While it is certainly easy to just accept and run the database application that is sitting on most Windows-based PCs, Alpha Softwares Alpha Five Version 6 gives companies a great alternative for a workgroup-based database application.
Version 6 of Alpha Five began shipping at the end of last month for $1,499 for a five-user license. I liked the way this new version extends programming capabilities for building more complex, automated applications using Xbasic, Active Scripting and ActiveX.
Its also easier to share these applications over the Web via the optional new $699 Alpha Web application server. With the application server added, this version is more akin to FileMakers FileMaker 7 and Server 7—only more extensible.
Alpha Five now supports object-level security, allowing me to change access rights for individuals and groups down to the table level. Furthermore, the database has good integration points with SQL databases via ADO (ActiveX Database Object) and the Alpha Five Xdialog control, which uses a wizard to quickly guide users through creating a connection.
Alpha Five has several additions that take the pain out of managing a database application. Theres a nice tool for deleting duplicate records, and publishing to the Web is straightforward. Alpha Five manages the Web application server, so we found it easy to stop and start an application as needed.