Alpha Software Blog

Infoworld:Alpha Anywhere minimizes the amount of JavaScript Needed

iwwwwwww Infoworld recently did a roundup of Javascript Programming tools - shown here,9&source=IFWNLE_nlt_daily_am_2014-02-06 . We were happy to see Alpha Anywhere included in the roundup because InfoWorld found Alpha's approach to be innovative and described it in these terms "Alpha Anywhere minimizes the amount of JavaScript you need to write by generating most of a Web or mobile application from a user interface design." Alpha Anywhere is not primarily designed as a Javascript programming tool, but rather its mission is to serve as COMPLETE  system for getting secure, scaleable and responsive Mobile and Web Business HTML5 and Hybrid applications built and deployed extremely quickly and cost effectively. It is designed have everything needed built in - A Javascript editor plus other front end tools including a full Javascript mobile library along with full back end capabilities, connectivity to SQL and data from web services, reporting, charting, GIS, scheduling, multimedia, electronic forms, PhoneGap build integration and more.  Also it can be fully extended by 3rd party tools and services and will soon be able to let you build offline mobile business applications. Its unique “Coding Optional” design provides the absolute flexibility of a code based approaches but with development times that are 5-10 times faster than code based approaches Here is what Infoworld wrote about Alpha Anywhere. FEBRUARY 06, 2014

Review: 10 JavaScript editors and IDEs put to the test

JavaScript editors and IDEs: Odds and ends Most likely, you'll find your JavaScript tool of choice among the six options discussed above. But the four tools below -- Alpha Anywhere, Komodo Edit, Notepad++, and TextMate -- all have something to recommend them. Depending on the task at hand, you might find any one of them handy to have around. And except in the case of Alpha Anywhere, the cost is either free or insignificant. Alpha Anywhere. Most development tools for JavaScript help you write as much JavaScript code as possible. Alpha Anywhere ($99 per month; Windows Vista or above) helps you write as little JavaScript as possible. Instead of making you concentrate on the code, it asks you to concentrate on the functional user interface design, then generates code based on your graphical choices. You only need to write JavaScript code yourself for actions that haven't already been written, either by Alpha Software or by you. Another difference is that most development tools for JavaScript concentrate on the front-end code, with little or no regard for the rest of a Web or mobile Web application: the database, the application server, the Web services, and the Web server. Alpha Anywhere is an end-to-end tool. That offers some interesting efficiencies. For example, look at the code in the screen image below and notice the odd construction {dialog.object}. That's clearly not normal JavaScript. In fact, it's an abstraction or placeholder for the UX component, which is conveniently resolved by the application server layer at runtime, and replaced with the actual handle of the component. All of the properties and methods of the component are then referenced through the generated handle. We can see that easily by looking at the generated source code for the callMenuItem function. Where the original source code said: {dialog.object}.closeWindow('SLIDEINMENU'); The runtime source code says: DLG1_DlgObj.closeWindow('SLIDEINMENU'); So {dialog.object} has become DLG1_DlgObj. When there is more than one component of the same type in an application, Alpha Anywhere automatically numbers them: DLG1_DlgObjDLG2_DlgObj, and so on. Along the same lines, the database for an Alpha Anywhere application is abstracted to a named connection string. What might be a Microsoft Access MDB file for development can be a SQL Server database with the same schema running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Your code doesn't need to know or care. If you look at the screen image, you'll see multiple preview buttons. There are some for using desktop Web browsers (with device emulators for mobile Web applications) and some for doing a remote test on a phone or tablet. Similarly, you'll find buttons for publishing a Web project and for opening the PhoneGap Builder. There's a lot here, and it can be very valuable and productive when you use Alpha Anywhere as intended, for end-to-end Web and mobile Web application development. On the other hand, Alpha Anywhere JavaScript editing per se is nothing special. If that's all you want, then WebStorm or Sublime Text might better serve your needs. [Disclosure: I was an Alpha Software employee from 2010 to 2012, and I have a small equity stake in the company.] Alpha Anywhere minimizes the amount of JavaScript you need to write by generating most of a Web or mobile application from a user interface design. Here we see three short custom JavaScript functions required for a fairly complex mobile Web application that browses a sales database from iPads and iPhones. (Click the image for the complete view.)  
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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

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.