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Thread: Alpha five books question

  1. #31
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    Alex Levy
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I think that a starting manual with a concise explanation of the features of A5, integrated with Xbasic would be a place to start. Right now, we have to print out the manual from a word processor and make our own books. I would like to see the same manual available in a preprinted bound, book form. Currently, the index page numbers do not correspond with the page # printed from the word processor.

    For more advanced users, I think a book with some common application solutions would be useful. Whereas an application would contain several different techniques using Xbasic solutions.

    I hope these ideas are useful in your planning.

    Alex Levy

  2. #32
    Miku Sippy
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Dear Folks,

    I have been following this thread with great interest.

    I too have some really good DOS applications to upgrade to Windows.

    I have even purchased a copy of A5 v4.5, tinkered with it and discovered that this is a SOLID product.

    There are many bugs. There are many features that can be improved.

    However, there is JUST ONE thing that still hold me back.

    Lack of GOOD Quality Documentation.

    YOu can be sure that the if the developers at Alpha Software accept the reality that good documentation is necessary and do something about it, Alpha Software's future WILL BE IN VERY GOOD HANDS. I would dare say that even Microsoft will start to wonder who this Alpha Software is, and worry about it.

    The only downside? That MS might buy up the company.

    Please developers, do a good write-up of the manuals, expecially xbasic and the advanced feature, tips and tricks.

    It is not too much to ask for since we are going to tie-up our future to your products.

    This appeal is from the heart...that your product is sitting on a gold-mine.

    Miku




  3. #33
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I've tried to keep up with the tread, but honestly haven't read all the messages,so excuse me if I repeat.

    I'd be willing to pay for "White Papers" on various topics. So instead of depending on an all encompassing book, a series of "White Papers" on specific areas might be more easily accomplished. Kind of like "Best of Breed" vs a "Suite".

    For example, without the option of turning off continuous enter in browses, where does one hang some script (this.commit()) to prevent going on to a new line? I just haven't figured out browses yet, but am willing to learn.

    One more suggestion. Thanks for listening.

    Tom

  4. #34
    Al Weaver
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    This may be tardy, but here's my 2 bits: The reference books that came with A4 were the best anywhere. They made it possible to get a good understanding of A4, and built one's confidence. On the other hand, the docs accompanying A5 were no way comparable. It kept the learning curve flat. Using A5 has been very frustrating as a result. PLEASE do it like you used to... it the best. At a reasonable price

    Thanx

  5. #35
    Oran Hamilton
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I agree wholeheartedly with Al and the others concerning the documentation that came with A4 being the best.

    That said, I also agree that a very good, sound, well thought out users manueal based on the quality of the A4 manual be produced. Beyond that, there is a wide field of possible books.

    Some could be industry specific such as medical, legal, etc. Just like word processors that have so many features, most don't get used in the every day world. The same holds true here. If I were to work on an app for a vet for example, a book that had functions, scripts, etc. already in use would be helpful in designing for that specific app.

    One last comment, and I understand A5V5 is bringing it back, is the conversion of A4 apps to A5 and not having set level field rules. A book explaining the differences and how to accomplish this conversion using xbasic would be very helpful.

    Oran

  6. #36
    jensharloff
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Richard,

    How about zipping down this message board to a searchable database which could be downloaded by registered Alpha users. I'm new to Alpha and has found several good solutions here. It's probably one of the best boards I ever seen. It would be a great help file to have installed on the hard disc.

    Thanks
    / Jens

  7. #37
    stan olah
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I would love to see better documentation of A5. The example given is a very good basic understanding but wen trying to expand the theory into other complicated programs, the present books are little use.

    I have used A4 for several years now and have moved to A5 this year. I work for a ploice department and am attempting to develope a reporting system specific for their use, which has been difficult to say the least. Examples like the documentation in A4 books would be great.

    Overall i love the A5 product, especially for simple quick programs of only 4 or 5 databases with a few forms and letters etc., however my present project contains many many more and all must possess unique control numbers not found in the other databases....?

    I would love to see detailed books on A5 for sure.

  8. #38
    Al Weaver
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Al Palmer says it all very nicely. I was able to maintain some sort of learning curve with all Alpha versions, until Alpha 5. It stopped me cold. The prior books were absolutely excellent.They enabled newbies to learn the product--a good way to increase sales. I very strongly hope you folks will do it like you used to... the A5 stuff is a flat out poor excuse for a manual. Your newer versions require more complete manuals, as they are more complex. Without improvement, no way I'll try it again.

    with hopes,
    Al w.

  9. #39
    Robert Carolina
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I think it was Q&A Database Version2 for DOS that had a superb manual, all examples were written in red ink and next to every line of code it gave an explanation of what that line did. It was written so that an amateur could understand. Also on Q&A, when you pressed the F1(help key), it took you directly to the help section of whatever you were working on. Another feature of Q&A was that on the On-Screen-Help it noted the page of the manual where you would find all your information. The manual for Alpha4 was superb, but if they could get hold of an old Q&A manual, it would give them more great ideas.

  10. #40
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    There are several excellent suggestions, so I need not (nor could I) make any more. My desire is to see a book on Alpha 5 like the one Alpha 4 had. It was excellent. Without the message board I would not be able to use Alpha 5 to the capacity that I am using it. John De Jong, Jr., as well as others, has excellent suggestions.

    BTW - thanks for asking!
    Wanda

  11. #41
    VAR Pat Bremkamp's Avatar
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Just in case anyone gets down this far in the message Q...
    How about an on-line reference manual? That way it doesn't have to be static. A user could enter a keyword into a simple on-line form and the useage and examples would pop up. It could start out with what you have now and grow day by day.

    Looks like to me that the A5 users are pretty long-winded, so we probably wouldn't mind contributing examples and notes to add to the manual. Alpha software would just need an editor to check the submissions and enter them into the on-line database.

    So, if I'm using the on-line manual and find that I need, say, multiple fields in my query.order, I could make up a simple example after I tinker and find out, and submit it for inclusion.

    Many of us who have been watching the message board for a while have seen the same questions pop up over and over, so this would be a way to get the answers out, plus it wouldn't interfere with the "how-to" books. (and leave us more time to discuss grammar and lutefish!)

  12. #42
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    Stephen Williams
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I like this idea. See my comment this thread dated 02/03...

  13. #43
    Jean-P. Bédard
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I like it too.

    Excellent idea.

    J P Bédard

  14. #44
    Deborah Silverman
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Richard, I have JUST installed Alpha five, version 2 (purchased 3 years ago!) It's my first time using ANY database, & I'm finding "Getting Started" & online help WOEFULLY INADEQUATE for a beginner! I would be grateful for ANY KIND OF v.2 MANUAL FOR WINDOWS 95 so that I can harness the full power of what appears to be some pretty awesome software! (I'm quite dismayed that the company has no manuals currently available for v.2; I've posted an SOS on your message board, but meanwhile I'm pretty stuck without more detailed help.)
    Carol Graham (in Customer Service) has my email address, if you have any advice to rescue me. Thanks! - Debbi

  15. #45
    Susan Bush
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Debbi -

    Don't mess with version 2 - the current version is 4.5. You will be using a version that has been out of date for some time. Alpha 5 improved considerably from version 3. Those improvements are well worth the cost to upgrade.

  16. #46
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Dave Mason
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    I DO NOT WANT second party books

    I DO want alpha manuals

    Dave mason

    No confusion on this issue, You have been told repeatedly

  17. #47
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    Charles Kistler
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Richard:

    One thing I would like to see is a feature the Visual Basic help file system has. When I am in the code editor, if my cursor is in a word that is Visual Basic related (a variable, event, command, method, etc.), pressing F1 brings up a help page for this word. This help page contains ALL of the relevant methods/properties/events etc. applicable for this word, and usually includes sample code and cross-references to other related topics. If you have access to any of the Visual Studio products, try it out.

    I have been using Alpha4 since version 3 and consider it to be one of the two best programs I ever used in DOS. I tried Alpha5 version 3 but was completely bewildered. I am now using Alpha5 verion 4.5. The learning curve from A4V3 to A5V4 is VERY STEEP! It is even steeper than going from QuickBasic to Visual Basic.

    I can't add anything to the comments about what the documentation should be. The documentation doesn't have to be printed (I'll print it out); just make it fantastic!

    Charles

  18. #48
    Mike Doty
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Does anyone know that Dr. Wayne updated
    his books for Alpha 5 version 4.5?
    I'm surprised this BBS is buzzing about it.

    Can the 2 books and the on-line Adobe file
    be purchased as a package? Many developers
    want electronic and printed.

  19. #49
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    Dave Jampole
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Richard,

    I'm way behind the curve in catching up on the Message Board. Other issues at school have taken most of my time.

    I've sent a note to you and Selwyn regarding what I feel in a need for a college level textbook on databaase development using either A4 or A5 OR both. Teaching computer science in a community college, I know that the the only database textbook are on MS A____s. Our students, and I suspect college students at lots of (if not all) other colleges, have never been exposed to any other database product beyond Access.

    If you really, truely want to grow the number of Alpha users, I strongly suggest you all (Louisiana talk) think about exposing college students to, what I consider your outstanding product line. If students are exposed to Alpha in college and can see an alternative to Access, they will use it after graduation and YOU will reap the benefits of one hell of a large ever-expanding user base.

    P.S. Thanks for A4V7. My order is going in tomorrow.

    Dave Jampole

  20. #50
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Dave

    I would love to talk to you more about this.

    Please call me at 800 451 1018 at your convenience -- I am there most of the time

    Best Regards
    Richard Rabins
    richard@alphasoftware.com

  21. #51
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    Brian Dennis
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    We have just purchased Alpha5, after using A4 in our rental business in Portugal for approx 8 years +. Got, and paid for all the updates. Knowing nothing about computors I realised we had to get computorized or add staff and still be less efficient. After adding computors I realised we had to have a program which worked or add staff, saw A4 advertised, bought it, and worked lots of hours- result: more efficiency and no extra staff, and no programers to pay or wait for.
    Now our old computor is failing and full. New one won't run A4, so now we have A5. With no documentation it is a pain, obviously the potential is there, but I honestly don´t know if I´m going to get it. I´ve printed out all the documentation on the CD, consider that kind of a cheating way of selling, but feel it is still nothing like the A4 books in concept, clarity, quality, ease of understanding, examples; etc.
    Even cars are sold with an instruction manual, even though the buttons are labled.
    Alpha is probably losing lots of customers with this approach, probably me too soon. Think of "ships and hapeth of tar".
    All the A4 versions had good books, why the change? Pls don´t say the enviroment, when I see all the six sets of telephone books sent to us each yr because we have 6 tel lines, and I can´t stop that happening!
    Good product, good service, why not finish the job.

    Brian.

  22. #52
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    Paul French
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Appendices.

    This would include, but not be limited to a complete list of reserved words. There are occasional warnings on this board that field names that are the same as A5 reserved words may cause unpredictable results, but when looking for a complete list of those words, they are nowhere to be found.

    When looking for third party books on various subjects, I frequently turn to the back of books first to see how much useful information they've packed in there. Lack of decent appendices frequently lands a book back on the shelf without further consideration.

    I find the A5 manuals a bit wanting in this area.

  23. #53
    Daniel Earley
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Brian! I don't think you should be using the announcements forum for your question. This forum should be used 0nly for
    announcements from/by ALPHA. However, I will try to help you. I have used A4v1 to v7 over the years and also use A5V4.5. You say your old computer is full and not too good anymore. I would like to get in touch with you about your problem. How about E-Mail? Please send me an E-Mail. Please give me the oper system you are using, Windows 95,98, 2000,etc, and the Ver. of Alpha4 V4,V6,V7 etc. You should be able to continue using Alpha4 V? for many years to come, if that is what you want. But there are a few things you need to do. E-mail me at emandan01@aol. PS My wife is from Portugal (Azores).

  24. #54
    Daniel Earley
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Dan Earley again. Gave you wrong E-mail. Should be
    emandan01@aol.com. Forgot the ".com" before.

  25. #55
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    Brian Dennis
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    Default RE: Alpha five books question

    Daniel,

    I apologise and stand corrected. I read down the thread late last night (maybe after my brain switch-off time), and didn´t realise those approx 40+ responses were announcements by Alpha staff.
    I only meant to respond to what I thought was a request by Alpha for suggestions by Alpha users; I guess I misunderstood.
    I did not mean to ask questions, and should not have put my feelings about documentation policy as a question; and did not mean to make any questions about moving from A4 to A5, but don´t realise that I did.

    I´ll get back on e-mail to you, as you suggest.

    Brian

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