Easy-does-it database: Alpha Software Alpha Five 6

The latest Alpha Five software adds enhanced scripting functions and a set of tools to simplify the writing of Web-based front-ends for your databases. Coding knowledge isn't required - you simply pick your preferences and Alpha Five does the rest. About 60 cascading stylesheet templates help you on your way and version 6.0 now has an integrated HTTP server. Alpha Five is easy to use, due to its "genies", better known as wizards. Action Scripting means it's a doddle to set up dialogue boxes, menus or buttons, while Field Rules make it simple to validate input data and provide lookups. Seasoned database builders can also add more complex, automated apps using XBasic, Active Scripting and ActiveX, however XMLS support remains on the wish list.

Alpha Five now supports object-level security, allowing you to change the access rights for individuals and groups. The new Email Action Editor integrates Alpha Five with your inbox. You can mail-merge data to e-mail and analyse incoming messages, even automatically responding to them. You can also use it as a super spam filter. With the application server added, the new release is definitely on a par with FileMaker Pro 7.0. Access and FileMaker Pro may be more powerful but Alpha Five 6.0 is much easier to use.

PRICE: $449 (single user license); DISTRIBUTOR: Infobase Systems; PHONE: (02) 9875 9600; URL: www.alphasoftware.net.au

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Roger Gann

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