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ALP is implemented as an Asynchronous Pluggable Protocol. It acts like a WEB server but without need of network. It executes WEB applications such as ASP pages and CGI applications. ALP makes Internet Explorer to be server and client. With ALP you can write stand-alone desktop applications, CD-ROM autoruns, use ASP for pure desktop software and still keep your code ready to run on WEB servers too.
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 newObjects Active Local Pages 1.1   
Price: $15 (M) $600 (D) Discount for resalers
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ALP 1.1 Full (SFX 2.0M)
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ALP 1.1 Redistributables only (SFX 0.5 MB)
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ALP Shareware notes
Buy (per-seat) $15
Buy (developer) $600
More information

Overview

What is ALP?

newObjects Active Local Pages (ALP) is an engine that extends the Internet Explorer browser with ability to execute ASP pages and CGI applications locally without need of WEB server or network configured on the machine. Also through the ALPFrame viewer ALP extends the DHTML object model with window and context menus controlled by the pages. Additionally ALPFrame viewer supports unique feature that allows it to run ALP without need of installation and ALP ActiveX components registration (see the ALPFrame page for a sample). Thus ALP covers all the Microsoft Windows versions beginning with Windows 95 and Windows NT4 (with IE4 or later) and also allows building autorun CD-ROM/DVD with ASP and CGI support.

By extending the browser with a support for server side technologies ALP makes WEB server programming techniques available for desktop applications development. Also the good compatibility between the server side ASP (found in IIS and some other servers) and CGI interface makes possible the same code without or with a little changes to be executed on the WEB server and on the desktop.

ALP opens the desktop for the WEB developers and as like the popular RAD programming tools it allows easy way to build applications. But in ALP easiness comes from the well-known for the developers WEB technologies and extended DHTML object model that allows the applications to close the look-and-feel of the "normal" client side software.

ALP is based on our CCGA (Component Content Generation Architecture) - abstraction of content generation engine similar to the WEB servers but with universal purpose. Architecture allows building extensions and ALP processors such as the ASP processor and CGI processor are built as loadable components. CCGA is not based on COM and can be ported to some UNIX based systems.

Targets of the ALP

ALP is not a server side software and the primary requirement for it is cross-version OS compatibility. Thus many features typical for the server side software are not available directly in the ALP because they are not a guaranteed part of the desktop operating systems and redistribution size and installation process will become too long and too complex if the ALP have integrated them tightly. Most of the available technologies are still accessible for the ALP applications - modular nature of the core allows extensions to be written, using ActiveX allows access to the nearly every software available on the particular platform. Avoiding tight integration with a specific server software products makes the core portable and opened architecture and allows the programmers to use external components for their needs.

The future evolution of ALP will follow the same conditions. Primary targets are and will be flexibility and support for the well-known technologies and new ones. We will always prefer to add support for technologies that can be implemented in cross-platform compatible way and especially if they are able to run without need of installation.

Who needs it?

ALP is portable across all the Windows platforms beginning with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 with Internet Explorer 4 or later (shell integration is recommended but not required). This portability makes it applicable for approximately any software project that obeys the request-response abstraction. With the threads introduced in the ActiveX pack in ALP 1.1 it is even possible to perform asynchronous long lasting tasks in the background. Most client-server applications are request-response based, also in combination with the DHTML techniques and extended object model supplied by the ALPFrame viewer, ALP can produce nice looking, intuitive user interface at extremely low costs! Applications written for ALP are easily moveable and their redistribution requires just a little amount of redistribution files. Although WEB techniques are never used for the retail widely distributed desktop software before, now ALP makes it possible. For example ALP ASP site can become something that user will be able to download and run after a short installation or without installation (using the ALPFrame). Therefore it is useful for:

  • Corporate customers can use ALP to build software for internal needs on very low costs. There are many companies that have small and large offices and they often need to write one version of their internal software for the bigger offices where servers are available and another version for the small offices where only workstations are present. Thus ALP allows without or with little changes the same code to be reused in both situations. Ability to use WEB programmers for desktop applications can save much time and costs.
  • Small companies that often need a custom software but development costs are to high. Using ASP-like and raw scripts, simple WEB design and some data base makes it possible to build custom application without deep programming knowledge for a few days. WEB programming is always easier than development of a typical GUI applications even a RAD environments are used. There are many reasons to say so, but the first one will be the difference - developing GUI application requires writing a code that commands the visual components of the application and at the other hand WEB programming is based on easy to create documents and the program itself just changes content of their parts often by just outputting a clear text or a pre-built HTML. .
  • Companies developing applied applications for their clients can use ALP to speed their work and make it easy portable across the different Win32 platforms. RAD tools often need too much redistribution files and have additional platform requirements. Support for some of the widely required features such as placing images on the forms is simple but still requires integration of the additional modules and sometimes needs additional licensing. Contrary ALP gives to the programmers ability to rely on the browser DHTML support for the design and on the server programming for the business logic and thus discards the most of the problems and time consuming tasks required to implement user interface.
  • Applications that are widely distributed. ALP allows retail software distributed widely to be written using easy to use techniques that are never before available for the desktop development. The most complicated case are applications like electronic catalogs distributed on the CD-ROM/DVD, encyclopedia applications, electronic surveys, expert systems and so on. The major problem for these applications is the portability requirement - the best situation is if the application can run without installation or with a minimal installation. ALP solves that problem at least for the execution engine. In addition developers are able to build WEB server compatible applications and use the code without or with little changes on the company WEB site.
  • ALP makes scripting and CGI applicable for retail programming - i.e. applications written in Active Scripting languages such as JScript, VBScript and so on (or CGI applications) can be enriched with user interface and may work independently of the installation location and thus they become friendly and useful for the final users.

See also the ALP tour online (opens a new window)





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