Now on its tenth version, Alpha Five incorporates what is probably the single most important feature yet: Codeless AJAX.
Alpha Five Version 10, the latest version
from Alpha Software, lets you create Web-based
database applications using Codeless AJAX technology.
The Alpha Five v10 Developer version sells for $349.00 (with
a free 30-day trial), and the Alpha Five v10 Application
Server is $599. You can purchase both for $799.
Alpha Five is a database development tool that has its roots
in software that was first created nearly 30 years ago. It was originally one
of the early database tools that competed with products such as FoxPro and,
later, Microsoft Access. While most of
the other tools are long gone, Alpha Five has continued evolving and growing as
it keeps up with modern technology.
Case in point: When it became clear that the Web was here
to stay, Alpha Software added Web capabilities to Alpha Five. While you previously
applications, you can now use it to create
full-featured applications that run in a browser, with an Alpha Five Web server
on the other end. The server,
connects to the databases and their tables, and can dish out Web pages
for accessing the data in the browsers.
Alpha Five is now on its tenth version,
which incorporates what is
probably the single most important feature yet: Codeless AJAX. Using
various wizards and property editors in Alpha Five, you can quickly and
easily put together a complete AJAX-powered
application using no programming
development cycle is the grid
AJAX control that can
display data in a browser in a grid fashion, letting users page through and
sort the data. As with any good AJAX application, the
sorting and paging is confined to the grid itself without the user having to
refresh the page. Instead, the refreshes happen in the background using
Creating a grid is easy: you specify
the data connection, which can be Alpha Five's built-in
DBF databases or any other database using
additional drivers, such as SQL Server and MySQL) Then you choose what fields
you want to appear in the grid, how many rows the grid should display and you
let it roll. Those are the basic steps-there are
dozens of additional properties available for further customization-which are enough to create a grid that can
appear on a Web page. It really
is that easy.
When I started trying out Alpha Five v10, I was
a little skeptical because of the focus on the grid. I
come from an ASP.NET world, where I'm used to seeing a huge
toolbox filled with rich-text
controls, and I doubted that you could really use Alpha Five to make more than
just basic grid-based data applications.
But, as it turns out, the grid control is
really much more than just a grid. You can configure each record to appear in a
form layout, and from there you can customize the look of the individual
fields. What's more, you can
choose to display only single records or multiple records-and even columns of records-giving
power very similar to the
repeater controls that ASP.NET programmers love.
The grid has dozens of properties that include styles for the overall grid as well for the individual fields. These
fields can show images or text or rich HTML text. The grids can be
read-only or updatable; with updatable grids, the end user can
type into the grid and even open a full-featured WYSIWYG HTML editor for
entering rich text right from within the browser. And you
can also create
multiple grids and tie them together.