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Codeless AJAX development improves Alpha Five V10 for the Web[3/12/2010]
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By adding a form of codeless AJAX development, Alpha Software lets V10 developers create Web-based apps with richer user interface controls for Oracle databases.

Alpha Software has been offering database and programming tools since 1992. Over the years, the company's database management product has changed from a Foxpro/Dbase III competitor into a 4GL (fourth generation language), then into a complete DBMS (database management system) and then into a RAD tool. Versions shipped prior to the recently released V10 focused on creating desktop applications for Microsoft Windows environments. Alpha Five V9 started to change the development paradigm by including some Web application development capabilities and an application server component that was able to serve up hand-coded AJAX applications to users.

Alpha Five V10 has extended the Web application development capabilities of the product by adding a form of codeless AJAX development. This has enabled developers to create Web-based applications with rich user interface controls without having to delve into complicated coding.

While Alpha Five V10 offers connectivity into Oracle (and other) SQL databases, it is by no means a full-fledged Oracle database management product. Developers using Alpha Five V10 will still need to use other tools for DBA chores and database design.

That said, on the development side of the equation, Alpha Five V10 offers a full quota of application development tools to create applications for two separate environments: the Windows desktop and AJAX. The desktop development tools and the Web application tools are two separate components of the Alpha Five V10 development environment and use different paradigms for designing applications.

Both have some commonality, such as the ability to create applications without writing code. Both environments support the drag-and-drop population of forms with predefined objects (such as fields, buttons, controls, lookups, combo boxes, etc.) that eliminate the need for any hand-coding. Both environments also offer "genies," an Alpha Five term for wizards that automate many manual functions.

On the Web application side of the product, developers will have to familiarize themselves with the "grid," which is home to the objects that designate which functions are to be run. Oracle developers will find that the "grid" is straightforward and something on which they can quickly "paint" their various lookups, tables, fields, calculations and processes without having to write a single line of code.

By doing this, programmers can quickly set up simple applications in a matter of minutes and deliver those applications very quickly via the Web. Ideally, developers will want to explore all of the capabilities of the product before laying out complex applications for Web deployments. The company offers extensive documentation, online support and tons of how-to videos, all of which help reduce the learning curve. That curve can be significant because Alpha Five is not like most tools Oracle developers have used in the past.

What is nice about Alpha Five V10 is that it's a complete solution. The product offers a full complement of development tools and bundles in a Web application server that serves up any Alpha Five Ajax applications that work with any Web browser. Arguably, there is no quicker way to bring an application to the Web than with Alpha Five V10.