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Thread: Making the Switch

  1. #1
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Dave Jampole
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    Default Making the Switch

    I'll start this off - the switch (upgrade) from A4 to A5 is scary, intimidating and not without some effort - that's the down side. The upside is that you will have infinitely more control over how your forms, reports, menus and browses look and work. You will be able to import and export data between A5 and many other Windows based programs - QuickBooks and the MS Office products (Word, Excel, etc) are just some products that 'talk' to Alpha Five.

    What do you have to give up in order to make the conversion from A4 to A5? Let's see: you keep the .dbf files (in A4 a database; in A5 a table), EVERYTHING else has to be recreated (menu, field rules, forms, reports, browses, scripts, etc., etc.). I found it a daunting task, but I needed to suck it up and do it. Luckily, I have a laptop connected to my development system so I opened A4 on the laptop and mimicked what I was looking at on the development system. Also, in my copy of A4 (V6) I can shell out to DOS and use A4DOC to print out all the underlying structure (field rules, calculation, etc.) and that was a great help. I can't remember if A4DOC came with A4 or if I had to buy it. Either way, you need it. You also should get the A5 equivalent (A5DOC) - it is a lifesaver.

    The Alpha Five messageboard isn't a tool by the strict definition of a 'tool', but you should use it regularly. You will get help with your Alpha problems and the points you get stuck with a degree of helpfullness and friendliness beyond anything you can imagine.

    'Nuff said. Make the switch, you will not regret it!

    Dave

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Cal Locklin
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Dave, you can also "keep" all your calculated expressions whether they are in field rules, reports, or anywhere else.

    Somebody (Ken Nordin?) posted a little known routine for cutting and pasting from a DOS window that allows you to easily cut-and-paste these expressions from the A4 app to the A5 app. This can save LOTS of time!

    Here's the method:
    - open A4 in a DOS Window (this is a DOS window running in Windows; do not reboot into DOS).
    - find the expression you want to copy.
    - RIGHT click on the little MS_Dos icon in the upper left corner of the DOS window and select Edit / Mark.
    - Use the mouse to highlight the text to be copied and press the ENTER key.
    - The text has now been entered on the clipboard and can be pasted into the A5 application.

    There is one drawback to this method. It makes it very easy to not use some of the neat new methods available in v5. I guess I'd still recommend using this copy method and modifying later.

  3. #3
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Dave Jampole
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Cal,

    You are absolutely right. I have copied and pasted from A4 into A5 and saving a LOT of typing and thereby reduced the trauma level.

    Dave

  4. #4
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    Deb Welch
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Dale,

    I've developed an application for a vacation rental business with Alpha4 that been used since 1995. I'm currently upgrading the application to Alpha5 and am going through the redesign of forms, reports, etc. So far I'm impressed with the new look and feel of Alpha and the Windows based design. But I have one major "gotcha". Please check out the Alpha5v5 forum and look at the Print Current Record Problem with Child Record topic. I'm really getting worried that there is no easy solution to this deficiency in Alpha5. Also check out the What Happened to the Print Group Icon topic. Any info you may have will be truly appreciated.

  5. #5
    Member
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    RT
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Deb:

    I briefly looked at that thread in the Ver 5 Forum, but I didn't read all of the messages because I've never had a problem printing the current record. Maybe I should go back and check out the thread and maybe I'll find out they're doing something wrong or I'm doing something wrong?

    Whatever it is, I will continue to do what I'm doing because it works.

  6. #6
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Dave Jampole
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Deb,

    Printing a form is not what you want to do, even if the form is designed so that all of the content will print. The 'approved' (and much smarter) method is to design a report that looks like the form to the extent you want it to and print that. It really will cause problems if, for example, your form has tabs. When you try to print a tabbed form, it flat won't work. You can print some of the form, but not all the information on all the tabs.

    Dave

  7. #7
    Member
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Hi Deb:

    You wrote:

    [I'm really getting worried that there is no easy solution to this deficiency in Alpha5.]

    I must take a moment to correct you, I don’t think such a deficiency exists. As I said earlier, I can easily click on a button and print the current record via a report. From my perspective this is not an Alpha Five problem.

    It appears as if other forum members are trying to point out that you should not try to print forms, it’s going to cause you far more problems than it’s worth.

    Robert T

  8. #8
    cathy benedict
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Hello, Cal.

    I'm trying to set up a simple data(sorry-table) form with calculations and copy them from my old ap as you explained, but I have a stupid problem. I don't seem to be able to open a4v6 in a dos window and get the ms icon. I get an aplha icon.
    Could you be a little more specific as to how I open that window with a4 in it.

    Thanks very much.

    Cathy

  9. #9
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Cal Locklin
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    Default RE: Making the Switch

    Sorry about the delayed response. I don't check this part of the message board as often as the v5 section.

    The icon I'm talking about is the one in the farthest upper left corner. This assumes that you are opening a DOS window from within Windows and you are not in full-screen mode.

    If you continue to have problems, I can show it to you on your browser if you call me at 248-437-5883. I'm usually available from 8:30-5 EST. (I bought a program called Glance that was demonstrated at the last Alpha conference. It allows others to see my screen on their browser while I'm working - they can only see it; not control it.)

    Cal Locklin
    www.aimsdc.net

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