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Thread: Pre-sales questions

  1. #1
    Member
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    Default Pre-sales questions

    I'll try and make this as brief as possible. And thank you in advance for any insight anyone can provide.

    I'm a faculty member at a community college in Bakersfield, CA. trying to make a decision VERY QUICKLY on a new development environment to integrate into my SQL/Database Design course. My class starts the end of August with 30 students. We use M$ SQL Server and MySQL for the SQL portion of the course, M$ Access for the front-end interface work, and I'd like to incorporate some "better" web access. I'm currently using ColdFusion for this function, but have never been completely happy with it.

    I stumbled upon Alpha Five V9 and downloaded the trial copy and it looks promising, but this still have a bit too much overhead for a one semester course. V10 looks VERY promising.

    I've been calling Alpha Five for TWO WEEKS trying to get some answers and have NEVER received a call back, nor have I been able to talk to ANY human... this does not bode well. As a last resort I'm trying here to the general user base.

    My questions:

    1) Does anyone have a more defined release date for V10 other than "Summer"? I need to be able to get it and become familiar enough with it and create a few labs using the product before my class starts at the end of August. In reality, these labs won't be needed until October.

    2) Will V10 have a more "streamlined" process for the webserver side of development than V9? From my limited use, V9 still has a few too many steps for 1st time students (who have VERY different skill sets) to pick up, along with SQL and data modeling, in a one semester course. I may be able to make some cheat sheets after I learn more.

    3) Does anyone know pricing for V10? I need two sets of prices. First, for academic use for 30 students + 1 for the instructor. Second, if I like the product enough, I may do some real-life development in my consulting business. I've reviewed the pricing web pages and am a bit confused. For my own needs, I would like to run the server product on multiple servers. Let's say I develop a product that I want to sell to multiple customers who have varying concurrent user requirements. One customer might have 2 users at a time on the web server and another might need 30 users concurrently running on the web server. Most, if not all, of my development will be run from a web server.

    4) Will V10 server run as a service, or an application?

    5) I received an email yesterday from Alpha Software with some great pricing... and I'm a little ticked that the offer ends July 4th (2 days to decide) and no one is at the company to answer questions. The offer has some VERY unique wording in one section.

    "# You automatically qualify for Upgrade pricing on the upcoming Alpha Five Version 10 which will only be available for Version 9 customers.
    # 100% of the money you spend can be credited toward a future purchase of Version 10 "

    Does the second line mean for a NEW, additional, purchase (after the initial purchase of V9)? Or does it mean it will be applied to your upgrade pricing for V10.

    6) What will the upgrade pricing be and are they changing the purchasing scheme that is used. For instance, will they have a buy the server version and you can deploy the developed app on an unlimited number of servers and clients.

    I know I said I would be brief, and believe it or not this is, based on the number of other questions I have. 8-)

    Thanks for anyone who can respond by July 4th especially.

    Phil Whitney
    Last edited by pwhitney; 07-03-2009 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic Mike Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Phil,
    I would go to the following thread, select Richard Rabin and send him a personal email that highlights your needs and ask for a link for the download to beta test v10. If you make that connection with him, I imagine your position to expose a group of people to A5 would be something he is interested in promoting.

    http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...light=v10+beta
    Mike W
    __________________________
    "I rebel in at least small things to express to the world that I have not completely surrendered"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Thank you Mike for your FAST reply. I'll do just as you suggest. I should have remembered that the end-user community, especially the developer community, is very giving and helpful. I have done much development in the Visual Foxpro environment using Xcase, Xcase2VPM and VPM, and their community is helpful as well. It usually speaks volumes about the development products.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Well, I tried to do as you suggested, but he is not accepting private messages, nor public email messages... as least via the message board profile info. I'll see if his email address is available elsewhere. I have a feeling he is under time constraints and doesn't want "gnats" hovering about his head. ;-) Understandable if that is the case, but there must be SOMEONE at the company that can answer my two week old questions.

  5. #5
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    please email me at richard@alphasoftware.com with your phone number and I will call back

    We absolutely are interested in making v10 as affordable as possible for teaching purposes

    Sincerely
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Hi,

    Briefly a couple of points (I am NOT a phone person but I do sympathise, I HATE not hearing back!!!)

    a) As v10 is still in development for a sort while, they cannot give you definite legally binding answers yet for exact prices etc.

    b) Their upgrade policy is generally great so you can NOT lose out by getting the all inclusive offers like unlimited client, one developer license and web server license for v9, because if you have EVER bought ANY Alpha version they usually give you upgrade prices. I do hope that you can come to a decent agreement about the amount of licenses you need for your students etc.

    --------------------

    In more detail:

    1) The current end for the Beta trial is 1st September.

    Even if this is further extended, if you email them with a prospective order under certain conditions, they may be able to extend the "buy v9 and get deduction for v10" offer for you. Personally I have found them very accommodating once you do get a hold of them, usually by email.

    2) You have to be aware that a database and the software used to access, view and edit data in the database, via desktop and/or web, are USUALLY two separate entities.

    MS Access does a decent enough job for uniting the two for desktop development, but I always cringe when people refer to MS Access as "a database", because while it has its merits and I am fond of it for getting me hooked on databases*, a proper SQL database is a different animal altogether.

    If you want to use a product that unites both with highly sophisticated web development tools in particular, and allows you to set up database structures and desktop and web forms, then export those to mySQL and SQL Server, then I really don't see how you can find any more convenient than Alpha.

    Both mySQL and SQL Server offer FREE database management tools that are easy to use and I feel your students would really benefit from being familiar with both, for use in their careers.

    But aside from that, Alpha does allow you to set up the basic structure in DBF format and then generate the same tables and most of the table/field rules in both mySQL and SQL server, and moving in particular web apps from DBF to SQL database as a back end is genuinely a doddle.

    3) Pricing seems likely to be similar to v9 pricing, with a little communication (once you hear back, fingers crossed!) and negotiating I am sure you can work something out that will be a good bargain and benefit your students greatly. Just try email for starters, it's always good to have a written and electronic record of your correspondence, no?

    4) As far as I know it still runs as an app BUT... a very cheap useful app recommended by seasoned Alpha gurus on the forum: "AlwaysUp" plus for some other tasks that may be very useful for other development tasks, WatchDirectory and WatchFTP. Links below:

    AlwaysUp: http://www.coretechnologies.com/products/AlwaysUp/
    AlwaysUp FREE web service so you can restart via a browser: http://www.coretechnologies.com/prod...sUpWebService/

    WatchDirectory: http://www.watchdirectory.net
    WatchFTP: http://www.watchftp.com/

    5) As I said, email sales and I hope they will respond.

    6) For educational purposes, one server for use for all your students will be enough unless something changes drastically in the licensing.

    Each developer copy has a built in web server which is by far sufficient for a student to publish and try out their web app and as long as you own a server license for your institution, they can submit their projects by publishing them to a folder named after their student name/id or whatever on the college's server.

    Upgrade pricing will be similar to v8-v9 upgrade pricing from what I understand.

    * Had I known Alpha back then I would have been hooked much more quickly!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    THANK YOU! Sorry for shouting but I'm a happy camper right now. I just got off the phone with Richard and he was very helpful. Talk about support. 8-)

    Thank you for your reply. It was very helpful in making my decision as well.

  8. #8
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by pwhitney View Post
    THANK YOU! Sorry for shouting but I'm a happy camper right now. I just got off the phone with Richard and he was very helpful. Talk about support. 8-)

    Thank you for your reply. It was very helpful in making my decision as well.
    Great news, sometimes you have to shout to get answers, certainly that has been my experience in life so far! :)

  9. #9
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Andrea thanks for the heads up.

    Phil Whitney and I have spoken and he is all set for now.
    Regards
    richard
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by NoeticCC View Post
    Hello All,

    I am Gert Rijs, main developer of WatchDirectory and WatchFTP. First, my apologies if it isn't appropriate to post this, I don't want to spam your community. Please delete this post if you feel it is not appropriate.

    I noticed this post in my weblogs and remembered talking to Andrea (NoeticCC) and Steve ( www.alphatogo.com ) earlier. I am not an Alpha user, but I understand from Andrea and Steve our programs can help to solve certain types of programming issues you may encounter with Alpha. I believe Steve has a video presentation on his site showing how he uses WatchDirectory with Alpha.

    Anyway, as these posts by Steve and Andrea are "free advertisement" for us (we don't have to pay google for these links), we can offer our programs at a 33% discount to Alpha customers.

    If you are interested, please use the discount-code NOETIC in our webshop. Also, you can try our programs 30 days - no restrictions.

    Have a great day!
    Gert

  11. #11
    Member FrankR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Andrea has hit the big time - she now has a discount code named
    after her. :D
    Frank R

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Is life that simple ;-)
    You can also use the coupon STEVEWOOD, by the way.

    Gert

  13. #13
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by pwhitney
    2) Will V10 have a more "streamlined" process for the webserver side of development than V9? From my limited use, V9 still has a few too many steps for 1st time students (who have VERY different skill sets) to pick up, along with SQL and data modeling, in a one semester course. I may be able to make some cheat sheets after I learn more.
    While it's true that the WAS has a million options, it's easy to cut to the chase. Look again at some of the v.10 videos by Selwyn. Basically he selects a table, checks a few options and your done! Sure, if you are building a full blown web app it's not quite so simple. But basic functionality is now a breeze in v.10. Use the videos as your teaching template.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GertRijs View Post
    I believe Steve has a video presentation on his site showing how he uses WatchDirectory with Alpha.
    Steve emailed me the link
    http://www.alphatogo.com/openfile.a5...1F7EC846A58B81

    I just tried the link, but I lost my login for Steve's site, I will search for it tomorrow. If I remember correctly, he uses WatchDirectory to offload CPU intensive tasks from his webserver.

    @FrankR - do you want to have a coupon code named after you ;-)
    @Noetic - I have great experience myself with http://www.firedaemon.com/ - not saying AlwaysUp is not good (I don't know them), but FireDaemon has great support (and I am not saying AlwaysUp doesn't - I don't know them)
    @everyone - I also posted a message on the independent alpha 5 dev network (http://forum.alphadevnet.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=47) where I describe my programs a bit further.

    Gert
    Last edited by GertRijs; 07-04-2009 at 03:37 PM.

  15. #15
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankR View Post
    Andrea has hit the big time - she now has a discount code named
    after her. :D
    LOL maybe that means I'm cheap :p

  16. #16
    "Certified" Alphaholic NoeticCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GertRijs View Post
    @FrankR - do you want to have a coupon code named after you ;-)
    @Noetic - I have great experience myself with http://www.firedaemon.com/ - not saying AlwaysUp is not good (I don't know them), but FireDaemon has great support (and I am not saying AlwaysUp doesn't - I don't know them)
    Thanks I will check them out, always happy to try alternatives although they do sound very similar.

  17. #17
    Member NicholasWieland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pre-sales questions

    Gert,


    WOW if I had know just purchased Watchdirectory for "Roy" in June and for your FYI thank Steve again as he turned me on to it.

    Printing PDF files to a directory and Watchdirectory prints them to a network printer that is at a workstation/tablet PC that is so busy the men there do not have time to print and wait - have barcode labels pouring out every 2-6 seconds for a very fast mfg process and renaming and copying yto a new directory after processing.

    Thanks
    Nicholas Wieland

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