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Thread: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5

  1. #1
    Jasmine
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    Default Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5

    I am converting database files from alpha four to alpha five. However, today I ran into a little snag. You see, I was converting all of the main files and couldn't go any further since I was getting error messages upon conversion. I realized that it was due to the fact that Indexes and Forms had not been created for this, or if they had been created, they did not have the correct fields. I am lost since this is my first time doing this and am wondering if you may have some advice on how I can go about searching for preexisting indexes, and/or creating new ones along with forms in order to convert from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5.

    If you can, please email me.

    Thank you,
    Jasmine.

  2. #2
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Ohlen Cartmell
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    Default RE: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alph

    Jasmine,

    You do not have to convert files from A4 to A5 since both use the same file format. A5 does use a different format for memo fields and will be converted the first time the file is opened in A5. So, don't open your primary database. Instead, copy the files and then open the copies the first time. That way if there is a problem, your files are still usable in A4 until the problems are ironed out. However, you do need to recreate your forms, reports, browses and scripts.

    If you have already defined field rules for the A5 data, the most likely cause of your snag is a record that doesn't match the field rule requirements.

  3. #3
    Denny Johnson
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    Default RE: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alph

    Ohlen,
    I just read your practical note to Jasmine about copying files. However, the matter-of-fact observation that she would "have to recreate...forms, reports, browses and scripts" is unsettling.

    After all this time, does Alpha STILL not maintain backward compatibility for such complicated creations? Tell me it's not true!

    I have stuck with this database for many years because of its general ease of use, yet it still puzzles me that Alphasoftware's apparent disregard for the hours its customers have invested in these very personal creations seems never to have become an ongoing public issue.

    Is this major inconvenience at every upgrade really accepted as "de rigeur" by the alpha community at large?

    Denny

  4. #4
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    William Hanigsberg
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    Default RE: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alph

    Denny,

    I feel your pain but we must also be reasonable. The move from Dos to windows is not an version upgrade but a change in environment. Even if it could be done, backward compatibility to dos would deprive you of the advantages of the windows platform in which case why convert.

    If it works in Dos, leave it alone. There is your "compatibility."

    If there is an advantage to windows for your application, do not convert it; rewrite it, better reconceptualize it.

    Many of us have been this route.

    Finally, to refer to "Alphasoftware's apparent disregard for the hours its customers have invested" is as mean-spirited as it is untrue. Few companies are as mindful of their customers interests as Alpha Software is of ours.

    Bill

  5. #5
    Member
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    Paul French
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    Default RE: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alph

    Two notes:

    1. Alpha has just released Alpha Four version 7 which will reportedly run reliably on Windows NT, 2000, XP, etc. so that those with heavy investments in version 4 development can continue to operate. I'm having difficulty thinking of any other applications software publisher that is making the same kind of effort to facilitate those who who chose to stay with DOS based applications.

    2. If Alpha Five were a simple update of Alpha Four into a Windows environment, a conversion utility would have been a relatively trivial matter and probably would have been provided. An Alpha Five like that would have proved highly unsatisfactory to folks wanting to take full advantage of the Windows environment. By writing Alpha Five to take advantage of True Type fonts and other Windows features, Alpha Five ended up being a substantially different piece of software from Alpha Four. Alpha Five implimented similar features in very different ways. That would make a comprehensive conversion program extremely difficult if not impossible. I don't know of any other software producer that managed to provide a conversion utility to move from a DOS based version of their software to a Windows version while also producing a proper Windows version that would be accepted by those looking for a true Windows product. Alpha should be given credit for making upgrades through their Windows versions relatively smooth considering the changes that have occurred since A5 v1.

    Alpha is a small company. It's reasonably clear that a conversion product is not going to be produced. If you've followed the messages on this board for any length of time you'll find a fair number of folks who have struggled through converting from A4 to A5. Most agree that it is worth the effort.

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Dave Mason
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    Default RE: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alph

    This has been beat on for a long time now!

    I have a4 and thought it was great ( maybe better than 5 at first )

    I can name at least 26 companies that have upgraded their dos apps to run in all versions of windows.

    I prefer to make new apps in windows and have converted (rewrote) all my dos apps but one in a5

    You can ONLY port your dbf files to a5 the rest must be rewritten.

    SORRY

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Richard Merchant
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    Default Re: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5

    I think that some of the earlier comments in this thread are, if not perfectly fair, not too unreasonable.

    Maybe Alpha Software is a great company, but I certainly wouldn't be leaping to their defense yet: perhaps they put a lot of effort into their program, but certainly the problems I'm having with A4V8 and A5V7 are real, the help files don't address them, and the only help offered appears to be on these message boards by users, not Alpha people who presumably know the programs better. Perhaps they are contributing to problem resolution: perhaps I don't see those posts or they don't identify themselves - but as a user I'd appreciate their contribution to problem resolution. (I certainly do get a very steady flow of emails suggesting I buy more of their programs: are the marketing staff more important than the support staff?)

    In any case, enough of that rant. I'm experiencing a similar issue in migrating to A5 (which, incidently, I'm doing not because I don't find A4 otherwise entirely satisfactory - simple databases rule! - but rather there seems to be just too many issues with A4/Windows for my non-professional experience to resolve).

    I have some rather simple scripts automating posting information from several subsidiary databases to my main database, and with that I have several forms and browses in A4 that I've been using for years. I see no reason why Alpha Software could not have provided tools to facilitate this migration rather than (nose upturned) insist that A5 is a 'windows database', 'new product', 'windows-programmed', and propose that I re-formulate them myself.

    My two bits, with no particular axe to grind.
    Richard Merchant
    amateur Alpha user
    I liked the simplicity of A4. Migrated to A5 but want to stay at v8. With Windows10 it ain't easy!...
    :o

  8. #8
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    Eric Johnson
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    Default Re: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5

    Just to be clear....

    My understanding is that while you can run Alpha4 V6 on many Windows machines in the DOS shell, you can't convert the database structure (forms, reports, etc.) from A4V6 into a Windows version of Alpha 4 or Alpha 5.

    Is that correct?

    Parenthetically, I'm perfectly happy running our current A4V6 application in a DOS shell, since it does everything we need. My boss, for some reason, seems to think that DOS is going to become functionally obsolete in the future and that we should try to get into something more current.

    Any thoughts on that?
    Last edited by Northern Logger; 01-05-2007 at 04:49 PM.

  9. #9
    Member John Gamble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting database files from Alpha 4 to Alpha 5

    Richard

    Quote Originally Posted by rnmerchant View Post
    Maybe Alpha Software is a great company, but I certainly wouldn't be leaping to their defense yet: perhaps they put a lot of effort into their program, but certainly the problems I'm having with A4V8 and A5V7 are real, the help files don't address them, and the only help offered appears to be on these message boards by users, not Alpha people who presumably know the programs better. Perhaps they are contributing to problem resolution: perhaps I don't see those posts or they don't identify themselves - but as a user I'd appreciate their contribution to problem resolution. (I certainly do get a very steady flow of emails suggesting I buy more of their programs: are the marketing staff more important than the support staff?)
    Cruise through the boards, you will find numerous posts by Alpha Employess (Identified as Alpha Employee - Green Names).

    This board is advertized as PEER supported. Despite that, Alpha employees frequently do post responses when peer support is unsuccessful.

    While Alpha4 was (is) a fantastic product, I found that as a non programmer I just could'nt accomplish many of the functions I needed.

    Alpha5, thanks mainly to the genies, provided those tools. Bill Gates has sounded the death knoll for DOS. Like it or not DOS will be dead in the very near future.

    I'm afraid it's time to consider trading in the model and upgrading.

    Cheers, John

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