Alpha Anywhere Version 4.3 is available now

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Alpha Anywhere Version 4.3 is available now

 


Key Features


The release of Version 4.3 includes new features in the UX (including a new Control Bar Builder), Better Security, More Data Sources, Faster Development (with Low Code) and other features as well.






Security


Along with the security system and tools already built into the software. Alpha Anywhere now includes TSL/SSL Drivers for SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and MariaDB to encrypt/decrypt between the server-based, application layer and the backend SQL database. This is ideal if you are hosting the application server and database server in different data centers or clouds.

In addition, Version 4.3 now supports HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to protect against protocol downgrade attacks and cookie hijacking.

Version 4.3 has earned an A+ rating from Qualys SSL Labs.





Database Options


When you install the Alpha Anywhere Developer, two new, lightweight database engines are locally installed automatically:

The first is REDIS - a very popular database for storing name/value pairs, working with queues, and many other use cases. Xbasic now has a Redis client object that allows you to interact with Redis databases. For more information on this feature, see the documentation.

The other is SQL Server LocalDB. This means that you are able to start building applications that use a SQL database, even if you don't have access to a SQL database of your own.





UX Improvements


The new ControlBar control for UX components includes a powerful builder for control bars, menus, and disclosures. It was used in conjunction with the new Alpha Style CSS to create the new Northwind Sample Application - available now on GitHub.

ControlBar Control and ControlBar Builder


The primary use case for a ControlBar is to define the content that appear in a UX component's panel headers and footers, but they can do a lot more than that. They can be used to open search boxes, menus and disclosures to create efficient, elegant, and effective user experiences.



ControlBar Controls are Built with the powerful ControlBar Builder shown below.



For more information see the Control Bar documentation.

SVG Icons


SVG icons have several important advantages over traditional bitmap icons. Namely, they are much lighter weight than bitmaps, they scale to any size and look crisp at any resolution. While the same advantages are also true of font icons, which Alpha Anywhere has supported for some time now, SVG icons are easier to work with than font icons.

An additional benefit of SVG icons over font icons is the ability to support colored icons. With a font icon, you can specify a color for the entire icon - but not for different aspects of the icon. In other words, a font icon is always green, red, yellow, or whatever color you specify. Whereas an SVG icon can be mostly green, red, yellow, or whatever color you specify for the 'fill' and 'stroke' color, but certain parts of the icon can be hard-coded as a particular color.



 

The Alpha Style CSS Template


Alpha Anywhere includes a variety of stylesheets for adjusting the look and feel of your applications, including a new one simply called "Alpha." The Alpha stylesheet is designed for a clean modern look across all devices and platforms, and it's used to create the all new Northwind Sample application.

 The style sheet is designed to work with the classes in the UX builder and to be used with the new SASS Variable editor.

SASS Variable Editor


The SASS Variable editor quickly adjust the color palette of an entire applications. Instead of hunting down a particular class in a stylesheet and manually adjusting it, the SASS Variable editor allows you to change groups of controls at once.



Plus, your settings are remembered, so you can update Alpha Anywhere stylesheets as they are released without losing your color palette settings.

 



 


Deployment Features


Alpha Anywhere has two new ways to deploy applications. The first is the new PhoneGap Shell V2 for testing apps, and the new App Cache, which is a simple way to deploy applications via the device's browser - but still works when the device is offline.

PhoneGap Shell Version 2 For Test Deployments


The PhoneGap shell is a PhoneGap application that allows you to load in UX components for testing without the need to rewrap the component in PhoneGap. By using this method, you save a great deal of time that would otherwise be spent rewrapping your application, downloading it to your mobile device and installing.



This new version is packed with improvements, including:

The Application Cache - Offline Mobile Apps Without PhoneGap


The Application Cache (an HTML5 feature widely supported by various browsers) allows you to build applications that are loaded into the browser and can continue to function even if an Internet connection is lost.

After the application loads for the first time, all of the files (such as the CSS, Javascript, and images) referenced by the application are cached in the browser and an internet connection is not needed to reload the application subsequently.

If the application is updated, the updates can be downloaded and again cached in the browser. This happens when the application is reloaded and an internet connection is detected.





Rapid Development / Low Code Features


Version 4.3 introduces a slew of new features to speed the creation of business applications. Some of these include low-code/no-code Action Javascript for Google Address Autocompletions and for sending text messages via SMS. There is also a new PhoneGap Plugin Manager for adding and keeping track of PhoneGap/Cordova plugins. Plus it's now much easier to save and reuse List Controls.

Google Address Auto Complete


Google offers an API called Autocomplete for Addresses that you can now add to your applications to give them a type-ahead-search behavior.



The address that is returned can automatically be parsed and mapped into other fields in your app. And you can do all this without coding, thanks to a new genie.


PhoneGap Plugin Manager


The new Plugin Manager makes it quicker and easier to work with plugins that are not already listed in the Alpha Anywhere PhoneGap Builder. With it, you can include any publicly available PhoneGap plugin within a PhoneGap Project as well as add, edit and delete the PhoneGap plugin resource definitions.


Action Javascript for sending SMS messages (via Twilio)


In cases where your applications needs to be able to send text messages, a new Action Javascript action lets you use Twilio API without writing any code.





 
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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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