably be others chime in.

          I read into your question that you have thoughts of going to the web(maybe later) and that was the reason I suggested MySQL. If you are going to stay desktop, I agree totally with John.

          I am not new to alpha and have been through almost all their progressions since the late 1980's.
          Dave Mason
          [email protected]
          Skype is dave.mason46

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DESKTOP or Web?

            Hey Kevin,

            Just my 2 cents worth! ...

            Like you, I just made the jump to A5 V11. (I’m coming from A5 V7, but I started with Alpha 4, way way back!)

            (I’m a long-time developer … nearly 40 years using other software … but new to Alpha, viz a viz “the web”).

            My own focus is going to be web/online, going forward, even though what I develop may be deployed on the desktop. (Just to hedge my bets, I even bought an A5 unlimited runtime [desktop] license for $99, as well as the A5 application server product).

            What you are developing and where it will end up being used should guide your approach re: desktop versus web. However, if there is the slightest chance that your software could end up/be best-used online, you would be ahead by web-enabling it from the outset.

            I will concede that the A5 desktop application environment is much richer in functionality than online. This is largely due to the limitations and requirements of a web browser/HTML front-end.

            Like me, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed! …

            Do check out the Alpha website and YouTube for free videos, documents and tutorials that you can download. For example, there is one tutorial document, that … using the free “Northwind” Access database … will have you developing a quick and dirty web app in about 15-20 minutes, from scratch! Sure, it’s rather basic but it will show you how much you can do fairly quickly and how much functionality is contained in … for example … an A5 Grid. It will also inspire the confidence and enthusiasm to dig in further. The supplied [web-based] Contact Manager application will also give you something to play with and maybe even expand into another working application.

            Also, remember that the web world is SQL-centric, rather than .DBFs. (There are several articles and sections that explain why you should migrate to a SQL-based data engine … robustness, scalability, etc.) Fortunately, there are various free SQL DBMS offerings, including MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server Express. (SQL Server Express permits database sizes of up to 10GB, which should be more than enough to start with).

            Good luck!
            Last edited by Paullm; 11-17-2012, 01:51 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: DESKTOP or Web?

              What the other posters have said about using SQLServer or MySql is true. If you are going to use them then you should do it from the start.

              I do contend the native .dbf tables are suitable for whole range of applications; whether they are right for you application only you can decide. They are at their core FoxPro database that has been extended by Alpha over the years. For your two PC configuration they are well up to the task. Keep in mind that running an application in a web browser, be it intranet or internet requires a server. In the A5 case its WAS and in the Windows world IIS. These are added overhead and unless you are familiar with them will add to your learning curve. None of this is bad, but is worth keeping in mind as you layout you design plans.
              Regards,

              John W.
              www.CustomReportWriters.net

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                Thank you all for your input, I appreciate the various opinions collectively giving me something to chew on as I forge ahead. If this is any indication of the support here on this forum I am sure I will be here often.
                Thanks again for the welcome all.

                Kevin

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                  Originally posted by nbcanuck View Post
                  If this is any indication of the support here on this forum I am sure I will be here often.
                  You will find that the support of the Alpha community on this board is exceptional. No brag, just fact.
                  Peter
                  AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

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


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                    Welcome Kevin.

                    I came to Alpha over a year ago after a 25 year gap in programming from my old Pascal days. Even after 25 years absence from programming I still had Pascal programming stuck in my brain so there was a lot of scratching my head at first but with the help of the members here it was not too long before I started to pick up on doing things with Alpha. I will say this Alpha 5 is way more powerful then my head can get wrapped around right now but I was still able to pull of a very complex app that does does thousands of mathematical calculations for each record and I was able to do that because of the help and guidance these fine people here on this forum are willing to give out. You are in good hands here. Now you just need to crack down and get after it.

                    Preston.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                      I also am considering switching to the Web tools. But I currently have the "Pro" versions of XP and Win7 on my LAN and no version of Windows Server. Does this mean I will be limited to 10 simultaneous connections to the Alpha Five WAS database? I currently us the "Unlimited" desktop license and the native DBF database. If I decide to go to SQL and WAS will I have to buy Windows Server to go beyond 10 users?

                      Thanks,
                      Sean

                      Originally posted by jkwrpc View Post
                      Keep in mind that running an application in a web browser, be it intranet or internet requires a server. In the A5 case its WAS and in the Windows world IIS. These are added overhead and unless you are familiar with them will add to your learning curve.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                        Sean,
                        Interesting question: I don't know is MS CAL's apply here. technically there will be no problem accessing with +10 users and running SQl is no problem either.
                        Frank

                        Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                          Since your webserver will port to the outside world (f.e. through port 80) any visitor will not be logging in to your windows environment. Hence, the Windows Server cal's have nothing to do with this. You might however see yourself confronted with the need for another piece of hardware: a server to run the WAS on. Another option is, to have your application hosted somewhere else until the need for an own server occurs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                            Originally posted by seaken64 View Post
                            I also am considering switching to the Web tools. But I currently have the "Pro" versions of XP and Win7 on my LAN and no version of Windows Server. Does this mean I will be limited to 10 simultaneous connections to the Alpha Five WAS database? I currently us the "Unlimited" desktop license and the native DBF database. If I decide to go to SQL and WAS will I have to buy Windows Server to go beyond 10 users?

                            Thanks,
                            Sean
                            hello

                            the windows server referenced in the reply pertains to alpha WAS ( web application server) if you buy unlimited WAS then installing into your "Pro" versions of XP and Win7 computer (you will be able to install in only one of those computers) then using any web browser any number of people can access the project you have developed and published to that web server.

                            If I decide to go to SQL and WAS will I have to buy Windows Server to go beyond 10 users?
                            no, as long as you purchase unlimited WAS license you will not need anything else.
                            you are not using client access limits either user or device here since it is not local desktop network.

                            if you host yourself at start then you can use different port say 82 ( most isp block incoming calls to port 80) and use port forwarding. if need becomes higher then you get dedicated alpha aware isp or set up vpn from popular hosting services.
                            hope this helps.
                            thanks for reading

                            gandhi

                            version 11 3381 - 4096
                            mysql backend
                            http://www.alphawebprogramming.blogspot.com
                            [email protected]
                            Skype:[email protected]
                            1 914 924 5171

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                            • #15
                              Re: DESKTOP or Web?

                              Okay, thank you all. If I understand correctly, I can have an unlimited number of users accessing the Alpha WAS. I was concerned about the limit of 10 simultaneous users built in to the XP and Win 7 Pro versions of the operating system but I see now this does not apply to the WAS. I plan to stay with my peer-to-peer LAN and not add an actual server.

                              Thanks again,
                              Sean

                              Comment

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