Alpha Software Blog

Start Software Calls Alpha Anywhere "Developer's Best Friend"

Start Software's director and principal consultant Robin Bennett explains why "coding optional" Alpha Anywhere is actually a code-loving developer's best friend. Let's get a few confessions out of the way. I love writing code. I really do. I find the act of building something which is fast, clever and easy-on-the-eye a creative process that gives me huge pleasure. But I am also lazy - and I would say that most software developers are similar. Most coders want to get their apps in the hands of their users as quickly as possible without the drudgery of doing the "boring stuff". Writing error-trapping code, basic CRUD operations (Create/Read/Update/Delete) or having to spend days creating screen layouts is just not our cup-of-tea. In 30 years of commercial programming (I don't feel that old - just started very young!) I've coded in nearly every commercial language, from assembler to JavaScript with BASIC, C, T-SQL, and everything else in between. So how and why have I ended up with "code optional" Alpha Anywhere, and why do I think almost every software developer should give it a try?

1 Alpha Anywhere does the boring stuff and does it really well

Alpha Anywhere does the leg work for a developer. The tedious, mundane data handling code you'd write in other development environments is done for you. The built-in comprehensive security model means you don't have to think about building one from scratch. Menus for desktop and mobile are just a click away.

2 You can build prototypes incredibly quickly

Without code, you can map out an application along with menus, data entry screens, and reports in minutes or hours to get that vital "first look" in front of your client early in development. There is no need to use another tool to mock up screens - it is actually quicker to build the screens in Alpha Anywhere than it would be to draw them!

3 Nothing is hidden, everything is accessible

It is possible to modify almost everything in Alpha Anywhere. Want a new set of form templates to suit your style? No problem. Want to modify the SQL generated by the built-in genies? Of course, you can. Want to hand-code JavaScript to process JSON data powering an Alpha-generated searchable offline-capable list? That's easy in Alpha.

4 Hard stuff becomes easy

Want your mobile apps to work offline? Surely that's incredibly difficult or requires a complex JavaScript library. Not with Alpha Anywhere, it's built in. Do you want responsive designs in your apps so that screens auto-fit a variety of devices? You've guessed it - Alpha has that facility out-of-the-box. The developers behind Alpha Anywhere are all like us - they understand the way developers think and how we work. Even complex operations like transforming code from scripts are built-in and signposted.

5 Debugging is easy, clever, and flexible

Building web apps can make debugging a challenge but Alpha has it sorted. You can debug functions live in the development environment as well as use debugging tools in browsers. If you're struggling with performance, why not use built-in timers to show you how long each part of your system takes to generate?

6 Deployment is genius

The new Alpha Cloud makes scalable deployment to Amazon a straightforward process and one which unlocks the almost unlimited power of the Amazon cloud. Other deployment options are available of course including to Microsoft IIS for corporate deployments or straight to the Alpha App Server if you want to keep it simple. PhoneGap integration is also built-in for deployment to Android, iOS (Apple) or Windows apps. Is Alpha Anywhere perfect? No, of course not, but neither is my code! But it is the most productive and most satisfying multi-platform environment I've ever worked in. Love writing code? Take a leap of faith and give Alpha Anywhere a try - you really have nothing to lose.
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About Author

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell

Technical Writer and Documentation Expert at Alpha Software

The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.