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Thread: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

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    Default Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Hi Everybody,

    I have been looking into Alpha Five over the past two weeks with the view to build a database for our business to replace one developed in FileMaker which we currently use and which I'd like very much to be rid of - for many reasons.

    My time is limited in assessing all the pros and cons, but I am rather impressed with all the supporting enthusiasm of A5 users, especially on the Forum. The only "gripe" I might have is the sheer amount of information available and the problem remembering where and what I've seen for retrieval.

    This may seem like a silly question but I'm having a problem deciding where to start if we do go ahead with A5. That is, do we develop a desktop app first or a web app? It doesn't seem that obvious to me.

    I've read somewhere that one can develop hybrid desktop/web apps but I'm not sure where one starts and finishes. We have a medical equipment hire/sales company, with several depot locations. The database is currently used on our office LAN but we want to be able to use it in each depot as well and we are having all sorts of problems getting FileMaker to do this in a workable manner.

    I'm hoping someone can give us some pointers to head us in the 'right' direction. It seems as tho' A5 can do the job, just where do we start? All or any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Ron S
    Last edited by webcommerce; 05-15-2011 at 10:08 PM. Reason: correct spelling

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    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Desktop is easier. But if you have web experience go for it. A lot of guys with a web background take to Alpha web like a duck to water.

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    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    with several depot locations
    Based on what you just asked, you would be best with a web type app. This also gives you the option to have a desktop app in the office as desired and people from in the field/home/other can log in also as needed.

    It can be done as a desktop, but what you asked is not IMHO the best way.

    You may get a great deal of a head start speaking to Steve Wood or Alpha at IADN about the prototype/framework Steve Developed and I would suggest SQL.

    If I were developing what you said, it would be sql, Steve's framework, security, server, and duplicate your tables from Filemaker as best you can. The build you forms/grids/web pages and reports needed.

    Sounds easier than it sounds. Normal! Right?

    Now, see how others respond. They may do better?

    As Peter said Desktop is easier(to build).
    Last edited by DaveM; 05-15-2011 at 10:46 PM.
    Dave Mason
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    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Ron,

    Check my website and join us for the free Friday Noon Roundtable. We discuss anything-Alpha. Love to hear some new voices.
    Steve Wood
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    What Dave said. Multiple physical locations, sans some other infrastructure to tie them together, almost always mean you want a web application.

    Keep in mind too that if you think that part of what you want is really a desktop application, much of what you build for the web side can also be presented in a desktop application; things like grids can be put on your desktop app, reports can be the exact same in both cases, etc.
    -Steve


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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
    Desktop is easier. But if you have web experience go for it. A lot of guys with a web background take to Alpha web like a duck to water.
    Thank you Peter......This is excellent advice, and appreciated. My web experience is limited to actual websites where I do have some small expertise. However, that's not database. I understand the concept of the desktop approach but after reading more forum discussions I am still having a problem visualising how to tie this in to web interface for remote site access. Maybe some one else will be able to clarify this for me?

    Ron S

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Based on what you just asked, you would be best with a web type app. This also gives you the option to have a desktop app in the office as desired and people from in the field/home/other can log in also as needed.

    It can be done as a desktop, but what you asked is not IMHO the best way.

    You may get a great deal of a head start speaking to Steve Wood or Alpha at IADN about the prototype/framework Steve Developed and I would suggest SQL.

    If I were developing what you said, it would be sql, Steve's framework, security, server, and duplicate your tables from Filemaker as best you can. The build you forms/grids/web pages and reports needed.

    Sounds easier than it sounds. Normal! Right?

    Now, see how others respond. They may do better?

    As Peter said Desktop is easier(to build).
    Thank you Dave. From this I have gathered that the easiest (??) is not necessarily the best way to go .. I will certainly check out your suggestions. I did look at Steve's framework, but really didn't understand quite what it was able to do for us. I'll go back and look at it again .. maybe ask some questions?

    You will perhaps forgive me for saying this is all pretty clear for you experts in A5. I'm finding it harder to get my head around what A5 can do for ME. There is so much information available it seems difficult to find the particulars that are applicable to our requirements.

    I have the road map in my head, it's the directions I'm having a problem with!!

    Ron S
    Ron S

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    Ron,

    Check my website and join us for the free Friday Noon Roundtable. We discuss anything-Alpha. Love to hear some new voices.
    Thank you .. I hope to see you there!

    Ron S

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Workings View Post
    What Dave said. Multiple physical locations, sans some other infrastructure to tie them together, almost always mean you want a web application.

    Keep in mind too that if you think that part of what you want is really a desktop application, much of what you build for the web side can also be presented in a desktop application; things like grids can be put on your desktop app, reports can be the exact same in both cases, etc.
    Thank you Steve for your time. I now am concluding the web approach is the starter. I really don't understand the difference in design strategy between the desktop and the web - prepared at this time to work on blind faith in expert opinion. Just I would like to have an inkling of what I'm getting into. Maybe more reading will give me further clues?

    For you - and everyone who has answered my question - I am impressed with the obvious willingness to help out a novice in all this. To the extent I'm now firmly committed to going with A5.

    Thank again. Ron S

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Ron

    I came from a very strong Filemaker background and am now moving everything over to Alpha. Feel free to contact me if you want some info on that process and the "gotchas" you might encounter. I am only dealing with web apps, so I can only comment on that aspect of Alpha...but I certainly can give you a Filemaker to Alpha perspective.

    Greg

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by gregincolumbus View Post
    Ron

    I came from a very strong Filemaker background and am now moving everything over to Alpha. Feel free to contact me if you want some info on that process and the "gotchas" you might encounter. I am only dealing with web apps, so I can only comment on that aspect of Alpha...but I certainly can give you a Filemaker to Alpha perspective.

    Greg
    Hello Greg,

    I'm really 'bowled over' by the generosity of this community, yours included. Thank you for your kind offer. I will keep that in mind. I'm currently looking into Alphtogo's template concept and thinking that would make a good starting point.

    Ron S

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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Ron

    I HIGHLY recommend the AlphatoGo template. I used it this year to create an online registration system......it helped me process over 31,000 registrations over a 3 month period. It gets you up and running EXTREMELY quickly. Steve Woods is also a tremendous resource for learning Alpha. He went WAY above and beyond the expected level in terms of support for his product. I cannot speak highly enough regarding his professionalism and helpfulness!!

    Please let me know if you have any Filemaker to Alpha questions.
    Greg

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    Wink Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    From history, changing from filemaker to alpha is like most things. FORGET FILEMAKER and start new. Only bring any data you need with you.

    I do mostly desktop and have used filemaker, there is no comparison between the two except they both hold data.

    The addition of web based is a big plus for alpha and it is going to carry them into many areas that filemaker is laughed at. It is not easy, although easier than most other ways out there. At least you do not start with a blank sheet of paper. I guess that is what rad is all about. When using clipper, we did the writing in something like notepad and had to compile the code(drink a cup of coffee or a pot sometimes) and run it before we saw a result. With alpha, you basically see what you did real quick.

    I believe what we are all helping you with right now and in your future, you will return to others later when you "got it".
    Dave Mason
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    Ron,

    Check my website and join us for the free Friday Noon Roundtable. We discuss anything-Alpha. Love to hear some new voices.
    Thanks Steve, have sent you a pm re the Roundtable.
    Ron S

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    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    I should revise my website, make it easier to contact me. The Contact Us page works for that, or the forum at http://forum.alphadevnet.com for general questions. or my email is steve at alphatogo.com.

    The Friday webinars are under the Webinars link, upper right. Just click the link around Noon Pacific Friday to be connected. Anyone is invited. We cover technical topics, business topics or just bs for the hour if that is what happens.
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Get the AlphaToGo template. It will save you a lot of time and frustration. It is a great starting point to get a site up and running. I was very new to Alpha when I purchased it, but had a little difficulty setting it up, which was not relate to the template, but rather my lack of knowledge of MySQL. Steve Wood was very helpful and had me up and running very quickly. I have redesigned some of my applications from .NET, Access and VB to Alpha while learning Alpha at the same time and agree that the desktop is much quicker, at least for me, but realize I will more than likely need to move the desktop apps to web based sooner or later anyway. The web based apps are more difficult for me because I am just learning it, where the desktop apps are closer to the platforms I have used in the past. Either way you go, I am sure Alpha will impress you as it has me.
    J.R.
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    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    There are just a few terminologies different that can throw you. Make a grid or should we call it a form? cgi calls it a form. Most web stuff calls it a form. I do not know why alpha termed it a grid. It never made sense to me, but it is all the same. There are other terminologies like that too. Maybe form to alpha is only desktop.

    I most of the products I use, I make a form directly on a web page and the add the underlying. In alpha you make a table, make a grid, then add it to a web page. Chicken or egg??
    Dave Mason
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    Default Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    Quote Originally Posted by webcommerce View Post
    Thank you Steve for your time. I now am concluding the web approach is the starter. I really don't understand the difference in design strategy between the desktop and the web - prepared at this time to work on blind faith in expert opinion. Just I would like to have an inkling of what I'm getting into. Maybe more reading will give me further clues?

    For you - and everyone who has answered my question - I am impressed with the obvious willingness to help out a novice in all this. To the extent I'm now firmly committed to going with A5.

    Thank again. Ron S
    Check out Steve Working's Total Web App video tutorial... What a great catapult in the learning curve that tutorial is...

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    Thumbs up Re: Where do we start with A5 development of a database?? Desktop/Web/?

    To everyone who gave me such valuable advice,

    You'll be pleased to know I took up Alpha Five's great bundle offer and now have ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!!

    We are going to go with a web approach and will be using Steve Woods' Template.

    ... and I'm 30% into Steve Working's great tutorial.

    Thanks again to everyone. Once I have some runs on the board I hope to be able to repay by maybe helping out others like me!!

    Ron S

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