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Thread: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

  1. #1
    Chris Erichson
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    Default Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Does anyone know of a method to access data from Aplha5 from a ASP page?

  2. #2
    Angel V
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    I second this question. Or even better, Access Alpha5 from IE.

  3. #3
    Former Alpha Employee JerryBrightbill's Avatar
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    A5V6 will come with WAS, Web application server, that allows a web interface to connect with Alpha. You can check out the information on the Alpha Software website.

    http://www.alphasoftware.com/products/a5v4/webserver.asp

    Jerry

  4. #4
    Angel V
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Wow, that looks great. Is that going to be an add-on or part of Alpha 5?

  5. #5
    VAR
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Hi Angel,

    The Web Application Server will be part of the Version 6 Alpha Five when it is released.

    Thanks
    Cheryl

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    However, I'm sure there will be an extra cost to implement it on a remote server somewhere. Whoever owns the server will have to purchase a copy of the WAS (or whatever they decide to call it when it's finally released) and I'm sure that won't be free. Plus, they will most likely charge a monthly fee of some kind.

    You could put it on your own server to avoid the monthly fee but I'm still pretty sure that there will be an extra cost to get something that will be truly usable by others via the web.

    In fact, now that I think about it, I'm wondering exactly what WAS capability will actually be packaged with the base v6 program?? I'm sure it won't be an unlimited user version but something will be needed just to develop your own app.

    Cal Locklin
    "a href="http://www.aimsdc.net""www.aimsdc.net"/a"

  7. #7
    "Certified" Alphaholic Phil Rolf's Avatar
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Cal,

    If my memory is correct I seem to remember something being said a long time ago that you would be purchasing this software just like you would for the A5V5 network version. You would have to purchase a 5 user version 10 user etc. Only the number of licenses you purchase will determine how many users can access the new software over the internet simultaneously.

    Phil

  8. #8
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    RT
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    I don't think Alpha management has finalized their plans, but in general, I think Philip is correct. However, the numbers will have to be much larger than was the case with Alpha's traditional network license.

    If you have a website for your customers, more often than not, a 5 or 10 user license will probably be inadequate. My guess is the license numbers will be much higher than we were accustomed to with the network paradigm. I'm also fairly confident there will be an unlimited license for those people who anticipate numerous hits on their site.

    Here is an interesting question. Will version 6 come with a basic license, such as a 5-user license as a starting point?

    Robert T

  9. #9
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Hi Chris,

    The A5 files are available via ODBC drivers (Visual Foxpro v2.6) available from MS. In fact they are probably on your machine (or the web servers machine).

    Most ASP books show you how to access via ODBC and there is plenty of info on the web to show you how.

    Doug

  10. #10
    Angel V
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Ok. I've been using Alpha for 3 days now. I like it. I enjoy it. I want to buy it. But I also hear that Alpha 5 v6 will be out in a few months. So the issue is that I don't want to pay for the program twice, if I just can wait a few months and get the version I REALLY want, with the Web interface and some of the features I need (such as group password features.)

    So, do I have to wait to get Alpha 5 v6, or if I get v5 can I still get v6 when it comes out?

  11. #11
    Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Is licensing/limiting the number of users over the web standard practice? It seems like there's a billion web sites out there and none of them kick you off because the "user count has been exceeded". It seems counter-intuitive to limit a web site to a specific number of users. Or am I missing something?

  12. #12
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    WebLogic and WebSphere do not license by the number of users. But they cost more than your car unless you drive something like a Ferrari.

    Microsoft IIS + ASP + Access/SQL Server licenses by the number of users

    FileMaker licenses by the number of users

    Alpha intends to license the Web App Server by the number of users. You will also be able to purchase an unlimited license if you so desire. This will allow us to offer a lower price to smaller users, such as a large main office with only a few traveling sales people that need access to the WAS. A busier site, such as an online store, might have more users and would need to purchase a higher license.

    -Lenny

  13. #13
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    I left out another popular solution - ColdFusion. It is not licensed per user, but it does not include a database either. You would still need Access, SQL Server, Oracle, etc - all of which are licensed per user.

    I should additionally point out that while we have not yet finalized what our exact license offerings will be, the license packs will be in much larger increments than you would be accustomed to with the current runtime licensing, something more like 50, 100, 400, etc.

    -Lenny

  14. #14
    Ryan Ware
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Yup the big java app servers get spendy. Per processor. Completely different target market that WAS.

    One thought on Alpha's per user licensing. PLEASE do a concurrent license rather that a named user or have that option in addition to a named user. It is a nice fit for a lot of organizations.

  15. #15
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Angel

    Have you ever read "Waiting for Godot"?

    The waiting game is self fulfilling - you always wait for something better and never get anywhere.

    Richard has posted a message that a yet to be determined discount policy for those who have purchased within a relatively close time will be available. Send an email to him or to customer service to get a direct response.

    In the meantime, since we don't know when v6 will be out, let alone how long it will take to shake out, you need to deal with what is available today and what work you can accomplish with the current version.

    Consider how much farther ahead you will be if you start today rather than waiting for what might/may be.......

    Just some thoughts after reading your post earlier today....

    Have a great weekend!

  16. #16
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    Martin W. Cole
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Richard said they now have in place a special discount for people who bought V5 after a certain date who upgrade the V6.

  17. #17
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    Blake Watson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Chris Erichson wrote:
    -------------------------------
    Does anyone know of a method to access data from Aplha5 from a ASP page?

    Others have mentioned A5v6 so I won't.

    Keep in mind that A5 data is DBF-style. So =any= method you might use to post DBF data on the web could be used with A5 data.

    For example, there's a Perl module that can read DBFs (and write, though I'd think you'd want to avoid or at least limit that). Perl is a freely available scripting language that's quite common on the web.

    There are really a wealth of ways to do this, but they're external to A5.

    It wouldn't even be difficult to control A5 through DDE conversations; you could literally query and post info through an external program using DDE and xBasic commands. The main issue there would be A5's stability and the fact that A5 is meant to be interacted with, so a pop-up error message might just kill you.

  18. #18
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    Blake Watson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    "Is licensing/limiting the number of users over the web standard practice? It seems like there's a billion web sites out there and none of them kick you off because the "user count has been exceeded". It seems counter-intuitive to limit a web site to a specific number of users. Or am I missing something?"

    They're not all apples. There are some oranges in there, too. A5v6 won't just be apples all of itself, come to think of it.

    You have the Alpha development environment, which is also the Alpha client (though these may represent different code bases). You have a standalone database engine (what we currently use, which is somewhat treacherous in high-volume multi-user environments). You have a sever. And you have a web server.

    Traditionally, development environments license per programmer. (MS may operate per seat, I'm not sure, but traditionally tools developers have said one programmer can use his license anywhere, as long as he's the only one using it.)

    Clients are often free. A non-free client is often an invitation to product death. Some have survived, though--I think Clarion was one of those pay-per-client deals. (It's not so bad for vertical apps, but it makes shareware impossible.)

    Standalone database engines are usually coupled with a client or a development environment or both. Since the engine's no good otherwise, they follow whichever license they're being used with. (A development environment may expect to be used by a single user, but that developer may distribute his app freely to any number of clients.)

    Servers, web or otherwise, when offered as standalone products, are almost always done on a per-seat basis, offset somewhat by high minimums or low maximums. In other words, some servers have a base of 10 users, and if you have a small business use, you might never need more. Other servers offer unlimited use very cheaply.

    Alpha is, in essence, all five things, including two servers (one for the database, one for the web). In many development cases, you could expect to pay SEPARATE licensing for BOTH. (I think IIS and SQL Server, e.g., to say nothing of having to have licenses for Visual Studio.) You can sometimes get a cheaper license for 'net connections than direct ones. There are also ways to cheat but I think those are prohibited by the licensing agreements.

    Unlimited licenses for DBMSes run in the $10,000 range but you can pay a LOT more. Internet servers tend to be cheaper per user, in my experience.

    Cheapest "single" solution I know of (that can be used for development of unlimited Client-Server/Internet apps) is Borland's Delphi Professional ($1,000), using the freeware Apache Server and the freeware OpenIB/Firebird. The next cheapest would be Delphi Enterprise ($3,000) which includes an unlimited Interbase license (and a whole bunch of other stuff). Of course, it can all be done for free, too, if you're willing to do the leg-work.

    As long as A5 keeps their licenses clear (which can be a =huge= PITA, when you don't even know what you've bought) and competitive (which I would expect), we'll be fine.

  19. #19
    Member
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    Blake Watson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Peter Greulich wrote:
    -------------------------------
    Is licensing/limiting the number of users over the web standard practice? It seems like there's a billion web sites out there and none of them kick you off because the "user count has been exceeded". It seems counter-intuitive to limit a web site to a specific number of users. Or am I missing something?

    You might have missed "Connection refused" and "Server busy". Sometimes you see an out-and-out "Too many users."

    Keep in mind, though, that:

    -> The freeware Apache is huge. It (obviously) has no client limitations. (Though they recommend setting a maximum client number, since exceeding your server's capabilities can end up ruining your site for everyone, rather than just refusing one person.) Web server stats are at:

    http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html

    -> Most sites don't use databases, if you're talking quantity. (Blogs, hobby pages, etc.)

    -> The sites that do use databases may not be using typical or traditional DBMSes. Until relatively recently, they didn't hook up well.

    -> The web is stateless. Let's say there are 1,000 people browsing your web site. How many of them are requesting data at the same moment? A fraction, and probably a small one. Typical web solutions treat each request as an individual session. You might make 100 requests in an hour, but that's no different from 100 people making 1 request each.


  20. #20
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    ray lane
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Hi Lenny,

    What about the people that only need 5 or 10 cals we have to get 50 as a minimum? This would not be good and the cost would be out of reach based on what I was told about
    Pricing that I will not say hear.

    -Ray

  21. #21
    Chris Erichson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Thank You Doug, of all these posts, this appears the most helpful. I'll begin testing ASP web access using the connection string for Visual FoxPro drivers. I'm also glad that my question sparked interest for the new features comming soon in Alpha5v6. I never even heard of this application until my client showed me his current system. I'm glad that it too is flexable enough to store and query data from outside sources.

    Thanks everyone!
    Chris Erichson

  22. #22
    Chris Erichson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    PERL is a language that is not interpreted by IIS's ASP Interpreter as far as I know. Perl tends to be mostly used on Unix\Linux platforms. I'll keep this in mind in case something bad happens and we decide to use PERL.

  23. #23
    Chris Erichson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    BTW, The ODBC Drivers for Visual FoxPro are version 1.0 .. is the driver supposed to be 2.6 or is Visual FoxPro supposed to be 2.6?

  24. #24
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    Blake Watson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    ""PERL is a language that is not interpreted by IIS's ASP Interpreter as far as I know. Perl tends to be mostly used on Unix\Linux platforms. I'll keep this in mind in case something bad happens and we decide to use PERL.""

    I believe you can download a free PERL interpreter for use with IIS/ASP at:

    www.activestate.com

    They also have Python.

  25. #25
    Chris Erichson
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    Default RE: Accessing Alpha5 from Website

    Thanks , I'll get that

    Chris Erichson

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