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
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.
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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)