Alpha Anywhere Community Edition

In recent weeks a Community Edition (CE) of the Alpha Anywhere app builder has been released by Alpha Software. This is based on the Alpha Anywhere App builder but apps created can only be deployed to the Alpha Cloud (subscription required). Additionally, the community edition does not support building desktop apps, data tables based on DBF, or the legacy control panel or reports. The product version used for review was v12.4.6.2.5, Build 7086

Demo Mobile App

The CE comes with beginners getting started guide and a step by step video introduction with source components. The video walks thru creating an Html 5 based mobile app with features that include

  • Responsive list control with navigation to the detail section and multiple panes accessible
  • Google maps with a location marker
  • signature control
  • image capture with access to the mobile device camera
  • control bar common to multiple panel controls
  • offline data editing and synchronization. The sample app must be loaded prior to going offline
  • login page although login not implemented
  • accesses data via a remote MySql server
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Demo Mobile App Sample Screens

Preview of some features in CE

  • Previously it was possible to create mobile apps that use native mobile features using the PhoneGap build third-party service. This service is being phased out and Alpha has added the option to use Ionic app flow (subscription required). PhoneGap CLI (command line interface) is also available.
  • GIT integration with several samples available from the Alpha software repositories
  • Create and consume REST services. GraphQL services can also be created
  • improved documentation
  • numerous UX component templates to get started quickly
  • a large number(936) of feature-specific videos searchable from the Alpha development environment via the video finder option

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Mobile Amazon List template sample

Issues encountered using Alpha Anywhere CE

  • when testing some existing UX components images and CSS styles were missing when viewed in the Live preview tab or on a remote device. Recreating the parent a5w page resolved this issue.
  • Some templates are based on deprecated features. For example, after creating a workspace based on the Samples and Tutorial workspaces a link indicates features are deprecated
  • For existing projects that include legacy AEX xbasic function libraries, the CE did not appear to allow editing of the xbasic. It is likely the existing code can be exported using the non-community Alpha edition then reimported using the CE edition to create a new XBasic function library
  • for complex apps with multiple A5w pages it is likely advised to test the app by deploying to Alpha Cloud as the CE publish process limits files to those referenced by the component being previewed
  • Alpha Software provides a video library search on their website. The video search function is not available when viewed by all devices. (iPad).
  • Installing both the CE version and an older version of alpha even if separate folders can cause conflicts. To restore the older version the original registration code must be re-entered.
  • editing UX properties occasionally causes another control to be overwritten thus causing duplicate controls with the same name

Conclusions

The free CE of Alpha Anywhere has the majority of the features of the Full Alpha Anywhere development edition. Develop unlimited application components then subscribe to an Alpha cloud plan when ready to deploy.

Prices for Alpha Cloud start at $99 per month and offer automated deployment, server security patching, multiple alpha anywhere versions, options to host servers in various locations in the world, scaling, and recovery.

For more details on Alpha Anywhere CE see the related Alpha Software blog post.