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Thread: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

  1. #1
    Member
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    Default Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Hi

    I purchased Susan's books on A5 and the books on X-Basic but they are huge.

    I find it very difficult to wade my way through books just following sort of by rote and copying down and doing what they say.

    I find I learn a whole lot better if I think of something I wish to achieve and then can work out how to accomplish it.

    I have another post on this site asking how to populate a Browse based on a selection from a Combo Box.

    I had a look at Alpha Sports database and on the Invoices Form on the left hand side they have a Type-in Field with an upside down arrow on it for the Customer_ID field. When you click on it a Customer.dbf:Lookup appears. Ah I thought that would be useful, I'll have a look at the properties of the Type-in field to see how that's done...but when I do there is nothing I can see in the properties that would indicate it would perform the action it does, so I figured the Customer.dbf:Lookup must be driven by an Event of the Type-in Field, but when I look at the events of that field there is nothing to indicate that a click or anything causes the Lookup to appear.

    So I went to A5 Help system and typed in Lookup to see how they are created, and it starts going on about the listbox tab of the Table Lookups form contains two list boxes....but I'm not sure what tables etc the Help is refering to?

    What I would like to find is a reference manual for A5, it is so frustrating when you have used another database product and been told A5 can create better databases in less time and not be able to accomplish even the simplist of things and be unable to locate help quickly to enable you to improve your understanding.

    I know this forum is great but surely there is something out there that can assist with finding out how the controls on forms /X-Basic etc all fit together?

    Unfortunatly there is just not the time to start at the beginning of the help file and read and try to absorb it all at once.

    Are there any simple databases or maybe I should say small databases that can be downloaded to enable people to see how things are put together..perhaps with just a couple of things per database that you could really get stuck into and learn without having to open a database that is fairly comprehensive and covers heaps of dirfferent topics but is difficult to follow if you are a newcomer like me?

    Thanks for any assistance.
    Mike

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    AlphaSports Explained

    There should also be Design Notes on each form.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Hi Stan

    Thanks for your reply. I had a look through the Alpha Sports Explained within the Help attached to my copy of A5, but after looking in the section on the Invoices Form, I can see nothing that indicates how a person could get a Type-In field to have an Up-pointing arrow attached to it and bring up a sepersate thing called a lookup when clicked? It almost appears to be a combobox or somesuch rather than a Type-in Field.

    When I drag a database field onto a form from the DragDrop list or drag a Type-in Field from the Toolbox it never has an arrow attached that behaves like the Alpha sports one does in the Invoices form.

    Thanks
    Mike

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Mike,

    As far as help references I have mainly used Alpha's help either local or online and this forum. Alpha's main help takes a little while to get used to but has a lot of stuff in there.

    Others are

    Specifically about that up pointing arrow on the Invoice form. That has been achieved through the field rules for the invoice_header table. Right click the table - choose Edit Field Rule... - pick the customer field - go to the lookup tab. The thing to remember is that defining the lookup in the field rules is that it is system wide and the field will have a drop down where ever you use the field.
    Tim Kiebert
    Eagle Creek Citrus
    A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Thanks Tim I'll take a look now.

    Just out of interest, as I said earlier the prime reason for me getting A5 was that a customer I visited reckoned it was a LOT easier to develop a useful database with Alpha than Access. I'm quite happy with Access and DAO and so far have not found much I cannot do with it, however I like the User interface of Alpha and I feel you can create nicer looking Forms etc.

    Do you feel that is true, that it is Easier to use than Access? So far I do not feel that is the case.

    Mike

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Have only ever poked around Access (never seriously so not a fair test) and found it not very intuitive.(at least not matching my intuition). It never inspired me to delve into it. Have seen a few apps created in Access albeit not by professionals and know that it would have been a lot easier in Alpha.

    I came to A5 after being frustrated with the limitations of FM Pro.

    Like switching between any software you have to not think how you would do it in Access but decide what you want to accomplish and find the tools that Alpha has to do the job. And there are many tools.
    Tim Kiebert
    Eagle Creek Citrus
    A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Quote Originally Posted by ZaphodBBB View Post
    ... So I went to A5 Help system and typed in Lookup to see how they are created, and it starts going on about the listbox tab of the Table Lookups form contains two list boxes....but I'm not sure what tables etc the Help is refering to?

    What I would like to find is a reference manual for A5, it is so frustrating when you have used another database product and been told A5 can create better databases in less time and not be able to accomplish even the simplist of things and be unable to locate help quickly to enable you to improve your understanding.

    Unfortunatly there is just not the time to start at the beginning of the help file and read and try to absorb it all at once.

    Are there any simple databases or maybe I should say small databases that can be downloaded to enable people to see how things are put together..perhaps with just a couple of things per database that you could really get stuck into and learn without having to open a database that is fairly comprehensive and covers heaps of dirfferent topics but is difficult to follow if you are a newcomer like me?
    Part of the problem with writing a reference manual or building a 'reference database' is that there are so many ways to accomplish something in A5. Each way has advantages and disadvantages so the best way often depends on what you are trying to do. In the end, the best method is probably to search for answers in the Help file and on this message board (each version since many things haven't changed) then ask specific questions on this message board when you can't find the answer. You should typically keep the questions to one per thread and be specific - even post example code or even zip your app, or a sample app, if possible and explain exactly what you are trying to accomplish and where you are having difficulty.

    Also, it's a good idea to mention the underlying purpose. Many people ask questions on specific methods when another method might accomplish their ultimate goal more easily.

    I haven't checked the Alpha Sports app yet but I'm betting that the lookup is part of the field rules for that table. Open the table to the field rules and check the rules for that specific field.

    Later: Yep! Here's a demo movie. See, it really is easy.

    I forgot to mention another problem that affects everyone - the difficulty in changing mind-set when moving from one program to another. Just because they are both database programs doesn't mean they will work the same way. Many things are common and most things - certainly the basics - that one can do, the other can also do - the trick is to figure out how. Of course, most of us on this message board believe that the "how" is actually easier in A5 but we also realize that it takes awhile to figure it out. Sometimes that's even more true for those who are switching than for those who are starting from scratch.
    Last edited by CALocklin; 01-03-2009 at 11:36 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Hi Cal

    Thanks for the demo Movie... I had a look at it earlier and got the Lookup to work to a degree..just need a lot more time to get to grips with A5 I guess.

    I'll plug away again when I get a little more free time.

    Again thanks for all your assistance, it is appreciated.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    You can also check my website under Developer Resources. Bunch of video and papers and utilities. Mosty regarding the web, and not really beginner information, but still a good resource.
    Steve Wood
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Mike, you should spend an afternoon working through the User's Guide. It's available on the Contents tab of the Help system. Then work thorugh two tutorials "Getting Started With Alpha Five" and "Introduction to Action Scripting". They're on the Contents tab of the Help system, too. In fact, you'd be ahead of most if you spent 30 minutes studying what's available in the help system. It's huge. Getting familiar with what's located where will pay dividends for you.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Mike:

    I have developed several fairly sophisticated multi user Access applications. What you say is true - Access can handle just about everything. However, since coming to Alpha for the rapid Web development I have since created both Web and desktop applications with Alpha and I can tell you the development time required is greatly reduced with Alpha. I have not found anything that Alpha cannot do that Access can.

    It is true that it you can more readily get your hands on Access material but Alpha is slowly catching up. This Board is priceless in terms of the expertise and patience of the contributors. I have been on many Access boards and have been appalled at the derogatory attitudes many of the experts display to new users as well as seasoned users due to their level of understanding. That is not the case on this Board. People go out of their way to assist.

    I still maintain some Access databases but I have leveraged their value by using Alpha as a web based front end. Alpha's ability to work with almost any SQL product makes it a very powerful product. I am developing a web application now with Alpha that will be using data from several different SQL sources. You will not be able to do that with Access. Access has never had a great reputation when working with more than a handful of multi users in a networked environment. For a multi user environment MS suggests you move to SQL server which is no easier task and certainly not one for the casual developer. I have one Alpha web project using Alpha's native DBF files with over 50 users and have never had a problem. Many on this board have developed feature rich commercial grade multi user applications using both the desktop and Web versions of Alpha.

    I had to make an adjustment moving from Access to Alpha and it did take some time but is was worth it. Tom and the others offer good advice. Work through the tutorials and study the sample databases and search this board. Before long, you will be able to develop much more rapidly than you ever were with Access. Welcome and good luck!

    Steve

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Where Can I find Specific Help on Alpha Five PLEASE PLEASE

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the heads up. I certainly agree regarding the way Some experts on Access treat new-comers, though to balance that there are, as on here, some amazingly helpful people out there too.

    I'll stick with it then and just try and devote a little more time to Alpha and see how I go. The Web developing sounds good, what I'm trying to do now would probably suit web rather than desktop too, so once I get a little more comfortable with A5 i'll have to look into that too.

    All the best and thanks for the encouragement.

    Mike

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