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Thread: Something needs to be done about the help system...

  1. #31
    "Certified" Alphaholic kkfin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by user10 View Post
    @Ken
    Ken, I have read a lot of your posts and I'm really curious why you use Alpha? Which parts of Alpha do you use?
    I did return to Alpha for some time ago( Did give up because of version 11 belly landing).

    At the moment spending time with phonegap and Alphas node intergation. So using UX with phonegap shell and Node for example for figuring howto live sync identical forms between different users and forms running in Node express server.

    I have noticed that also the destop part has new life because of Node. Now you can use desktop to support mobile, thats something special. I am also using Developer for some tasks like emailing (using Node ).

    I am also running for development/production purpose AA server in Leaseweb (dedicated 5 IPs, 100TB, 1000Mbps Leaseweb highly recommend ) using Abyss server as reverse Proxy but not interested anymore for Alpha server.

    So in short I try to find new solutions to use Alpha commercially without the need of Application server (iis or not).

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    I have resisted the urge to rant about the same topic. There have been times when I
    wanted to fly to Boston and drag the entire team into a corner to reacquaint them with
    life as a newbie to Alpha. I have lists upon lists (and a video or two) about how things
    could be better.

    While in most cases a solution was ultimately simple and was due to some trivial but
    non-obvious bit of knowledge I was missing, I wasted days finding many of them and
    might as well have coded in a native operating system language.

    This is particularly true when you already have substantial coding, database, and general
    development skills in multiple technologies and expect your knowledge and a good RAD
    tool to make both prototyping and release of a passable version 1.0 to be relatively quick.

    It has been my experience that there are great things about Alpha and there are a very
    large number of great and well organized videos and an active and helpful forum.

    And yet... if you do anything serious (commercial) and really get into the nitty gritty
    of perfectly aligned visual elements, multiple apps and UX components, and combining
    features (e.g. PDF, GPS, multi-UX, login/security, matched websites) that you are forced
    not simply to do some code... but do spend DAYS hunting through examples, the forum,
    videos, and the google universe.

    You don't simply need to understand a few things and add a little code... you have to become
    aware of the under-pinnings of Alpha and javascript. In fact, you really do have to gain
    fluency with javascript which wasn't something I initially expected.

    So, I agree that there is much that is good in Alpha. I have been supported in a positive
    and helpful manner by people on the forum and by Alpha personnel (including and especially
    Selwyn and Bob)
    .

    If I manage to release my app in the next while I hope to take a few days and submit a few
    sample videos geared like mini Zero-to-Everything lessons
    in concise manner with all manner
    of practical warnings about Idiosyncrasies and with complete mini-project with all code provided.


    I have some pretty decent videos geared towards my own team and learning but I do hope
    to produce a couple for the general public.

    Time and resources... always the challenge!

    Perhaps one suggestion to Alpha down the road is "spread the load". Perhaps a section of the help
    could be set aside for crowd-sourced input
    . While there is some risk in this and the community
    might need some oversight, perhaps gaps could be filled those of users who have and then
    resolve issues. Just thinking out loud.

    Alrighty. I'm in the middle of my own search for specific GPS location answers that are not
    addressed by the videos. Back to it...

  3. #33
    Alpha Software Employee Dave McCormick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    You guys are exactly right!

    The current help system is an exercise in frustration. That’s why over the past several months
    a small team of us have been working on a complete overhaul. We have taken all of our
    materials from the existing help system, the wiki, and other sources and have combined them
    into a new system.

    The system is just about in Beta, and should be ready for you to use shortly. We’ll send an email
    to our full mailing list when it’s ready.

    Here is a quick peek at the system. It features elastic search for quickly finding pages, a breadcrumb menu, and other features.
    There will also be feedback links on each page, so users can flag items that are unclear or inaccurate.

  4. #34
    "Certified" Alphaholic glenschild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Hey Dave

    Sounds very promising but......... you tease us with a "quick peek" but no link :-)
    Glen Schild



    My Blog


  5. #35
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Thanks for the update Dave. Eyes on.

  6. #36
    "Certified" Alphaholic iRadiate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave McCormick View Post
    Here is a quick peek at the system...
    Wow, that looks great Dave Took me a while to find the invisible link though

  7. #37
    "Certified" Alphaholic peteconway's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Allan - I feel your pain - what's the GPS issue keeping you awake?
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein, (attributed)
    US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Here is a quick peek at the system.
    where?

    I see now. This could be read as Here are some highlights of the system...
    Last edited by frankbicknell; 01-20-2016 at 07:12 PM.
    Win 10 64 Development, Win 7 64 WAS 11-1, 2, Win 10 64 AA-1,2, MySql, dbForge Studio The Best MySQL GUI Tool IMHO. http://www.devart.com/dbforge/mysql/studio/

  9. #39
    "Certified" Alphaholic kkfin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    All the respect to Dave McCormick with new help system. Recent posts shows how hard it can be to get developer to undestand written text

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Pete,

    Regarding your query:

    Quote Originally Posted by peteconway View Post
    Allan - I feel your pain - what's the GPS issue keeping you awake?

    I started a separate thread for my GPS-related issue. I'll update that in detail later today.

    I'll summarize quickly here partly as a relevant example of the less-than-obvious path to
    do what I presume is (or should be) a common mobile task, "user self-registration".

    Goal:
    • Mobile UX to allow user self-registration
    • Gather user location (via GPS)
    • Save new security info (Alpha security) and additional fields (latitude, longitude, and several other fields)
    Challenge:
    • Watched all the relevant videos
    • Getting an odd and unspecific "display" error in javascript when saving
    • Able to eventually save data but lat/long were not also displaying in the UX
    • None of the videos included downloadable samples... that would have helped
    • The videos don't say how the on-screen lat/long fields are populated (only the table fields)... so there is something assumed or actively happening that is not explained
    Resolution:
    • A migration of a DBF to a SQl-Server table lost an auto-increment spec and the result was not a SQL error but this odd "display" error. Fixed now... but took a while to sort out.
    • Per videos I presumed the there would be a place/method to name the on-screen fields for population, THEN save to table.
    • I found that the action-script involved just saves to the record and you have to actively repopulate the UX fields at the tail end of the AJAX call with an "e.control.???" assignment in XBASIC populated from "e.rv.__location???" values populated by the GPS call. Took a while to sort that out.


    So... between unspecific errors returning in the Chrome debugger, missing login or global errors in the UX, and often
    no return of the UX SQL Debug results, it was all very time consuming to sort out this seemingly-simple task.

    My mobile app needs user-self-registration, day-to-day login/logout, GPS location storage for all events,
    user self-management of additional account details, etc. There are simple examples of all of these in Alpha (good)
    but they are not polished or complete or demonstrated in a way that might actually work for a mobile app.

    Of course, it could simply be that I'm not that bright and it's completely obvious to everyone else!

    Cheers!

  11. #41
    "Certified" Alphaholic peteconway's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Well you seem to be having a hard time with it - I'm working on one of my apps that does most of this - i'll try and get some time tomorrow to document this for you.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein, (attributed)
    US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Pete... I have it working. It simply has left me with a set of questions about "best practice" that I will
    come back to later (they are documented).

    Even so, I appreciate the offer and will happily review how you're approaching things. Perhaps it's faster
    to just connect up on a GoToMeeting session. A quick walk-through might be less time consuming than
    alternatives.

    I will of course share my details to the thread when I get a little further in. My app exists and works; I'm
    simply going back and polishing up all the bits I bypassed earlier so I can release it.

    Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by peteconway View Post
    Well you seem to be having a hard time with it - I'm working on one of my
    apps that does most of this - i'll try and get some time tomorrow to document this for you.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Alpha has been "kicking butt and taking names" in the progress of the new help system, and it has quite a way to go yet, but it is going to be a real game-changer when it comes to tackling the learning curve involved in manipulating the Alpha code-behind.

    The deeper I get into developing with Alpha, the more I realize how difficult it must be to organize all of the different kinds of documentation for the multitude of features and combinations of scripting languages, interface/GUI features, for multiple platforms, and present all of this for developers of varying skill levels, all while the Alpha platform is evolving and improving almost daily.

    Talk about "herding cats"; man oh man!

    One exceptionally helpful addition to the video tutorials is the addition of a transcript which is searchable. This allows a search to target specific concepts or methods that may be included in a video tutorial, but are not the primary focus of the video. So many times I have discovered radically helpful information contained in a tutorial video that I have been working through to understand a completely unrelated topic, wishing there was a way to locate these gems without having to watch every video that I hope may hint at the solution I am seeking. The transcripts make this very easy!

    It will be a pleasure to approach the day with anticipation of accomplishment, rather than xenophobic dread which grew exponentially every time I required days of research to perform a simple function that could have been completed in minutes with the help of a comprehensive document system.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    The Alpha help system is coming along splendidly, but slowly.

    Since my company requires our application to be able to function when disconnected, and since our databases are fairly large, we have essentially bypassed nearly ALL of the convenience features provided by Alpha. This has placed my focus on writing JavaScript/Action JavaScript and CSS targeting the client side environment, which is the weakest side of Alpha development documentation.

    The learning curve has been exceptionally steep, particularly when learning how Alpha "wraps" user-written JavaScript within its own DOM, and how to traverse its nodes and manipulate elements, which usually must be done using one of a large number of poorly documented methods.

    My main task, as a starting point over the last year and a half, has been the development of an on-screen keyboard that is easy to use, and will not cause the same problems as the native OSK. Due to the lack of comprehensive documentation, this task has taken, without exaggeration, over a THOUSAND times the development time required in other environments (not strictly Alpha's fault, but they were large contributors to my angst...), but I finally have a useful OSK that can be called into view from any UX component, appearing in several selectable "modes" such as "pin-pad", "phone keypad", "phone alphabetic", "tablet alphabetic", calculators of several types, and the list goes on.

    It currently exists as a UX component that contains one window container wrapping one viewbox, one hidden text field, and 7 pre-configured orientation rules for "phone", "tablet", "desktop", and one "spare". Its mode and other selectors are stored in its "state" object, and since the keyboard and keypad "keys" are constructed in hand-coded HTML and CSS using "em" units, they render in exactly the same way on every platform without doing weird things like the native Alpha control styles do (which is the fault of the devices and how they render elements, not Alpha). All I have to do to use it is to copy the window control and its contents out of its UX project and paste it into the one I am working on, and then set its parameters from the control that launches it.

    I plan on spending the next two years trying to figure out how to make this OSK into a custom component. The pittance of information provided by Alpha concerning this topic is about enough to create a "Hello World" custom component, but not much more (How's that for "RAD"!)

    We bought Alpha Mentor time, but I felt like I was abusing it since it is not really meant for "basic training". Morris Porter and Selwyn Rabins pointed me in the right direction during our second session, so I decided then to get "back to basics" and work through Alpha from "the bottom up".

    What I discovered was that despite the fact that Alpha's documentation is exceptionally developer unfriendly, I would have had difficulty anyway because I wasn't familiar enough with JavaScript and CSS. After spinning-off into the W3 help pages for JavaScript and CSS, I eventually learned more about the way it is implemented in an Alpha mobile UX, and finally gained control over programmatic manipulation of DOM elements.

    Of course, this still can require a look into the Alpha documentation when some Javascript function doesn't quite work as expected, and of course, there is rarely enough information to be found there (it's sloooowly getting better), so I am then forced to "try everything" until something works, which is not the most efficient development path.

    For me, the steepest part of the learning curve involves understanding the internals of the mobile devices, and discovering how to produce consistent results on multiple devices, for landscape and portrait orientations, from a single Alpha Project.

    This task would present the same difficulty no matter what programming solution was being used for development.
    Last edited by mbunds; 09-28-2016 at 01:39 PM.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Well A5 is using it's own DOM [ Jquery style] as u say, perhaps might they consider in time to move a way from that take a peek a angular2 or Aurelia but that again is up to theme not me and i don't judge, check people on the forum about movement to towards Node.js

  16. #46
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Since my company requires our application to be able to function when disconnected, and since our databases are fairly large, we have essentially bypassed nearly ALL of the convenience features provided by Alpha.
    Hhmm...

    FWIW: Alpha provides quite exceptional disconnected capabilities including loading data into SQL Lite.

    If you are building on the DOM level I can't help but wonder why use a RAD tool like Alpha?

  17. #47
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
    Hhmm...

    FWIW: Alpha provides quite exceptional disconnected capabilities including loading data into SQL Lite.

    If you are building on the DOM level I can't help but wonder why use a RAD tool like Alpha?
    You can load data into SQLite, but if your data is much larger than 5 megs (the typical browser's "sandboxed" storage space), you'll have to use PhoneGap (or write a native application) to expose the native file system , and even then Alpha won't help reconcile the differences between the offline and the online databases without employing exotic, hand-written methods.

    The Alpha Web Application Server will provide a lot of back-end support for my project, particularly for the maintenance and management screens, but as for the almost "totally disconnected" apps that will be running on our mobile devices, we can't escape having to use the occasional AJAX callback in order to submit collected data and update internal databases. Besides that, Alpha also provides a lot of session management functions that I would not enjoy re-creating, not to mention its extremely fast and useful database handling functionality.

    While Alpha certainly does offer some excellent offline features, these quickly fall away when a project is taken out of the "pure Alpha" topology. The features that track and assist reconciliation of disconnected data tables appear to be rendered unusable if the developer takes it upon himself to manage a "disconnected" local database, because controls used to access the data tables don't work quite the same way, so to get the complete functionality provided by Alpha's automatic reconciliation, a developer would have to either code all of the reconciliation routines manually, or maintain two UX control sets, one to use while connected, and one to use while disconnected, along with methods for switching between the two.

    The organization of this project presents some mixed blessings, which is why I decided to tackle offline, client-side database management which I otherwise would have avoided.

    First, most of the data required for daily operation by the app is read-only, the bulk of which is filled with images. Since I don't like BLOBS, particularly in SQLite, these don't present much of a management issue, but they do require space that local device storage in the browser sandbox can't provide, and I don't want to try to access these particular images from the device gallery, so enter PhoneGap.

    Second, since the device-local databases are read-only except for the tables that store collected data, no reconciliation will have to be done; no two users will ever be operating on the same record, at least from the mobile clients.

    Finally, even in its most developed form, this project running on mobile devices can only progress to a point where the employee must halt work until other processes have been completed for this job. Then what? Our project is IN disconnected mode BECAUSE something failed, either the network, or the server. So what am I supposed to do with the collected data? Submit it to where? Until the connection is restored, the data is going nowhere, notifications will not be dispatched, so operations grind to a halt. I have a plan for such an emergency, but this still requires a connection to the Emergency NAS to allow printing of hard-copy "work-in-progress" documents.

    So basically, this project is an hybrid "online/offline" application, at least where the mobile devices are concerned, and it really doesn't NEED Alpha's auto-reconciliation, which is the only reason I considered tackling it, but it will still leverage the typical Alpha WAS callback functionality, which is why I didn't write a native app in Android Studio or Eclipse.

    Given the learning curve involved with developing specialized Alpha webapps, I probably could have been much farther along, having developed a much faster native application - on the client device. But writing the equivalent of the server-side of Alpha, or its database management system, is not something I would care to tackle.

    The real fun will begin when I get to the server side where I will have to convince XBasic to issue Windows API calls.

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Mark Bunds,

    IMHO:
    1. The Help system in Alpha is not for learning how to build an application. To build an application in Alpha one must know how to fit all the Alpha pieces into the context of an overall system. For that, one must turn to some kind of sample application that uses proper techniques for developing a large application in this environment. I think getting training from a 3rd party developer is probably the way to get started in Alpha.

    2. When developing a database application in Alpha, ask yourself if you can tie yourself to a single SQL vendor such as Microsoft SQL or MySQL and if you are going to be able to control the version of the database engine. If the answer is "Yes" to both of these, then look at leveraging the database by using Views, Stored Procedures, Triggers, Table-Valued procedures, etc. In places where alpha has difficulty working with multiple tables, let SQL do the hard work and let alpha see things as a flat table by just giving alpha a SQL view or procedure.

    3. Always keep in mind there is more than one way to do something in this environment. A lot of times the first way you see something demonstrated in the alpha videos or tutorials may not be the best way. For example, how many videos and tutorials have we seen where a Grid is based on a "table or view". In a real application a "table or view" based Grid isn't practical; it always seems better/easier to use a "SQL Select Statement", so the field lookups can be easily defined for the browse window. (NOTE: if you do choose a Grid instead of a UX, you have to be very careful about performance and usability on the target device. I think Lee said this in an earlier post, just go with UX's.)

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by parkjammer View Post
    ...While in most cases a solution was ultimately simple and was due to some trivial but
    non-obvious bit of knowledge I was missing, I wasted days finding many of them and
    might as well have coded in a native operating system language.

    This is particularly true when you already have substantial coding, database, and general
    development skills in multiple technologies and expect your knowledge and a good RAD
    tool to make both prototyping and release of a passable version 1.0 to be relatively quick.

    (Emphasis by commenter)

    It has been my experience that there are great things about Alpha and there are a very
    large number of great and well organized videos and an active and helpful forum.

    And yet... if you do anything serious (commercial) and really get into the nitty gritty
    of perfectly aligned visual elements, multiple apps and UX components, and combining
    features (e.g. PDF, GPS, multi-UX, login/security, matched websites) that you are forced
    not simply to do some code... but do spend DAYS hunting through examples, the forum,
    videos, and the google universe.

    You don't simply need to understand a few things and add a little code... you have to become
    aware of the under-pinnings of Alpha and javascript. In fact, you really do have to gain
    fluency with javascript which wasn't something I initially expected.
    I absolutely could not have presented the above sentiment any better!

    In Alpha, I have had to "extrapolate" methods from disparate tutorials, videos, and external searches to perform exceptionally simple functions,
    like programmatically changing button text, which has cost me weeks just to "figure things out." And if any subject requires intensive reference
    documentation, it's the subject surrounding mobile screen nuances, and how to get consistent results. I hate it when a layout that looks great on
    an iPhone, an Android Galaxy note, AND FireFox, but has subtle alignment issues on an Android Nokia, Google Chrome, and an Android tablet.

    I used to approach a day of programming with excitement, just loving to construct programs by trying new (well-documented) methods. But in
    Alpha, as soon as I run into some simple operation I wish to perform, having no immediately obvious solution, the dread sets in, because I know
    I'll be bouncing around the old and new Alpha help docs, the forums, the Internet, and watching videos of unrelated topics hoping to stumble upon
    a clue.

    Quote Originally Posted by parkjammer View Post
    Perhaps one suggestion to Alpha down the road is "spread the load". Perhaps a section of the help
    could be set aside for crowd-sourced input
    . While there is some risk in this and the community
    might need some oversight, perhaps gaps could be filled those of users who have and then
    resolve issues. Just thinking out loud...

    Now there's an idea! A read-only Wiki maintained by Alpha, supported by a user-editable Wiki that Alpha could review and the "fold" into the permanent one.

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by RichCPT View Post
    Mark Bunds,

    IMHO:
    1. The Help system in Alpha is not for learning how to build an application. To build an application in Alpha one must know how to fit all the Alpha pieces into the context of an overall system. For that, one must turn to some kind of sample application that uses proper techniques for developing a large application in this environment. I think getting training from a 3rd party developer is probably the way to get started in Alpha.

    2. When developing a database application in Alpha, ask yourself if you can tie yourself to a single SQL vendor such as Microsoft SQL or MySQL and if you are going to be able to control the version of the database engine. If the answer is "Yes" to both of these, then look at leveraging the database by using Views, Stored Procedures, Triggers, Table-Valued procedures, etc. In places where alpha has difficulty working with multiple tables, let SQL do the hard work and let alpha see things as a flat table by just giving alpha a SQL view or procedure.

    3. Always keep in mind there is more than one way to do something in this environment. A lot of times the first way you see something demonstrated in the alpha videos or tutorials may not be the best way. For example, how many videos and tutorials have we seen where a Grid is based on a "table or view". In a real application a "table or view" based Grid isn't practical; it always seems better/easier to use a "SQL Select Statement", so the field lookups can be easily defined for the browse window. (NOTE: if you do choose a Grid instead of a UX, you have to be very careful about performance and usability on the target device. I think Lee said this in an earlier post, just go with UX's.)
    The Alpha documentation is barely rounded-out enough to provide comprehensive reference, much less training for app construction. No matter how advanced or experienced a developer may be, when documented answers cannot be found for simple questions in just a few minutes, the documentation is lacking.

    That's really, really excellent advice concerning database application development! Our project employs a fourth-form normalized schema that cannot use referential integrity since the data elements are related by linking tables, and the permutations of the result sets prohibit the use of stored procedures in any conventional manner, but triggers and table-valued procedures may have some traction in the maintenance table sets.

    I've never liked data-bound controls, and although Alpha does offer a much greater set of features for bound-data display than others do, I would much rather manage my own SQL:

    Code:
    SELECT  CONCAT(scp_jobs.jobnum_pre, '-', scp_jobs.jobnum_su)  AS Job_number, scp_jobs.start_dt AS Date_started, scp_jobs.compl_dt AS Date_completed,  CONCAT(scp_cover_content.cover_jobnum, '-', scp_jobs.jobnum_su)  AS Scope_job_number, scp_cover_content.cover_date, scp_cover_content.cover_logo, scp_cover_content.cover_title, scp_cover_content.cover_company, scp_cover_content.cover_office_ph, scp_cover_content.cover_fax_ph, scp_cover_content.cover_equipment_title, scp_cover_content.cover_purpose_line, scp_cover_content.cover_instruction_line, scp_cover_content.cover_customer_name, scp_cover_content.cover_rignum, scp_cover_content.cover_assetnum, scp_cover_content.cover_manufacturer, scp_cover_content.cover_model, scp_cover_content.cover_serial, scp_cover_content.cover_dnv_abs_id, scp_cover_content.cover_instruction_paragraph1, scp_cover_content.cover_instruction_paragraph2, scp_chapter.heading AS Chapter, scp_chapter_instructions.instruction AS Chapter_instruction, scp_chapter_instructions.type AS Chapter_type, scp_section.heading AS Section, scp_section_instructions.instruction AS Section_instruction, scp_section_instructions.type AS Section_instruction_type, scp_block.heading AS Block, scp_block_instructions.instruction AS Block_instruction, scp_block_instructions.type AS Block_instruction_type, scp_block_comments.comments, scp_block_controls.control, scp_block_controls.control_x, scp_block_controls.control_y, scp_block_controls.control_x_size, scp_block_controls.control_y_size, scp_block_controls.control_text_a, scp_block_controls.control_text_b, scp_block_controls.control_val_send, scp_block_controls.control_val_recv 
    FROM scp_jobs scp_jobs
    	 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_scopes scp_scopes
    		 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_scope_cover_link scp_scope_cover_link
    			 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_cover_content scp_cover_content
    				 ON  scp_scope_cover_link.cover_id = scp_cover_content.id 
    			 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_scope_chapter_link scp_scope_chapter_link
    				 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_chapter scp_chapter
    					 ON  scp_scope_chapter_link.chapter_id = scp_chapter.id 
    				 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_chapter_instructions_link scp_chapter_instructions_link
    					 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_chapter_instructions scp_chapter_instructions
    						 ON  scp_chapter_instructions_link.chapter_instructions_id = scp_chapter_instructions.id 
    					 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_chapter_section_link scp_chapter_section_link
    						 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_section scp_section
    							 ON  scp_chapter_section_link.section_id = scp_section.id 
    						 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_section_instructions_link scp_section_instructions_link
    							 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_section_instructions scp_section_instructions
    								 ON  scp_section_instructions_link.section_instructions_id = scp_section_instructions.id 
    							 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_section_block_link scp_section_block_link
    								 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_block scp_block
    									 ON  scp_section_block_link.block_id = scp_block.id 
    								 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_block_instructions_link scp_block_instructions_link
    									 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_block_instructions scp_block_instructions
    										 ON  scp_block_instructions_link.block_instructions_id = scp_block_instructions.id )
    									 ON  scp_section_block_link.cover_id = scp_block_instructions_link.cover_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.chapter_id = scp_block_instructions_link.chapter_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.section_id = scp_block_instructions_link.section_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.block_id = scp_block_instructions_link.block_id 
    								 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_block_comments_link scp_block_comments_link
    									 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_block_comments scp_block_comments
    										 ON  scp_block_comments_link.block_comments_id = scp_block_comments.id )
    									 ON  scp_section_block_link.cover_id = scp_block_comments_link.cover_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.chapter_id = scp_block_comments_link.chapter_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.section_id = scp_block_comments_link.section_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.block_id = scp_block_comments_link.block_id 
    								 LEFT OUTER JOIN (scp_block_controls_link scp_block_controls_link
    									 LEFT OUTER JOIN scp_block_controls scp_block_controls
    										 ON  scp_block_controls_link.block_controls_id = scp_block_controls.id )
    									 ON  scp_section_block_link.cover_id = scp_block_controls_link.cover_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.chapter_id = scp_block_controls_link.chapter_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.section_id = scp_block_controls_link.section_id  AND  scp_section_block_link.block_id = scp_block_controls_link.block_id )
    								 ON  scp_section_instructions_link.cover_id = scp_section_block_link.cover_id  AND  scp_section_instructions_link.chapter_id = scp_section_block_link.chapter_id  AND  scp_section_instructions_link.section_id = scp_section_block_link.section_id )
    							 ON  scp_chapter_section_link.cover_id = scp_section_instructions_link.cover_id  AND  scp_chapter_section_link.chapter_id = scp_section_instructions_link.chapter_id  AND  scp_chapter_section_link.section_id = scp_section_instructions_link.section_id )
    						 ON  scp_chapter_instructions_link.cover_id = scp_chapter_section_link.cover_id  AND  scp_chapter_instructions_link.chapter_id = scp_chapter_section_link.chapter_id )
    					 ON  scp_scope_chapter_link.cover_id = scp_chapter_instructions_link.cover_id  AND  scp_scope_chapter_link.chapter_id = scp_chapter_instructions_link.chapter_id )
    				 ON  scp_scope_cover_link.cover_id = scp_scope_chapter_link.id )
    			 ON  scp_scopes.cover = scp_scope_cover_link.id )
    		 ON  scp_jobs.scope_key = scp_scopes.id  
    WHERE scp_jobs.jobnum_pre = '014314'

  21. #51
    Member
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    Bruce Jonson
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
    Hhmm...
    If you are building on the DOM level I can't help but wonder why use a RAD tool like Alpha?
    Yep , agree

  22. #52
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    eric
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    what u see in common RAD is easy learn ?but some times overhead the goals of your project, pending on your choice. Regular u see it's back to the keyboard, eq gulp, bower bootstrap, npm, aurila, angular etc spliting client from server behavior. But A5 is still a good tool if u need a shortcut like other RAD tools on the market u choose.

  23. #53
    Member
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    Paul
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Mark, you killed me with this bit
    "I absolutely abhor help systems which are loaded with all kinds of verbiage touting what a "feature" can do, but contain no syntactical examples which leaves me no option but to search forums or browse loosely-organized help files for more information, and then, upon finding it, having to struggle through experimentation because the help section is too terse or too ambiguously worded to provide direct, comprehensive help."

    How many times have I felt that frustration, only to discover how simple what I wanted to achieve really is.

    BTW - I realise this reply is somewhat later than the original post, which I have only just seen.

    Looking forward to seeing the new help. Maybe then, I'll resubscribe :)
    Last edited by chortle; 09-29-2016 at 02:27 PM.

  24. #54
    "Certified" Alphaholic kkfin's Avatar
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    Kenneth
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Quote Originally Posted by bea2701 View Post
    But A5 is still a good tool if u need a shortcut like other RAD tools on the market u choose.
    Alpha is RAD but you are not forced to use it as just RAD tool. You have choices and you can use your own skills. Alpha allow (or did allow) it. But I want so say in same breath that how Alpha is now developing AA is confusing. They talk about components but almost all new functionality/feature is available just in UX (and maybe in grid). I would like to build the application from much more little pieces.

    If you examine how MS have build their new ASP.NET Core you notice that IDE(Visual Studio) is number one. You build your software functionality adding little things.
    So adding a class/function you get that feature available from framework. The result is clean code just what you need to run you software. For reason or other Alpha has totally forget their build in IDE. Now we are using huge UX component for every little task for example login. Why?

    Also documentation is now difficult to write because we are not using functions but tapping check boxes everywhere.

  25. #55
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    eric
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    I think every modern RAD tools has overhead in UI and generated code because of the complexity of these days user request some next RAD is a time saver [ why else buy it ] the alternative is back to the keyboard using plain old code instructions like ASP CORE, once u know RAD this u ever go back to that commandline console

  26. #56
    "Certified" Alphaholic CharlesParker's Avatar
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    Charles Parker
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Maybe what they should do is EVERYONE at Alpha for one week devote all of their energy to the HELP section - divide up the sections and go write documentation, date it and sign off as the author. Next month - swap out sections review and continue.
    While I am ALWAYS impressed with the NEW features and rapid bug fixes, perhaps it is time to really give the help system a good run through the fire!

    To be honest I either watch a video or search the forums - it's just easier for me to learn that way. I like to see working code not a snippet with the word "foo" involved. If I never see the word "foo" again I would not be sad, in fact I hate that I just wrote it in an example of why I hate it - but I digress.
    Keep the videos coming!
    NWCOPRO: Nuisance Wildlife Control Software My Application: http://www.nwcopro.com "Without forgetting, we would have no memory at all...now what was I saying?"

  27. #57
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    In the past that been tried serval times, even A5 was looking for a technical writer how is not easy to find. u see these questions also with other vendors, i think A5 is doing the best they can with fast changeing IT market technologies to day

  28. #58
    Member
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    Mark Bunds
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    The one-year anniversary of this post is approaching, and after realizing that I would be better off working with the Alpha Mentors AFTER really digging-in and learning all I could by following the suggested learning path, I have come to the conclusion that the actual problem is that I am completely and entirely retarded.

    Apparently, I have always been too stupid to realize just how utterly retarded I really am!

    I mean, come on, only an idiot would take as long as I have with this "Low-Code" and "Ultra-Simple" environment to produce the simple app that I have assembled so far, having only a custom virtual keyboard, and two lists running inside two panel cards.

    A few years ago, I created a much more complex system of screens using C# and WPF from scratch, with no exposure to C# beyond its similarity to VB.NET (and C, with which I have extensive experience), and none at all to WPF.

    But despite having no knowledge of these products, somehow I was able to grasp the workflow of the VMMV paradigm, and work through the coupling of the WPF "code-behind", including the construction of, and connections to the databases. With all this stacked against me, I produced a robust commercial application in six months.

    I guess Visual Studio projects are tailored to be easy for toddlers and the mentally handicapped, such as myself, because even though Alpha Anywhere is universally touted as being exceptionally fast and simple to learn, I am still struggling with things like "Multiple Layouts" in list controls, and the intricacies of the "Responsive layout settings" in the UX Properties tab.

    I mean, these things are absolute "no-brainers", and only a complete blithering moron, like myself, would fail to grasp their use because if controls like these required any comprehensive explanation at all, there would be more than a few lines of documentation and a couple of videos.

    It seems to me that I should be innately able to understand the effects of having the Alpha code "helping" to encapsulate custom JavaScript functions, and exactly know how the scope of the vars, objects, and CSS are enhanced or inhibited by these wrappers, but I don't; I suppose because I just don't have this born-in knowledge that is absolutely instinctive to normal Alpha developers.

    It's pretty clear to me now that I had no business attempting to work with such a comprehensive product, given my inability to simply glance at the lessons and start producing world-class mobile apps.

    After I finish working through my current struggle with why some properties in a "responsive layout" rule set change upon rotating the device, and some don't, or why the lists with multiple layouts fail to change THEIR properties, or why at least a million other things JUST DO NOT WORK AS THE TUTORIALS SUGGEST they should, I am planning to find a work-around that will support my ineptness.

    Probably, if I don't forget how to breathe between now and then, and assuming I still have a job, I will extract all of the code from the compiled and published UX, and move it into a vastly simpler programming environment, tailored for simple minds like mine. Like Eclipse, or Android Studio; places where I stand a fighting chance of being productive.

    Alpha has done all they can for me, offering to help me make up for my inability to work the product with its existing documentation with a generous offer of discounted training materials, and discounted tickets to the "Alpha-Dev-Con".

    I still have something like 10 hours of mentor time left, but I just don't think I am competent enough to make effective use of it; every resolution seems to lead to more questions for which there are no answers, and all of the one-liners and "place holders" in the docs are so incredibly slow to be filled.

    I wrote great Kudos about the beginnings of the new documentation, but its progress is not outpacing my need to be productive, and nothing at all has changed in regards to the painful path required to make the simplest things happen.

    Alpha was a great investment, regardless, and no other product can beat its awesome database management features, but it is just not ready for prime-time for anything but the simplest mobile apps, at least for a new developer.

    Believe me when I say I have given this project more than its due patience, and I now solidly wish I had started with another platform.

  29. #59
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    David Kates
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    I wish you had as well... as much as your verbose posts are a hoot to read. Yikes... you do go on... and on... and on. But I do hope you report back on your success with whatever other development environment you choose. Now... we'll shall fall into yet another pit of response posts.

  30. #60
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Lee Vasic
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    Default Re: Something needs to be done about the help system...

    Are you sure you were using Alpha? My experience has been the exact opposite.

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