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Thread: A4V7 is it worth it?

  1. #31
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    Jeff Fried
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    In thinking through the various discussion points of this thread, there's a point not brought out explicitly that may be implicit in many of the comments by A4 advocates.

    It is simply this. Many of us have invested much time and effort in the Alpha Four series, to the point where we have become true experts in a skill developed over the years. It's a skill that yields results -- i.e., there's nothing obsolete about this skill. Many large (much data, much functionality, many users, etc.) applications developed in Alpha Four exist without the need to be rewritten or migrated to a true Windows product. In fact, many of these applications are best used in a keystroke rather than mouse oriented way, given the fast typing skills of data entry personnel who are more productive when they're not handling a mouse. Of course there are the other types of applications where the use of a mouse in a true GUI environment is the more productive method.

    The world, therefore, is divided into the A4-preferred apps and the A5-preferred apps. No one size fits all.

    But my bigger point is this. Those of us who have invested in the development of a skill to produce professional, functionally advanced A4 apps are reluctant to just discard that skill simply to substitute A5 in its place. One can master both A4 and A5 and find a place for each.

    Therefore, I would advocate, to the extent possible, that Alpha Software find a way to keep the fundamental A4 development model going into the future operating systems where DOS is not likely to play a part. If that can be done, then those with the investment in A4 can continue to perfect the art of A4 development. And if A4 can be extended with functionality to versions 8, 9, 10, etc., I can't see why part of the world won't view A4 as their product of choice, and thereby continue to purchase A4 in favor of the true GUI databases.

  2. #32
    Rick Sloan
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I never thought of the time involved, but your right, Jeff. I started with Alpha with version 2. Its got to be getting close to 10 years.

    The app I have built for my office is simply fill in the blanks. I even have the mouse feature cancelled at start-up. My office will never need the GUI.

    You have made one of the best points yet. If you factored in the cost of time involved to get to where we are today, my application is worth a fortune.

    RS

  3. #33
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    Robert C. Smith
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Hello Everyone,

    This is a great forum, your absolutly correct about the time invested in A4. I developed an application for my company about 11 years ago, it started out in dbIII and moved to alpha, where it really became user friendly( ie no mouse)just simple key commands and menus. When we added a store front to our company it was easy to build a Point of Sale module complete with scanner,cash draw, pole display and serial receipt printer. took about 45 minutes. And its fully intrgrated with our current sales/service database.Any body we hire can be trained in less than 1 hour to use our POS, and being a low paying job there is a bit if turn over.The ability to create something this fast and easy is not because I'm a genius, it's due to the ease of A4 and the many years of using and developing with it. I almost hate to use the word develope because it makes me sound like a real programmer which I am not.I have developed and sold many a4 applications, The people that use them love the ease of use. Should they too have to suffer with a GUI. I hope not.
    Bob

  4. #34
    Michael Squyres
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I may be letting the cat out of the bag, but if it supports the arguments for making A4 permanently available through future "enhancements" of windoz, then it's worth it.

    In despair, I purchased A5v4.5 because I could see the end of my a4v6 coming with W2K and WXP. Alpha Software people told me that there would be no further development of A4. So I purchased A4v4.5 and began the long transition of perfectly good a4 databases, field rules, layouts, etc. into a product which I neither needed nor wanted.

    After several frustrating months of spending whatever free time I had to work on my conversions, I received the blanket email from Richard announcing A4v7. I emailed Richard, telling him my story that I had bought a5v4.5 because his folks had advised me to do so because a4v6 would soon die and that there would be no upgrades.

    I asked Richard if I could trade my CD of a5v4.5 for one of the new CDs for av47, and he readily said, "yes." The trade has been accomplished, and I am once again as ahppy as a pig in mud.

    To me, Richard's quick willingnes to do this is an indication that he understands that there remains a strong and continued market for development of a4 products. Yea, Richard!

    Mike Squyres

  5. #35
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Ken,

    Well spoken! I too have used both A4 and A5 although I must admit I tossed A5v1 in the garbage and didn't buy the next version until v4. No dust collecting here. (Say, I still have VB6 with books & books. Now, if you want an albatross??? email me, it's cheap!!!) Made the jump to windows with Access 97 and then A5v4. Never really thought either was that difficult to learn. I've developed a fairly complex app w/o much xbasic.

    Gotta also say the message board is tremendous asset! W/o it, many may have gone back to A4. As far as the documentation goes, well.....Alpha has heard all about that, loud and clear. I will be extremely surprised if the next version of documentation is anything less than the quality of documentation for A4.

    I'm really looking foward to the release of v5. I think it's going to be a real hummer. There will be so many things that v5 will have that will NEVER be put into any possible future version of A4! I know they say, 'never say never' but I agree with Ken. Billy will eventually be rid of DOS and that leaves A4 on antique machines. V5 and v6 will (will the 2 be released together?) have too much invested and too many rich features to ever put them into a DOS version. I'm not a betting man but I'd put $$$ on V5 being very compatible in ease of use to A4.

    Additionally, there will be little, if any, survival of A4 in the years ahead. The new releases of software will no doubt hardly, if at all, be able to run on the antiques. They'll be simply too slow.

    That alone, spells the doom and gloom for A4 some years from now. I hear what you A4 lovers are saying (remember many of us still love A4 even though we use A5). Selwyn needs to be commended for the release of A4v7 but the hand writing is on the wall.

    kenn

  6. #36
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Or.....did Richard understand the value of a satisfied customer. I'd put $$ on that rather than continued development of A4, which might see a relase again sometime down the road but it won't be anything spectacular. A5v5 will be spectacular and I doubt they will want A4 to compete with it head to head. Besides, DOS will eventually be on antique machines in the years ahead.

    kenn

  7. #37
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    DOS is Dying? Are you saying there will be no command prompt or console? How will we able to start or stop all those nice little proceses that are running? most of which do not have gui interfaces. If it is there is always Linux,it's growing by leaps and bounds. Even Ibm is setting up and selling its servers with it instead of NT, It can be used from command line or gui.Fast and stable unfortunatly it is fine for a system that does not run windoz programs but a pain to have to reboot to run word or whatever and we all know big bill has wiped out most of the competition. But seriously we are not saying we can't learn A5, were saying we dont want to give up all the knowledge we have in A4, or the POP that a4 has.

  8. #38
    Michael Squyres
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    In my 2nd paragraph, I hope that it's obvious that I was talking about having purchased A5v4.5. Sorry for the typo.

    Mike Squyres

  9. #39
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    DOS might still be around to some extent but the future for software is not writing DOS applications. I agree with all that's been said about A4. However, even with the release of v7, it's life is limited. Yes, it will still be used but I'd be really surprised it much more serious development went into it. It' doesn't make sense to put the time and effort into A5 and at the same time enhance A4 to look and feel like A5. Tait gonna happin'!!

    That's my speculation.

    kenn

  10. #40
    Rick Sloan
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Sorry Ken,

    Many of us disagree with you.

    We are not talking about a DOS application here. We are talking about a fully integrated windoz A4....written in windows language...but simply have the file names the same as the DOS a4.

    It can be done without the GUI. It will run faster than regular Win apps because there is no GUI. It will still have the pop.

    Why would a company like Alpha want to make a product like this? A company always wants to "cover all bases". As one of the other A4 members aptly put it, "One size does not fit all".

    1) There are many companies out there that would like to be able to continue to use the A4 they have spent many years learning.

    2) It is easy to learn and use (compared to A5). This has been substantiated by many users on this string alone.

    3) Once put in the windoz "language" it will be there forever. The initial cost to Alpha would be there, but unless gates decides to change the whole windoz language which is unlikely, the new a4 will be there for.... "countless" years. Alpha will make back the investment "countless" times over the years (V8, 9, 10...).

    4) A5 will be used for apps needed for GUI, and A4 will be used for anyone else that does not require the GUI (which covers all bases for Alpha). Should a company put all of their eggs in one basket or diversify?

    5) Word will quickly spread around in the computer industry that there is a program such as A4, that actually relates to the computer language they are familiar with. Many people still want to continue to use the terminology they have come to learn over the years as DOS users. New users will have the opportunity to choose (GUI or no GUI).

    A4 is not "dead". A4 can be transformed to stand the test of time. I'll bet not only current A4 and some A5 users would continue in the A4 windoz format, but there will be many generations of new users.

    If you like A5 great. Many A5 users don't and would like a windoz A4. The only reason many purchased A5 is because they thought A4 (dos) was dead. That is why I purchased A5v1. I thought dos was dying and I had to make a move. I looked and found the learning curve too great and TIME CONSUMING. To me it was/is a low cost frisby. I did not understand it, nor to this day do I or my company need it. After seeing A5, I came up with a brilliant plan. I will still use a4v6 with windoz 98 (with a windoz A4 that will never be an issue).

    We are not saying that there is no place for A5. There definitely is. We are saying many of us (a4 and A5 users) do not need it. Many...many other people out there (new users) should have a choice of what they want to get into, personally or for their company.

    I have not upgraded (even with new equipment) from windoz 98 because I found Alpha v6 worked fine with this product. I have purchased nothing but HP printers because they continue to accept DOS printer language. The point I am making is that some day this will change.

    We have to call Alpha by phone or write through this forum and tell Alpha we want to continue to use the best DB product ever developed for non programmers.

    I will say this to Alpha. People will use the A4 product. There is a silent majority out there waiting.

    A4v7 is just the start.

    Let's respond people.

    RS

  11. #41
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    This is a really interesting thread and I just had to throw my 2 cents in.

    I continue to be amazed at the number of people out there still using DOS based databases in business. Lawyers, doctors, and, especially, POS (point of sale) applications. I presume the POS apps are often DOS based because they run across networks and speed is important - don't want to hold up the customer.

    My guess - DOS support is going to be around longer than most people think. There are just too many DOS apps (not just Alpha) still in daily use out there. So, my suggestion is to keep A4 going as a DOS app.

    As for a Windows version of A4, I don't think it's feasible. First, probably the only market would be current A4 users. Certainly you aren't going to get any 20 year olds to use it because they've all learned to expect the ability to work with things like DDE, OLE, ODBC, ActiveX, etc. (How often they actually use them is another story.) Heck, I hope we can get some 20 year olds to use A5v5!! Those youngsters think us old fogies are really strange because we like to use DOS commands - even after proving that it's faster, they still think it's "too old fashioned". (Although I think it really means, "I don't know how to do it so I'll just make fun of it and keep on doing what I know how to do.")

    I find the keyboarding issue interesting, too. Using the keyboard is definitely faster - especially for a touch typist. BUT, I've tried to get people to use the keyboard options many times but they keep going back to the mouse. Supposedly it's "easier" because they don't have to remember which key to push. (Duh, push the letter that's underlined on the button!) This from people who have dozens of their friend's phone numbers memorized! (OK, many have them programmed into cell phones now but they used to have them memorized.)

    One of the "problems" I've discovered when converting A4 to A5 is that I always find myself adding Windows-only features because they will make things much easier. A straight menu-item-by-menu-item conversion is possible but seldom done. I did one that come pretty close, including very little need for using the mouse, but the customer still wanted a number of new features once I showed them what could be done. And, every time I go over there, I find them using the mouse!!

    Some of the advantages of A5 is that you can fit things on the screen better and, I believe, make them more readable at the same time. Of course, report appearance is much better due to the Windows drivers.

    The biggest disadvantage of A5 is that scripting is completely different. However, action scripting can do nearly everything that A4 does but without typing anything. Expressions and calculated fields are almost identical - they just have to be reconstructed in the Windows environment because you can't cut-and-paste from a DOS app.

    Now read the first line of the previous paragraph the read on... One of the biggest advantages of A5 is that scripting is completely different. A4 scripts can be very hard to decipher by someone who didn't create them and even hard for the original creator after a few months have passed - I know; I've done it both ways. Action scripts are very easy to read - even 2 years later. Xbasic is also easy to read. Compare:

    A4:
    cosales{enter}lfsbvibf

    Now, before reading on, determine EXACTLY what is happening above.

    What is form "b"? What is index "b"? And, did you catch the significance of the "f" on the end?




    Same thing in A5:
    form.view( "sales" )
    :Sales.index_set( "sales_order" )
    :Sales.find()

    Ahah! We are viewing the Sales form and letting the user find a specific sales order!!

    Now, was that really so difficult?? One big time consumer for many of my apps is updates and debugging. With Action scripts or Xbasic, it is often faster because I don't have to jump back and forth to determine which index, form, report, range, update, etc. is being called - the script makes sense all on its own. Start putting in some A4 dialog boxes and it gets even worse. I'd prefer debugging/updating Xbasic any day!

    By the way, the above can all be done with Action Scripting which just uses drag-and-drop to assign the appropriate actions - no Xbasic required. Unfortunately, I can't "type" an action script onto this message board because it is displayed graphically.

    (I may go back and get some samples of moderately complex A4 scripts and convert them to Xbasic to see the difference. If I find time to do it, I'll post them here. Might be interesting for all of us - I know it would be interesting to me. Even though I've done conversions, I've never made a 1-1 comparison.)

    One final note that came to mind as I was reviewing this...
    One of the diffences between A4 scripts and A5 scripts is that A5 requires you to think in some detail about what you want to do before creating a section of script. In A4, you simply start the recorder and type in the keystrokes - thinking as you go. This may be one of the reasons that people have trouble with the conversion. The language isn't really that difficult; it's the thought process that's different.

  12. #42
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Rick,

    I guess this is the part of what you're saying that I don't understand:

    'We are talking about a fully integrated windoz A4....written in windows language...but simply have the file names the same as the DOS a4. It can be done without the GUI.'

    Taken literally, I disagree. Like it or not, the GUI *is* Windows.

    Which language are you proposing be used to build something that:
    a) is keyboard driven like A4;
    b) that operates as quickly as A4;
    c) that is 100% compatible with all other Windows applications and devices (fax, email, internet, new printers, scanners, bar code devices, jpeg, pdf)

    I don't think such a language exists. Indeed, if I recall correctly many companies went bust trying to do what you are proposing.

    Consider an example from another field. Compare the DOS version of Quicken with the Windows version. Is Intuit selling the DOS version? Is Intuit supporting the DOS version? Why is the Windows version so different?

    -- tom

  13. #43
    Michael Squyres
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    Default RE: Conversion from A4 to A5

    Cal,

    All of this I understand, but my reasonably complex A4 databases have never gotten much into scripting. You are correct that subsequent deciphering and alteration of scripts can be a chore, but perhaps not such a major burden compared to the other obstacles encountered in an A4 -> A5 conversion. I have put much, much more development into field rules and layouts than I have into scripting. I find it to be mind-numbing to consider the hundreds (even thousands) of manual conversions I would have to make just "stay even" after a transfer to A5. When evaluating this conversion, I decided that I would do it only if I absolutely had to do it, i.e., if A4 were going to die because of "upgrades" in DOZ. A4v7 came along, and the need for the conversion has been deferred, perhaps indefinitely.

    If I recall, the conversion from DOS Quicken to DOZ Quicken was straightforward: I think I just loaded the new diskettes and they picked up all my previous data, interrelationships, etc. Same with TurboTax. I have never understood why there cannot be a similar path for an A5 conversion.

    Is it really impossible to create a conversion routine which will transfer the field rules and the layouts from A4 to A5? Or is it just that Alpha Software doesn't think there is enough of a market to make it worthwhile?

    If such a conversion program existed (from Alpha Software or from some other developer), I would make the change to A5 in a very brief moment.

    Mike

  14. #44
    Rick Sloan
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    Default RE: Windoz A4

    Hi Cal And Tom.

    Maybe I'm letting the cat out of the bag, but I got the information about being able to have a windoz A4 from Mr Rabins himself. Seemingly it can be done; it will still have the pop of A4. He is waiting to see if there is support enough for a4v7 before bringing in a team to convert it.

    Windoz is just an operating system to run your computer. If you write a program to run with this operating system, you can call the fields whatever you want. The only reason gates and windoz came up with the new terms in the first place was to force people to buy it. There is a way to write a windoz a4 program.

    The days of gates being able to force companies to follow his lead are dwindling. He is currently having his knuckles rapped for that as we speak.

    I did not make this up. We have to show there is a market and support for a4v7 before anything else will be done.

    RS

  15. #45
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    Default RE: Windoz A4

    Hi Rick.

    It would be great if indeed you are right about Mr Rabins is indeed developing an A4 to run natively for windows, I would love to see this.
    But don't you think that would defeat the purpose of Alhpa 5?
    Why take the time and cost to develop and sell a complete windows database Alpha package when you could put it towards porting the DOS version to windows?
    The reason I feel is that even though we would all love to see a true windows version of A4 it isn't going to happen.
    Just so you know I love A4 it is an awsome package, and I have been trying to get used to and like A5 vr3 to the current version which I purchased version 4.5.
    I still find it is not as good or even close to A4, but we must be realistic, DOS programs are fading into the distance, and if anyones to blame I would blame MicroSoft for this as this is there quest, to have everything and everyone moved to a pure windows environement.

    Thanks
    Jeff

  16. #46
    David Mason
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Jeff,

    I have a great skill too. I am maybe the best side draft su carburetor mechanic around. They had to quit making those about 30 years ago because of epa. I never learned the next step, so now I cannot work on fuel injection. I loved those old carbs.

    Dos is Dead and I do not believe Alpha will try to move my old friend a4 to windows. That would have been done a long time ago if feasible.

    Discussing this is terrible - I have old dos apps too, and they work real good in a4v6. I have and am rewriting in a4v4.5 right now and some had already been moved to a5v1. I like that version too.

    Dave

  17. #47
    Rick Sloan
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    Default RE: Windoz A4

    Hi Jeff

    You are quite right. There will always be a need and a place for A5. It will have the GUI. As I have said many times in this string, A4 will be a choice for people who do not require the GUI. Many of us do not, but would like the benefit of faxing and E-mailing from within the program. You know, office type stuff.

    If, for instance, I owned a real estate company that required a picture of the house along with say, a virtual tour (which would allow good use of the GUI) I would not hestitate in purchasing A5.

    There are millions of offices (from the largest corportations to the smallest "home based" businesses) that do not require the GUI. I dare say there are AT LEAST the same number of non-GUI companies as there are companies that would benefit from the GUI. That alone would make it a viable business venture for ALPHA if properly marketed.

    If someone initially used A4 and then found some time down the road a need for the GUI, logic would dictate there could be a simple transfer of all data because A4 would be truly written for Windoz. Alpha could even market a "transfer" program because of this fact.

    A4v7 is a great stop gap. The program now seems to work fine (especially after the patch)....but I emphasis stop gap. A windoz version would offer so much more, without the learning curve.

    On the business side, Alpha is in a unique situation. They have a guaranteed market share right from the get-go. As soon as the A4 windoz version is marketed, all current A4 users WILL (for obvious reasons) purchase it. There are probably people who (after purchasing A5) will revert back. Not bad, huh? There are not too many companies out there that can boast that kind of loyalty AND CLOUT.

    Alpha 4 is simply the best Database program out there for non programmers, and a Windoz version will simply continue this great tradition.

    RS

  18. #48
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    Default RE: Conversion from A4 to A5

    Based on Rick's comments, it will be interesting to see if and what Alpha comes up with in the way of A4 for Windoz. It can probably be can be done. The question is, "Is it worth it for Alpha?" After all, they are in business to make money.

    The CONVERSION issue: (i.e., not refering to A4 for Windoz)

    Although I understand what you mean with your Quicken comparison, I don't think this is really a good comparison. Since Quicken is an application, you are comparing two applications and saying that the data in the DOS application was seamlessly converted to the Windows application. Looking at it from that perspective, I can say that the data for all of the A4 DOS applications that I have converted was able to be seamlessly converted to the A5 application. HOWEVER, I had to do a lot of work to build the A5 application just like many programmers had to work many hours to build the Quicken for Windows application.

    "I have put much, much more development into field rules and layouts than I have into scripting."
    I'm sure this isn't true of everyone (at least it wasn't for me) but it's probably not uncommon and it certainly brings up a good point. If I were going to list an order of priority for conversion from A4 to A5, it would be something like this:
    1. Field rule conversion. (They are basically the same but cut-and-paste isn't possible.)
    2. Calculated fields in forms/reports.
    3. Index definitions.
    4. Report layouts. (This is probably very difficult.)

    It seems to me that items 1-3 might not be terribly difficult but #4 is probably a real killer.

    FYI: After making the "cut-and-paste isn't possible" comment, I experimented a bit with the documenter. It is possible to print to a generic text printer and then open that document in a Windows app such as WordPad in order to cut and paste the rules, calc fields, and indexes. That will at least make things faster than a completely manual rebuild. Wish I'd thought of it sooner.

    As far as scripts go, I think from A4 to A5 this would be next to impossible - too much difference in basic concepts.

    The reason I don't list forms at all is that I would find it minimally useful for a conversion from A4 to A5. (Note that I'm still talking conversion here.) I've done screen dumps of complex forms so I can see the general layout but find that I can usually make the forms much more user friendly in A5 so they are often significantly modified. Building most forms is pretty easy so I don't see a lot of value here - at least not for me.

  19. #49
    David Mason
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I just left a customer whom I made a payroll app for about 8 years ago and updtaed it several times. He is pleading that I now rewrite it in Windows.

    One more omen for me

    Dave

  20. #50
    Michael Squyres
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    Default RE: Conversion from A4 to A5

    Cal,

    Thanks for this insight. I have never written an Alpha database program for anyone else, but I have written and refined several significant databases for organizations in which I am a member. I then become the database "tender," and add many refinements as they become useful. I have many hundreds of manhours invested in these databases, both development and maintenance.

    My point is that I tend to think of Alpha4 in very much the same way I do anything from Intuit because I use them in similar ways. Perhaps, my use of Alpha4 is more like that of QuickBooks where I you do quite of bit of development (albeit mostly in the area of problem definition and Layout, rather than coding).

    I agree with your list and think that AlphaSoftware could market such a conversion program (DOS -> DOZ) with great success. Hopefully, the success of A4v7 will be the proof of this thesis.

    Mike

  21. #51
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I think Dave "HIT IT ON THE HEAD"!! For those who don't develop and only use A4 for their purposes, I agree that further development of A4 would be real handy. None the less, that audience is limited and I believe after A5v5 is out, those numbers may dwindle a bit more. That will depend on the cost ov v5. If it's significantly higher than A4, I expect to see some shift back.

    Having said that, for the developers, it's their customers who will drive the market for A5 vs A4. They'll keep up with Bill's latest stuff. That will drive v5 and the developers.

    If Alpha wants to attract users and developers from Access, Filemaker, Paradox and others, A4 will not get it done, no matter how much it's developed. It simply isn't windows driven, the 'others' won't switch. They'll just keep the 'itch'.


    After reading the response to my last post, I was still left with the question as to why Alpha would put 2 products on the market that will go head to head. The future bucks for Alpha is not in A4 but A5. Any further development of A4 is only for a limited few. If Alpha gets into schools or university, it won't be with A4, no matter what is done with it.

    kenn

  22. #52
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    One More time:

    All: For what it is worth re: building applications for others....

    In A4 I developed a neat Trucking Company application and have sold 4 copies of it. The last one was to a pretty computer up-to-date office who's people were very used to using a mouse, tab for field to field, and THE WAIT for gui screen draws. They had been working Excel and Access before. I heard comments about navigation in Alpha like "This is really dumb" - "Man this is awkward" - generally unfavorable. They literally had to learn new navigational skills to use this DOS based program.

    The point here is... Maybe our clientele WANTS a gui and doesn't want DOS. [God, could Gates still be winning?]

    Food for thought

    Ken

  23. #53
    Rick Sloan
    Guest

    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Hi ken and all.

    If you guys are writing programs for other people/companies ... I would suggest you learn and use A5 and A4. That's logical and makes for good business. Give the client what they want or need (A4 or A5). During my comments in this string, I was never talking about doing programs for other people.

    I find it strange that people who like and use A5, seem almost "paranoid" about a windows A4. A4 will not go "head to head" with A5, but will compliment each other. Don't worry! Put your minds at ease. I am positive Alpha will not drop A5 for a Windows A4.....although I am sure a few people frustrated with the learning curve of A5, will convert to A4.

    Anyway, what does Alpha care as long as we are using their product?!

    RS

  24. #54
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Ken Nordin
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Hi Rick,

    **During my comments in this string, I was never talking about doing programs for other people.**

    That limits the user base of A4 even more.

    **I find it strange that people who like and use A5, seem almost "paranoid" about a windows A4. **

    No paranoia about windoz A4. Why would Alpha want to continue to develop a product that has a limited user base, especially when they are trying to promote the user base for A5.

    **although I am sure a few people frustrated with the learning curve of A5**

    I agree, but, I suspect v5 will cut the learning curve drastically.

    Are you saying that if A4 continues to be developed, it will have the look and/or feel of A5?

    kenn

  25. #55
    Rick Sloan
    Guest

    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Hi Ken.

    No, nor would we want it to.

    RS

  26. #56
    Rick Sloan
    Guest

    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I keep hearing about this upcoming A5v5. You guys keep intimating that we will want to switch when A5.v5 comes out. Everyone is talking about this product like it is the magic bullet. Maybe V5 will be the "by all and end all" of versions. Then all Alpha users will want to gravitate to the A5 product. But you know, somehow I doubt it....and until Alpha comes up with "it", there will be limited users for A5 as well.

    I for one don't want or need the "Look or Feel" of A5. I think that is A4's best trait. However, you could always make A4 menu driven. You people who use and like A5, run with it and be happy. A windows A4 will be for the rest of us.

    You keep talking about limited users for a Windoz A4. I disagree. I really think you are grossly under estimating the longevity and client base (past and future) of A4. From what I see (in this string alone) there is a huge learning curve for A5. That will not change with A5v5.

    From what I read the documentation and tutorials are not anywhere near as good as with A4. I can say that for sure, because I was one of the people who enthusiastically purchased A5v1 when it came out. It was horrible to say the least and a total waste of my money. To say the documentation was lacking is a monumental understatement. It is currently filed under "W" for wasted money and is collecting dust somewhere. There are still the same complaints (in this string alone) and Alpha is at A5v4.5 with its product?

    I simply went back to using A4.

    Since that time I have ensured any of my new computers use Win 98 and I use HP printers. Thus allowing me to use A4. I use the typeset mode for all my letters and envelopes (which carry my company logo in the typset mode as well).

    The new A4v7 is a great stop gap in that it allows us to use our product with the new operating systems. However, this product allows us to use windows printer drivers in standard mode only. Therefore, it still restricts the printers I buy (to namely HP).

    In this A4v7 forum many problems have occurred regarding printers. This would be elimintated with a windows A4 (as would all other anomalies associated with trying to make a dos program work with the windoz operating system).

    I do find it strange you are trying to sell an A5 product that is not even out yet. You do not know if A5v5 is "the" product. I also fear you will making the same comments in the future, like "wait till A5v7 comes out. I hear it will be "the" best".

    RS

  27. #57
    Member
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    Robert C. Smith
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Hello Everyone,

    A5v5 the end all program????? Seems I've heard this before. I think the first time was A5, then a5v2 then a5v3 then a5v4, call me when it hits a5v6 then it may be almost as good as a4v6. we have purchased most of the a5 versions only to install test, uninstall and put on the dust collecting shelf. We purchased all of the A4 versions and every one was used until the next one came out. Of course we were never fully happy with any version but each one was better than the previous. and with some people (like me)we always find something lacking even in great programs like a4 but when we bring up the short commings it seems some one is listening because the next version usually addresses the the complaints.

    I am sure that A5 will be around and used by many and I believe as long as it is possible A4 will continue to be used by the rest of us. No one program can satisfy everyone. There is a need for A4 and A5. We A4 users just want a few more upgrades say A4v99.

  28. #58
    Member
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    Richard Drabik
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    I think that there is a place for both A4 and A5. I've created several applications in both, and their success depended on how the databases were used. The A4 databases were used to enter large numbers of records, usually in batches of 50, at one time. Experienced data entry folks found A4 easy and fast to work with. No mouse. The A4 databases were great for collecting records from different types of program monitoring, surveys, etc. There wasn't a lot of data manipulation, no making frequent changes to individual records: just entry, storage, then report and summarize. Generally, the data entry screen was easy to read because the 80 col by 25 or 43 row screen made efficient visual organization mandatory. Less was good.

    A5 never worked well for us in this respect, even when making every effort to make data entry totally keyboard dependent. The entry screens just didn't have the right feel and people who could type inevitably ran into trouble when trying to enter a large number of records. Perhaps they would type faster that A5 could handle the input, I'm not sure. But for fast and extensive data entry, A5 never seemed to work as well as A4.

    On the other hand, A5 is much more elegant and offers more features for the type of database application where records are entered individually, not en masse, and were regular changes are made to individual records. Browses are more useful and easier to navigate. I don't particularly like more than one window open at a time, but that's just me. I know that many out there design applications that take advantage of the ability to open several windows at once, possibly to compare different records, possibly to cut and paste from one to the other, whatever. For those kinds of database applications that did not involve entering large amounts of data at one time, I usually found A5 had more to offer. And setting up reports is no more difficult than in A4, and a whole lot easier compared to using the typesetting method in A4. Typesetting mode was a real boon in A4, but to do a really nice job of it with proportional fonts, a lot of time had to be spent. The same thing can be achieved in A5 (except for one exception I can think of that is too obscure to describe) with Windows fonts as it takes in A4 to set up the report in standard mode.

    Personally, there were times when I knew a better, more useful application could be built for a particular purpose in A4, but used A5 because the user was only experienced with Windows and thought that anything done in DOS (horrors!) couldn't be any good. Also, we had a problem with using A4 when we went to NT 4.0, because our IT department actually refused to believe that DOS programs would run under NT, so it was impossible to get them to set up printing from A4 over the network. Existing A4 applications were left on old machines running WIN95 and having dedicated printers. New A4 applications were out of the question under these circumstances.

    Both definitely have a place. Having learned both I don't think the "learning curve" for A5 is a good reason to stick with A4, but I do think there is a good reason to stick with it if it can do a particular job better and more efficiently than A5. I think that depends on how the database is used. I use both for my own personal use, depending on which seems most appropriate for the task at hand. Sometimes, I'll even do all the data manipulation in A4, but use A5 to generate the printed output. (Did I hear a gasp?)

  29. #59
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Tom Cone Jr
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Richard,

    You've touched on some points that ring true in my own experiences here. -- tom

  30. #60
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Cal Locklin
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    Default RE: A4V7 is it worth it?

    Richard,

    Very well stated!

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