Understanding the Programming Process


Hopefully, you (the developer of a database application) realize that Web Publishing allows you to create applications without actually programming. The various genies, utilities, and Action Scripting allow you to generate programs by dealing with design issues at a higher level, and letting the Application Server generate and run the necessary programs in the background.

What is Programming?

However, at a certain point most developers want to do more than the genies allow them to do and it the next step is to learn to program with Xbasic, the language of Alpha Anywhere. Today we are surrounded by computers. Most people understand that computers are hardware and are animated by something called software. But what is software? Fortunately for those who are beginning to program now, there was once a "prehistoric" age when programming was a totally baffling and obscure art. A program consisted of pages of unintelligible code. Now, programs, particularly those written with variants of BASIC like Xbasic, can write programs with a largely readable set of English language commands. However, Xbasic is a language and requires some dedication (and a good reference book ) to master. A program is a set of instructions to a computer. For example, if you want to read a file into a character variable, you will use a command like this.

page_contents = file.to_string("c:\myfile.txt")

It is clear what is happening, even if you do not understand the details yet. Since "string" is another way of referring to a character variable, it is obvious that this command opens a file and reads its contents into variable named page_contents. Your task is to understand when to program (when you would otherwise use an Action Script!) and how to program. Fortunately, we have many examples for you, to take you from the simplest basics of Xbasic to as far as you would like to go.

Introduction to Xbasic

Xbasic is a derivative of the original BASIC programming language. The core of Xbasic contains the original set of command statements that allowed you to create variables, do calculations, write to the screen, print, and much more. Xbasic has expanded far beyond the original BASIC core language to include thousands of functions and methods that make the process of working with tables, records, forms, and reports much easier and the development of database applications much faster. The beginning programmer may want to take a side trip to go through the Getting Started with Alpha Anywhere and Learning Xbasic tutorials. This will help you understand many of the fundamental concepts of the Alpha Anywhere environment. The more advanced programmer will find that the Alpha Anywhere Help has a tremendous amount of reference material and working examples that can be copied and modified. The Alpha Anywhere Webhelp is updated several times per week with the latest information. Learn to use its table of contents, index, and search utilities to find the information you need. You will also find a very supportive and helpful developer community eager to answer your questions at the Alpha Anywhere Message Board.