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Thread: developer feedback

  1. #1
    David Waxman
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    Default developer feedback

    Hi alpha gurus,

    I am an expert access developer and am toying with the idea of jumping to alhpa five based on the rapider development claims.

    Has anyone had positive or negative experiences making the switch?

    Thanks,
    dw

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Ken Nordin
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Hi David,

    Don't delay! Join the club! I don't know how many made the switch but I suspect quite a few, I being one of them.

    Try a search using Access or A5 vs Access or Access vs A5. There's a lot that's been said. No doubt Access will do some things easier than A5 but overall, A5 is considerably more powerful with ease of use. You can do much more in A5 w/o code than you can in Access. Additionally, you can convert the scripts and genies to code and see how it's done, allowing you to cut and paste, creating custom scripts.

    That said, a word of caution. When you delve into A5, keep ONLY basic database design in mind. Take off the Access cap and put on the A5 cap. In other words, some ways of doing things are similar but if you try to do it in A5 the way you did it in Access, you'll get frustrated, fast. Been there, done that.

    Have at it. Ask questions. We're here to help. After you get past the learning curve, you'll be very happy youk switched.

    kenn

  3. #3
    David Waxman
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    >>When you delve into A5, keep ONLY basic database design in mind. Take off the Access cap and put on the A5 cap. In other words, some ways of doing things are similar but if you try to do it in A5 the way you did it in Access, you'll get frustrated, fast. Been there, done that.

  4. #4
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Hello David:

    Alpha Five essentially uses the same paradigm as Access. In fact, it’s obvious that much of the original design concept for A5 used Access as a starting point. Because of their similar paradigms, I think you can make the switch in a fairly short period of time

    Having said that, looks can be deceiving because A5 has so many techniques and functionality built in that Access users haven’t even dreamed of yet. Although I think you can make the switch relatively fast, it will not be easy because Alpha has so many powerful options for doing things via menu choices, that would require programming in Access [assuming you can even do it]. In light of that, I think changing your mindset and approach to the Alpha way of doing things will be the hard part.

    Why? There are several reasons, but one big one is the fact that you’re conditioned to solving problems a certain way in Access, so it’s only normal to think you can use the same technique in another database program such as A5. David, I think you will literally be stunned when you learn how easy and quickly you can accomplish database tasks in A5 without writing a single line of code. One great example is Alpha’s powerful Field Rules that are far superior to those in Access.

    Ironically, that’s why I think the adjustment will be difficult at first. You may find it hard to believe you can actually do so much without programming. You may find yourself asking yourself why you did things the hard way for so long. Ken made some excellent points. I would definitely follow his advice to take off your Access hat and be prepared to do things differently in A5. However, as stated above, it won’t be easy trying to forget your Access ways.

    And if you need to go beyond the incredible built in functionality, I think Xbasic is far more intuitive than Visual Basic. They’re very similar, but Xbasic is a lot easier to learn and use.

    I also think Alpha’s Form & Report layouts are superior because they’re easier to use and design.

    There are a couple of areas where I think Access has better functionality. If I remember correctly, you can query and utilize data based upon fields in child tables just as easily as you can with parent field tables. This is one area where A5 is relatively weak, you have to be careful and/or creative when running queries based strictly upon child table fields.

    Another area in Access I really liked was the ability to base forms / reports on queries. There may be one or two other areas where Access has an edge, but overall I think you will be very impressed with Alpha Five.

    Many database reviewers claim Access is the easiest PC based database program, and in some respects, they’re correct. However, none of those reviewers ever worked with Alpha Five on a regular basis so they’re unaware of the significant differences that make A5 infinitely easier to use.

    As a result, most people feel they can develop an application in A5 in about half the time it would take to do in Access. I’ve heard even greater claims, but I think it’s safe to say that development time in A5 is at a minimum, twice as fast. My guess is it may even be three times as fast, at least that’s been my experience.

    David, if you take the time to learn how Alpha Five works and maintain an open mind, I think you will be like many of us who will never want to return to Access. Why should we when there is a product that is more powerful, more flexible, and far easier to use?

    Robert T.

  5. #5
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    David,

    Not sure I understand. The form is based on a set, Parent table and one or more child tables. The major identifying records are placed on the form (i.e. name, address, etc.) and child records can be displayed in a browse or subform.

    You can also use a multi-state object for find records. You you havent looked already, check out AlphaSports that ships with A5. I think it has the features you are describiing.

    Also, there is a toutorial that may be of interest to you.

    kenn

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Robert T.,

    >>There are a couple of areas where I think Access has better functionality. If I remember correctly, you can query and utilize data based upon fields in child tables just as easily as you can with parent field tables. This is one area where A5 is relatively weak, you have to be careful and/or creative when running queries based strictly upon child table fields.>Another area in Access I really liked was the ability to base forms / reports on queries.

  7. #7
    "Certified" Alphaholic Marcel Kollenaar's Avatar
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Hi,

    I like to react on this part of the text from Robert:

    "And if you need to go beyond the incredible built in functionality, I think Xbasic is far more intuitive than Visual Basic. They’re very similar, but Xbasic is a lot easier to learn and use."

    I don't know why but Robert is right. I see it in this way. There are some people who like structure and there are some people who like chaos. Do not misunderstood me and I meant this not negative. I do program in VBA-Word and I have had always trouble with the structured way of the object model. In Alpha I love the simple way of a complete absence of such a structured model, I hope they will keep it this way. I just have to look in simple but long list of functions and statements and if it is documented I find my way. In VBA I first have to learn the object model before I can find the method (blahhh) or else. They made it 2 dimensional. Alpha is in its use and documentation one dimensional (in my opinion).

    I made the switch from Filemaker to Alpha. Filemaker is like a straitjacket, you can never do the things you want to do unless you buy a plug in.

    Marcel

  8. #8
    David Mason
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    David,

    I have used both and A5 is far easier and will do a few things that Access will not do and I am sure Access will do a few Alpha will not.

    A5 is easier to code and the database design is much easier and (in my opinion) safer. The tables(dbf) have their own file and supporting files. Some of the functions supplied are just not there in Access.

    One of my favorites (coming from a clipper and VB background) is the ability to make really great functions that I can use over and over again.

    I NEVER liked all my tables and code in one file like Access did it, and my fears have surfaced in an Access DB that we filled in a VB program. It became unruly for us and grew at an astounding rate. It IS NOT fun today. Yes, we still have it because it takes 2-3 years to rewrite the code and it costs a lot of money to correct.

    Good Luck in your switch
    Dave

  9. #9
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Hello David,

    I'm not familiar with Access, but I'll take a stab at this. In Alpha, technically there is no such thing as a many-to-many. However there are very easy methods to achive what I'm thinking you want. First, a one-to-many relationship can be displayed on a form with the two list boxes you describe. You would create your one to many set. Now create a form based on this set. You would place two browse objects on the form, one at the parent level, and one at the child level. Selecting any record in the first (parent level) browse will display all child records in the second browse that are related to the record in the parent level browse. Going the other way would require a different approach IF there are multiple parent records that are related to an individual child record. I've been developing with Alpha for a dozen years and have never has an occassion to do what I think you are describing, but....... I'd do it this way. Create a 'dummy' set of the two tables in question. You would define the set as a one-to-many, however you can in essence make it a many to many by making the linking value at the parent and child level, the result of a simple expression such as 1. As every parent record linking value will now evaluate 1, and every child record linking key will evaluate to 1, you know have linked all parent records to all child records. Create a form based on this set. Place a browse at the parent level on the form. Place a second embedded browse on the form, that is based on the second table. Now, using whatever field, or key that relates the two tables together, do a query against one or the other based on this key. The query would be triggered possibly by a button or a form event or a double click event. You would need some way to let Alpha know when one of the tables you wanted the query based on. The actual code IMHO would be very simple.

    I created a demo showing this approach in Alpha Five. It is attached as a zip file. Download it and unzip it. There is a single exe demo file in the zip. Just double click the unzipped file to see my 'simulated' many-to-many and how to query parent to child and child to parent.

    Good luck,
    Jim

  10. #10
    David Waxman
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Jim -

    Your demo is very impressive - thanks so much.

    Despite the fact that I don't have as much experience as you, I have had to display the many to many relationship in a budgeting app (budget items purchase orders).

    In access, and other RDBMS's that I have used, the relationship is built by creating:
    1. PO table
    2. Budget Items table
    3. A cross link table, with many to one relationships to the parents.

    Regards,
    dw

  11. #11
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    jim chapman
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Hello David,

    >>3. A cross link table, with many to one relationships to the parents. >(budget items purchase orders).

  12. #12
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    Fred Daniel
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    Done Both as well. The real kiker is when you build databases like I do where you run 500,000 to 2.5 million records in 1 table. Access chokes and finally gives you an answer. But its usually wrong. We had several problems with developing with access at the Corp. level. Every time MS wants you to upgrade to the latest version of Access, you have to convert every one else.

  13. #13
    David Waxman
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    I was under the impression that the proper course of action when you are dealing with heavy transaction volumes and /or lots of connections was to use a client/server RDBMS - Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL - whatever. It is understood that file based RDBMS's foxpro, access, dbase and the like, have a much lower ceiling.

    How does A5 rate as far as this goes? Does it get corrupted easily?

    Thanks to everyone - your comments are very helpful.

    Regards,
    David Waxman

  14. #14
    David Mason
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    Default RE: developer feedback

    David,

    I believe Alpha to be closer to Foxpro than dbase and Access is out to lunch.

    Dave

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