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Thread: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

  1. #1
    Member
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    Default Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    I'm a A5V8 user and after a steep learning curve, finally believe I have a grasp of what's going on with this platform.

    Now comes V9-Platinum. On the surface it has some features that seem to appeal to me. However the truth of the matter is, money is very tight and to spend upwards of $600, when I don't need to, may not make "real world"
    sense (at this time).

    I would like some of you guys (and gals) who have made this transition to forward me your EXTREME HONEST opinions about making this move. I know that speaking on an open forum is not comfortable for such venting so I request that those that may have some "inner thoughts" respond to me by Private Message. I will keep such info private of course. If your response is okay to be viewable by the public then please choose that option.

    I am really interested in things such as:

    * Is there a noticable improvement in the performance of the WAS?
    * Do the Active Table Links work as anticipated?
    * Is the Ajax easy enough to work with or does it have a long way yet to go?
    * Can the V8 and V9 WAS work on the same physical server?

    Of course any other thoughts you might like to share would also be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator drgarytraub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Tom,

    Based on my relatievy limited experience with the WAS, I do notice an appreciable speed improvement in using the V9 WAS relative to the V8 WAS.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Quote Originally Posted by drgarytraub View Post
    Tom,

    Based on my relatievy limited experience with the WAS, I do notice an appreciable speed improvement in using the V9 WAS relative to the V8 WAS.
    Thanks Gary for your response. As of this time yours is the only reply to date that addressed my original post. This by itself concerns me because I have wondered if the new release has actually garnered the "action to buy rate" anticipated by Alpha.

    My concerns lie in two areas.

    #1 Is the product ready for "prime time" at this point?

    #2 If only a small number have made the transition at this point, I feel my greatest source of "HELP" (this forum) is going to be limited to only a small number of respondents. This as you know can be disasterous when you encounter a problem that no one else seems to have at this stage of the game.

    I am, like most people, I imagine, are still struggling with the complexities of V8. I really like A5, but upgrading is a matter of timing (for me).

    Can you or anyone else answer my following question with real world experience?

    Sometime it seems to me that the V8 WAS falls asleep when I haven't accessed it for a long period of time (1/2 hour or so). After that time period my first request to the server takes an inordinate amount of time to serve up a relatively tame web page. Sometimes that lapse can be 13-15 seconds. Other times I can get the initial page in less than five seconds. This is true with other "inner pages" also. I happen to be the only one accessing the pages and the server has ZERO traffic other than myself (at this point).

    I try accessing it at various times of the day and with numerous different
    test scenarios. It mostly boils down to, "the WAS seems to fall asleep when not active" Therefore my question is:

    Have others run into this situation and further, is V9 less likely to give the same behaviour?

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    I've never experienced this 'falls asleep' syndrom. Perhaps it's not Alpha WAS, but something else between you and the server, not that I know what that would be. But for example, if you have a virus checker running that only performs its action when there is no activity, then THIS program could be causing a delay if it was interrupted by your server request. A lot of system modules run that way so it depends on what you have installed on your server. Servers should be as devoid of 'extra' software as much as possible.

    In fact, check if your server's hard disk is set to stop after some period of time (Screen Saver properties > Power). If you are on real server OS software, that option won't even exist.

    Upgrading to V9 should be based on if you need any of the new features specifically included in V9. Don't upgrade just just because you think it may perform better. I am sure whatever 'asleep' problem plagues your V8 will still be present if you upgrade to V9. That is, I don't think its a WAS problem anyway.

    But on the falling asleep issue, you have to isolate and test the problem. You have to get on your server and watch performance logs or just the Task Manager's CPU and other simple meters. Do this before and then while you open your page (from another client computer). You can also deploy a 'stress tester" such as the free one from Microsoft (Google Microsoft Web Stress Tester). They will measure exactly how long the page takes to load. You even have to ensure it is not your client machine causing the delay.
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  5. #5
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    It would appear from your question that you are very interested in performance of web apps built in v9 vs v8

    there are two factors causing v9 to be faster

    1) the web server is faster - i can provide more info on this if you email me at richard@alphasoftware.com

    2) the other factor is definitely the ability to build ajax apps in v9

    this makes a huge difference to performance

    some example pages are at http://afas.alphasoftware.com/SamplePagesv9/

    Also if you email me - i can set up a demo of an Alpha Five v9 PLATINUM ajax web app built against a 25 table SQL Server backend (which is being designed to ultimately service up to 5 million customers)

    It is Quick!

    Please email me at richard@alphasoftware.com and i can show you.

    Thanks
    Richard
    Richard Rabins
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  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator drgarytraub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    I have found the v9 WAS to be smoother and noticeably faster than v8 WAS. I am presently evaluating the free trial of v9, and may purchase it just because of this fact, even if I plan to continue to develop with the v8 WAS. Improved performance for a few hundred dollars, without any new programming sounds like a good idea to me.

    My questions for Richard are:

    1. What is the cost of the v9 WAS if all I want is the WAS part, without any of the v9 new features (although I already see that some features are built in to the server just by running the v9 WAS, e..g. new and better calendar fields). DO I have to buy the full version of v9 or can I just buy the v9 server license?

    2. I like xbasic and am comfortable with it, and really do not feel like learning a whole new language (e.g., AJAX). How much work would be involved in benefitting from the very fast aspects related to AJAX, for my existing v8 WAS application. In other words, is that going to be another major undertaking, or is it pretty simple to implement?

    Gary

  7. #7
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Gary it is really advisable to use v9 and and the app server as a "matched set"

    re AJAX

    Web applications that employ AJAX techniques are now very popular. But programming AJAX applications typically adds a significant level of complexity to the development process. Alpha Five V9 now comes with an extensive JavaScript library that significantly simplifies the development of Web applications that employ AJAX techniques.



    Normally (without Alpha Five v9 Platinum) it would be a major undertaking to add AJAX techniques that would require you to learn to program in JavaScript (which is the langauge that Browsers understand)

    HOWEVER the big benefit of v9 platinum is that we have written a large body of very high level JavaScrip functions which have been placed into libraries. These JavaScript functions that we have written and encapsulated in one command typically replace tens or hundreds of lines of Javascript code.

    The net result is that Alpha developers are able add the very real benefits of AJAX to their web app applications -(speed, smoothness, and added control of their screens - i.e. the feel of a desktop app) with relatively little effort.

    Check out:

    http://alphasoftware.blogspot.com/20...evelopers.html

    http://alphasoftware.blogspot.com/se...myclicker.y=11

    http://www.alphasoftware.com/alphafi...p00000AJAX.asp

    tutorial: http://afas.alphasoftware.com/Sample...veTutorial.a5w

    examples: http://afas.alphasoftware.com/Sample...9/MainMenu.a5w

    videos:http://support.alphasoftware.com/Wha...New%20Features (scroll down to see Ajax videos)

    more information: http://support.alphasoftware.com/Wha..._Misc.htm#AJAX

    More tutorials are being developed
    Richard Rabins
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    Alpha Software

  8. #8
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    btw more info on the APPLICATION SERVER performance improvements (Independent from AJAX)

    Application Server Performance

    Server performance has been improved by the addition of three new capabilities - gzip compression, persistent connections and pipelining. These techniques allow the Application Server to send data to a web browser more efficiently and with less overhead.


    gzip Compression


    gzip (GNU zip) is a data compression routine similar to the common zip format. Most popular web browsers support gzip compression because it provides excellent compression and is unencumbered by patents, so almost all applications and users will benefit from this addition.

    If the Application Server detects that a client (web browser) supports gzip, it will compress data that it sends to the client if the data is not already in a compressed format (e.g. JPEG images). In the case of a typical HTML or A5W page, the compression is often greater than 70%, so the response is received by the client much quicker. For example, pipeboost.com provides an online tool to measure the impact that compression has on a specific web page. Using that tool to test Example 1.23 in the Application Server Sample Pages shows a download speed improvement of over 570%. http://www.pipeboost.com/GetReport.a...led_Images.A5w


    Persistent Connections

    Persistent connections allow multiple requests and responses to be sent on the same TCP connection - the underlying transport used by servers and clients. Reusing the established connection is much more efficient than creating a new connection for each request, much the same way people would ask and answer multiple questions during a single conversation instead of starting a whole new conversation for each question.

    In the case of SSL, the overhead to set up the TCP connection and negotiate the encryption is more significant than creating a standard TCP connection, so the benefit of persistent connections is even greater.

    Persistent connections are well supported by common web browsers, making this a widely useful improvement.


    Pipelining

    Pipelining allows the server to receive multiple requests for resources from a client without having to fulfill each request before receiving the next. Because many HTTP requests are smaller that TCP packets, this means that the browser can more efficiently send requests to the server when it knows it needs multiple files, such as embedded style sheets and images. Pipelined requests are analogous to a telephone conversation where both parties can speak at the same time, compared to walkie-talkies where each side must wait for the other to finish first.

    Unfortunately, pipelining is not as commonly supported in clients as gzip and persistent connections are. According to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_pipelining Internet Explorer does not support this and Firefox supports it but it is disabled by default. However, when a client uses pipelining, the Application Server will be able to handle the pipelined requests to optimize performance.
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

  9. #9
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    another ajax example

    This next video shows how you can use Xbasic to code a grid that uses AJAX callbacks to get desktop application like performance for a Grid.
    Includes an AJAX callback to the server which in turns looks up city and state for a zip code. Enjoy.

    Watch video.
    http://www.alphasoftware.com/VideoNe...ax_GridDBF.swf
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

  10. #10
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulltimer View Post
    I'm a A5V8 user and after a steep learning curve, finally believe I have a grasp of what's going on with this platform.

    Now comes V9-Platinum. On the surface it has some features that seem to appeal to me. However the truth of the matter is, money is very tight and to spend upwards of $600, when I don't need to, may not make "real world"
    sense (at this time).
    Completely understandable!

    What are your current needs? I found that as long as you keep V8 installed on your PC, using V9 to develop WAS pages and to write internal tools is a very affordable way of going about this, especially with the "buy developer + 1 re-usable non-active link RT" offer they had going. That gives you the liberty to develop some apps in V9 but you don't have to move all your development to that version if you don't want to spend money on the runtimes and V9 WAS just yet :)

    There is NO point in upgrading if you have no use for the new features, but I found the combo of V9 for development and internal tools & WAS V8 very productive....

    * Is there a noticable improvement in the performance of the WAS?
    For us, yes, but the main speed improvement is in the Ajax library vs. using traditional grids etc.

    * Do the Active Table Links work as anticipated?
    Depends on what you anticipated! ;)

    For us they mostly do, yes, but then we only use them to update data, not to run reports against etc. (still MUCH faster to run an SQL report against the SQL database directly)

    * Is the Ajax easy enough to work with or does it have a long way yet to go?
    There could be more documentation but the samples in the WAS example pages are enough to get you going.... no GUIs for them but it proved faster to learn to use more Xbasic in a5w pages instead anyway!

    Can the V8 and V9 WAS work on the same physical server?
    Yes but one of them has to use a different port.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Andrea,

    Thank you very much for your point by point response to my original post. V9 is
    definitely in my future plans.

    Tom

  12. #12
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulltimer View Post
    Andrea,

    Thank you very much for your point by point response to my original post. V9 is
    definitely in my future plans.

    Tom
    If you don't need the new features that urgently, I'd wait until offers for V9 bundles a la the late-2007 V8 offers start appearing, no point in spending money unnecessarily! If you want to start "playing" with V9 properly, then there is no reason why you can't get the developer copy and possibly the 1 user unlimited/re-usable RT now, though. I guess whether a "limited" Upgrade is worth it NOW depends on whether you currently have V8 Enterprise (if you do, then the things you MOST seem to want, e.g. SQL reporting and queries, are all achievable with that).
    Last edited by NoeticCC; 04-10-2008 at 04:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Money is tight, Need Honest responses concerning V9-Platinum

    1) That's a pretty awesome advertisement for V9! All those Ajax features are very fast and cool...exactly what I'm missing in my current apps. I'd read about them, but seeing this was really helpful.
    2) You just turned me onto Jing!! Thanks!

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