An Alpha Anywhere User Guide to the Desktop.


Alpha Anywhere includes flexible record processing options. You can post values from one table to another, export data to a different format such as a spreadsheet (.xls) format, append records from one table to another, create a new table from data in other tables, and much more.

Overview of Batch Operations

While working with Alpha Anywhere, you can change data at any time by simply navigating to a record and typing in new values. This method is fine if you are just working with a few records, but editing can become enormously time-consuming if you are working with hundreds or thousands of records. To handle larger data manipulation tasks, you can use an Alpha Anywhere Operation. "Operation" is a general term for a process which changes data in existing tables, or even creates new tables as Part of the operation.

Adding an Auto-Increment ID Field to a Table

If you have existing table that needs a field with a unique ID number, you can create add it with an Update Operation:

Append Operations

An append operation takes the records from the transaction table and adds them to the data in the master table. The append operation:


In Alpha Anywhere, the term application refers to a collection of layouts and operations that have been linked together using buttons, letting you bypass the Control Panel. Applications are often designed by developers for users with little or no Alpha Anywhere experience.

Ascii Export Custom Filters

The purpose of Custom Character Filters is to allow the user complete control over how specified characters are treated when they are exported. Custom filters only apply to character fields where quotes, field separators and record separators may exist in the data itself. The default behaviour, if no filters are defined, is to strip off field and record separators only. Quotes are left alone, as it is assumed the program that consumes the data you are exporting to ignores quotes (unless the 'Quote Character Fields' option is used). For our first example, we will edit the customer table in AlphaSports to include various quote characters, and a comma inside the data (see the 'Company' field).

Copy Operations

A guide to performing copy operations and using the copy genie.

Create Operation

The Create Operation action allows the user to create a new Alpha Anywhere operation. The operation's basic characteristics are set ahead of time, and the user defines operation specifics at run-time.

Crosstab Operations

A Crosstab operation takes data from a single table or set and uses it to create a new table, in which certain field values from the transaction table are used as field names in the result table. For example, you have City and Sales data from several companies, as shown below:

Data Processing Operations

Alpha Anywhere database Operations help you handle large data manipulation tasks. Some typical Operations that you can perform with an Alpha Anywhere database are: add records from one table to another table, import or export spreadsheets or text files, post values from one table to another, and update the field values in all, or a subset of records; just to name a few. In this lesson, you learn how to create and use Alpha Anywhere data processing Operations.

Delete Marked Customers

Operations perform maintenance and management functions on your database. You can define and run an operation immediately, or you can define and save an operation to be run as Needed. When run, the Delete Marked Customers operation removes all marked customer records from the AlphaSports database. Follow these steps to create a comparable operation.

Export Operations

A guide to performing export operations and use the export genie.

Import Operations

A guide to using import operations and how to use the import genie in desktop applications.

Intersect, Join and Subtract Operations

A guide to performing intersect, join, and subtract operations and how to use intersect, join, and subtract Genies.

Mark, Unmark, and Delete Operations

The Mark/Delete Operation uses the criteria you specify to selectively mark, unmark, or delete records. You can use this operation to mark, unmark, or delete all of the records in the current range, or just the duplicate records in the current range. For example, you have a table which stores club-membership information, and you want to compile a list of members who are no longer active in the organization.

Order Builder

The Order Builder lets you create powerful sort operations by navigating through an easy-to-understand dialog box.

Post Operations

A guide to performing post operations and to using the post genie.

Prompting for Confirmation

When you run an Operation, Alpha Anywhere displays a dialog box telling you how many records will be processed by the Operation. At this point, you can abort the Operation. For example, when performing an Update Operation, Alpha Anywhere will display this dialog box:

Rolling Back Enter and Change Operations

The success or failure of Enter and Change operations is controlled through a special flag passed to the <TBL>.ENTER_END() and <TBL>.CHANGE_END() methods. These flags, called commit flags, are used to prevent either the creation of a new record or changes to an existing record at the time the Enter or Change operation is completed. If the commit flag is set to FALSE, the operation is canceled.

Run Saved Operation

The Run Saved Operation action allows you to run a previously created operation.

Running Saved Operations

The Running Saved Operations topic describes a technique available to Alpha Anywhere database users.

Selecting Records for Operations

When you create a new operation the following toolbar appears. The Select Records button makes it very easy to select the records that the operation will operate on.

Summarize Operations

A guide to performing summarize operations, grouping records, and using the summarize genie.

Supplying a Filter and Order at Run Time

When you run an Operation from the Control Panel, or from the Tools menu in a form or a Browse, or by right-clicking on a table or set name in the Control Panel, you can supply a filter and, if appropriate, an order expression. These filter and order criteria are applied in addition to any filter that may have been defined as Part of the Operation.

Symmetrical Outer Join

Alpha Anywhere allows you to create a symmetrical outer join with several steps.

Update Operations

A guide to performing update operations and how to use the update genie.

Using Operation Builders

If you prefer not to use one of Alpha Anywhere's Genies for performing an operation, you can define the operation yourself using the appropriate Operation Builder (e.g. the Copy Builder or the Export Builder ). The following section describes how to perform operations using the different Operation Cards. You define the operation by filling in the Card.

Using Quick Operations

Often, when you are viewing records in form or browse view, you would like to do a quick Operation on the data (such as Update the value in a selected field in the records that are currently selected), or copy the selected records to a new table, or move the selected records to a new table. You have no need to save the Operation definition for future use. In these cases, the ad-hoc, quick Operations are ideal because they generally involve far fewer steps than defining a new saved Operation. When viewing records in a form or Browse, you can use the Records menu for quick access to the following ad-hoc Operations.

Using the Operation Genies

Alpha Anywhere has detailed Genies to help you perform common operations. The Genies guide you step-by-step through creating an Operation in an easy to understand way. Once you have answered all the Genie's questions, the Genie automatically creates the appropriate Operation.

Viewing the Xbasic of Operations

Alpha Anywhere allows you to create and save operations that you users may need to perform on a repetitive basis. The operations that you may create are:


Desktop Applications Only