A perspective from a seasoned developer comparing Alpha Anywhere to the alternatives - ideal for people "who just want to get the job done."

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A perspective from a seasoned developer comparing Alpha Anywhere to the alternatives - ideal for people "who just want to get the job done."

Exploring the mobile landscape ... And finding it  confusing

By Adam Green -- Adam Green is an independent consultant working with Alpha Software to manage its Twitter account. We asked Adam to explore the mobile development market and record his impressions. This is an excerpt of his adventures.
I just finished skimming a fat book on AngularJs. I like fat programming books, and I like Angular. It obviously was intended to incorporate what people do with HTML/CSS/JS/PHP, and it brings a lot of the PHP page/form processing into the browser.
 
 

The problem is that the more I look, the more moving parts I find.

 
I've now ordered books on Bootstrap and Backbone. I especially liked this in the Amazon description of the Backbone book:"uses the rest of the book to cover Backbone.js extensions (e.g. Marionette, Thorax, Paginator) and other JavaScript libraries (e.g. RequireJS, jQuery Mobile, Jasmine, QUnit, SinonJS)."
 
 

OMG! Do I have to learn all of these too?  I just want to build apps. This isn't a stack, it's a warehouse.

 
I've built a very simple model for web application programming over the last 5 years: The Aptana editor, an SSH client, PHPMyAdmin, HTML/CSS/jQuery on the front-end, and PHP/SQL/MySQL on the back-end. It's fast to build and execute, and basically reduces the problem to web pages executing SQL through Ajax. Some of my best code is just a PHP switch statement with a large variety of SQL queries. Why do I need to learn all these other packages?
 
 

More importantly, this huge array of tools I see being described still doesn't get me to an actual database app.

 
The AngularJS book is about 400 pages, and it uses an order entry example, but it never got to actually connecting to a database. So if I add Bootstrap or Backbone to tie all this other stuff together, then will they let me finally talk to a database to store and retrieve my stuff?
 
And once I assemble all these pieces, do I need to customize them for every device, or do I need another dozen or so frameworks and libraries? The good part is that I get to order a whole bunch of books from Amazon.
 
 
This is like that great scene from "A Day at the Races" with Chico and Groucho Marx - "I'm sorry boss, you also need ..."
 
I understand that this is the problem Alpha Anywhere and its competitors are also trying to solve. I now see that both sides of the problem need to be understood and explained: the "complete" solutions, which is where Alpha Anywhere sits, and the conglomeration of a whole bunch of moving parts from separate teams churning out oddly named pieces (Thorax? Really?) at a rapid clip.

 

This is actually a mess, and Alpha can go right down the middle, and appeal to people who just want to get the job done. That is where I like to live and work. 

 
 
 
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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi www.tubifi.com.

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