Do developers of other alpaca software hold at least one degree in computer science at a recognised university?
AlpaFarm is written primarily by Philip Prohm, a university-trained and qualified programmer. (See next question.)
What qualifications do developers of other alpaca software have?
AlpaFarm is written primarily by
  • Philip Prohm BSc MCompSc
With major input from
  • Kristi Prohm BSc(Hons) PhD(Agric)
Do developers of other alpaca software call themselves “developers” or programmers?
Anyone with basic skills can “develop” software with “development tools”—only a university-trained and qualified computer programmer has the in-depth knowledge to go further and deeper into a program and make it sing with powerful features beyond the capabilities of development tools.
Do developers of other alpaca software claim “x years in the IT industry” but don’t cite official computer science qualifications?
Why? “IT” is a buzzword used to cover any computer-related job or industry, no matter how loosely connected. If people call themselves “IT Professionals”, be wary! Qualified programmers will not hide behind the “IT” word—they will say explicitly that they are programmers. We can state categorically that Philip Prohm is a Master of Computer Science who has been programming in a diverse range of fields and languages since 1985. From programming bar code readers to communications systems, from FORTRAN to C and all the web languages, he knows them all intensely and can accommodate any request.
Would the platform chosen for writing the software be accepted in a corporate environment, where data integrity is crucial and the platform must be rock-solid reliable?
Some platforms are chosen because they’re cheap and anyone can pick up a “Dummies Book” and teach themselves how to write for them. We think they are quick and dirty solutions that might save time in the short-term, but cause major headaches in the long-term. They are best avoided. No competent programmer would choose to use them when there is so much better available.
  • MS Access, for instance, was never intended to be anything other than a personal tool and suffers as a result. It is “bloatware”: programs written in Access are enormous in size, cumbersome, very slow, and memory- and resource-intensive. Access can never match the sheer power and flexibility of corporate database engines, which were designed from the ground up to meet “real” database needs of efficiency, reliability, and speed
  • FileMaker, for instance, can’t handle transactions—this is a recipe for data corruption. There is no real language behind FileMaker, which makes doing complex work very difficult. It also has physical limitations as to how much data are stored. A program written with it grows enormously with each new release. It too is “bloatware”, and it can’t even automatically convert your data!
  • Delphi, Visual Basic and PowerBuilder, for instance, have no built-in database access commands and do not support programmable reports. Worse, they use floating point arithmetic, notorious for creating imprecise data. They are all typically 8 to 10 times larger than Clarion applications (see next point)
  • AlpaFarm is written in Clarion, a language and system prized by corporations for its reliability, data integrity and sheer power and flexibility. Clarion is, amazingly, the only Windows language with built-in support for database access, the only Windows language with built-in support for printing reports, and the only Windows language with built-in accurate business mathematics. Further, Clarion is such a reliable and robust database language that to our knowledge AlpaFarm is bug-free. (Please report any bugs if you find them.)
    Clarion is incredibly lean. Our favourite story concerns the team asked to convert five years of MS Access data for a County Highway Department to Clarion. A CD with over 16MB of data was sent to them. The team sent back all the data on one floppy disk, including a 250KB setup.exe!
Does the software handle transactions?
Database transactions, that is. A “real” database must be rock-solid by nature and data integrity is crucial. Data in a transactional database are entered in an “all or nothing” way. This means that should power fail unexpectedly, the data in transition are not corrupted. AlpaFarm is a transactional database.
Does the software automatically convert data?
It is completely unacceptable and unnecessary that you send your data to a developer for conversion, or be expected to convert them yourself. AlpaFarm automatically converts data from any version to any newer version, and so smoothly and effortlessly you probably wouldn’t even notice it.
Does the software save a record the instant it is entered?
AlpaFarm does. It is built in a corporate-environment language where power failures cannot be allowed to get in the way. You don’t need to do a File:Save every few minutes. In fact, you can’t—as there is no use for this it doesn’t exist!
Does the software have physical limitations as to how much data can be stored?
Why? This is completely unnecessary and evidence of a poor choice of database platform. AlpaFarm and the amount of data it can handle is restricted only by the disk space available to it.