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Filemaker Pro 8.5 or Alpha Five V7?

By byte2hard ·
I need a powerful yet easy to use database for some projects I'm working on. I worked on Alpha Five several years ago and was happy with the software, but a lot has changed since then. Has anyone worked with both programs, I would like to know which you prefer and what are the Pros and Cons?

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I vote FMP all the way

by murso In reply to Filemaker Pro 8.5 or Alph ...

I've used both and I can honestly say that if you are looking for potential as well as ease of use, then go with FMP 8.5. They have made so many improvements, and with the new slash and dash web frontend and the ability to merge internet with the app, it's a DBD's dream.

FMP used to be a negative due to too much tweaking needed to make it compatible as wlel as the IWP feature did not intergrate all of the installable apps features. But with the XML, updated IWP, SQL statement generation and a few other niceities, it makes it easy to grow the database without sacrificing development time. It's also easily taught to others now.

Alpha 5 while good is still awkward. The ability to do instant web publishing isn't there and depending on your comfort level with it, training others to do simple things in it is time consuming as it is not as intuitive. Also, I like short development times with clients that need something simple. I'd rather tweak a template than go from scratch.

The negatives I have about FMP have more to do with its cost which is now eeeky at $2K for the full server and user setup.

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My Vote would be for Alpha Five - especially the upcoming Version 8

by dogloverxyz In reply to I vote FMP all the way

I have used both programs and they are both good.

I do however have a strong preference for Alpha Five.

On the ease of use front they rate neck and neck.

The real advantage that Alpha Five has is in terms of the completeness of the applications you can build in real world situations and the speed of development.

Desktop applications built in Alpha Five rival what can be done in Visual Basic whereas web applications rival what can built in php or asp. The benefit is in how much more rapidly these apps can be built in Alpha Five.

In addition the pricing on Alpha Five is a lot more reasonable.

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Alpha for web apps

by steve In reply to I vote FMP all the way

I am not a FMP guru, but comments about Alpha being awkward, not inuitive or not being able to do quick web apps are, in my opinion, not true. I am biased as a strong Alpha developer, but I chose it over FMP about two years ago and very happy. If you want a refresher on Alpha, attend one of the weekly webinars (see their website). I do one specifically on building web apps in Alpha - see

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Alpha 5 is my choice!!!!

by dbadmin In reply to Filemaker Pro 8.5 or Alph ...

I've been developing database applications for over 12 years, and I have used Paradox, Lotus Approach, Filemaker, MS Access and Alpha 5.

In my opinion, Alpha 5 brings together the best attributes of all of those other apps, and extends each of those attributes.

While FMP has always had a reputation of being easy to use, in my opinion it's featur set and form design tools have been somewhat anemic.

The Action Scripting and Genies included in the Alpha 5 product allow a non programmer to achieve a high degree of sophistication, beyond what the macros and wizards in other products that I have used provide.

The XDialog feature in Alpha 5 also provides a wealth of unique dialog boxes, that generally do not exist in these other apps.

You can create very nice user interface functionality with the Xdialog boxes, again with OR without programming...

Most other tools in this space will force you to create a small form and display it as a popup, if you want something other than a standard Yes/No/Cancel style dialog box. So the Xdialog features alone would make Alpha 5 a compelling choice.

For serious developers, Alpha 5's XBasic programming language provides a richer set of features than what you get with VBA (Visual Basic for Applications/Access).

You also almost never need to call Windows APIs or arcane DLLs to get your functionality. For example, in Acces, you need to install the Common Dialog Controls to be able to use Microsoft's own Open/Save File dialog box. If your user's machine has a different version of the common dialog control, this could break your application.

In Alpha, those types of sticking points have been eliminated for you. If you want to use a slick dialog box or form control, you can do so, and you can do it without programming too.

From a price standpoint, I understand that Filemaker Pro gets very expensive quickly if you want their server product or web server. Alpha offers a full development tool with the web server in the $500 range... VERY hard to beat.

Also, I believe FileMaker pro's data storage format is proprietary. Alpha 5 uses industry standard DBF files, and can export in a variety of formats...

Additionaly, ALpha 5 includes a number of custom features in it's tool set that do cool things like merging a list of PDf files into one larger PDF, or converting BMPs to JPGs, or reading incoming mail for you and sending responses, with attachments. Again, you could build an app with those features, with a very small amount of programming, as the guts of those functions already exits in the product.

Alpha 5 by a landslide...

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How To access Alpha 5 files through Visual Basic 6.0

by mpandey2008 In reply to Alpha 5 is my choice!!!!

Dear All,
I am a programmer and recently came to new application "ALPHA 5". It is very good application software, but I am trying to call the files and reports in Visual Basic 6.0, and I am not able to get the right connection string.
Can anyone help me to tell how it is possible connecting Alpha 5 with VB 6.0.
M Pandey

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