It's no secret that the United States suffers a shortage of programming talent, and that both government and private industry are doing their best to find development software that can help them close the gap between the talent they needs and the talent they have.
Programming is hard, we've all been told, and it takes a long time to teach would-be developers usable skills.
Well, as the song goes, it ain't necessarily so. Tim Bochard, Director of Information Technology for Glacier Water Services in San Diego, recently taught a class on Web and mobile development and database programming at San Diego State University using Alpha Anywhere as the development software. And he found that Alpha's low-code HTML5-based environment and intuitive interface can make solid developers out of would-be developers in record time.
Bochard was teaching a class in Structured Query Language (SQL) programming and the MySQL database development environment. For the final project, he asked students to deploy an Alpha database to the Web using Amazon Web Services, then create Web pages and mobile-optimized pages out of the database on any topic of their choosing.
He didn't give his students much time to do it: It had to be finished in 30 days or less.
The Power of Alpha Anywhere and the Power of Learning"I wanted students to have a real-world experience of what it's like to be a programmer, so I took an enterprise approach," Bochard says. "They had to write an Alpha Anywhere app on a laptop, deploy an Alpha server and their solution to the cloud, and then leverage data for it from yet a different cloud-based database server. And they had to build both cloud servers themselves from scratch. Their solutions had to demonstrate multi-tiered, database-driven design using live Web pages and a mobile-optimized, smartphone-based page leveraging their solution from the Alpha Anywhere server."
He didn't hold their hands during the process, in fact, quite the opposite. He taught the class the basics of Alpha Anywhere — "how to create a component, just a simple grid," he says. The students took it from there.
"I had students of varying backgrounds with a variety of objectives. Some were entrepreneurs, some consultants, and some just wanted to learn programming job skills," he says. "The results were spectacular. In less than thirty days, students who had just learned database programming were able to build full-blown Web and mobile database-driven apps.
"Many students latched onto the TabbedUI component. Some even over-delivered and used the built-in security on their own. The ease of using Alpha Anywhere was a boon for all of them. It makes it extremely easy for anyone to build Web pages and mobile apps."
If he had chosen different development software, he says, students would have needed another month or two to finish their project, and he would have had to front-load the class with much more instruction.
"I use Alpha Anywhere in my own work, and know it's power," he says. "And it's clear that given some background, anyone can quickly build Web pages and mobile apps using it."