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Today’s guest writer is Neha Monga, the Access PM responsible for the runtime. she was recently asked a few questions that are likely worth sharing more broadly.
Question: Is it in the design of Access 2007 runtime to be able to run in the SAME PC as one where there is already another Access License installed?
[Neha] Yes. Access 2007 runtime should be able to run with concurrent installations of other versions of full blown Access.
Question: Can the RunTime2007 application xxxx.accdr run on the same system as an yyy.mdb file whether it is Access2003 or Access2002 or Access 2000 or Access97 license already installed and there could be some older access applications running there perhaps?
[Neha] You are right. In that case your .accdr files will open with Access 2007 runtime. Do keep in mind is that if you have multiple versions of Access installed, then your other .mdb files will open with the “last run” version of Access or Access runtime. So when you try to open an .mdb file, it will open with Access 2007 runtime if that was the run last. The workaround to have your .mdb filed open in Access full-blown versions, is to launch open Access (XP, 2003, whatever you may have) and let it register as “last run” version of access. Next time, your .mdb files will open with that version of Access instead.
Question: I assume if a customer had Access2007 installed by any chance then the xxx.accdr would run under the full Access2007 without the need to download the AccessRunTime.exe file?
Question: What I am getting at is to try and deliver just one database in RunTime2007 mode so that I do not have to deliver an alternative yyy.mde file to run on older access licenses. Can I do that?
[Neha] You should always read the licensing agreement first—we don’t give legal advice through the blog.
You should be able to do deliver one database with Access runtime 2007 and it should work regardless of other Access full licenses installed on the users’ PC.
Furthermore, you can also make use of the packaging solution in ADE (Access Developer Extension) and create your custom msi with all the files and runtime bundled together. It also allows you to create a custom icon to launch your app with the runtime on the PC. You can find more information here.
This is what I'd like to share with you. I've asked Ken Getz about A2007 Developer's Handbook: Dear Mr. Getz, I'd like to ask you if there's any chance of getting Access 2007 Enterprise Developer's Handbook soon. Thank you very much for your time in advance. The answer has arrived yesterday, July 8th 2008:
Hi. Thanks but Iʼm afraid it will not happen. We have all moved on to other interests, and thereʼs really not a market for an Access Developer book like there once was. Sorry... --- Ken
And here's Paul Litwins response to my e-mail: We had been talking with the publisher about doing a 2007 version but they decided it was not a project they wished to do. Thus, I think the 2002 version will be the last of the Access Developer's Handbook. Sorry. Paul
That's too bad about the ADH 2007; but I'm not at all surprised that those folks have moved on. Access is in fact a viable development platform, though Microsoft does not treat it as such. The news that A2007 had a major dev team working on it was a real thrill a couple years ago; but with ribbons and so forth, you took it in entirely the wrong direction. Yes I read that post about Office 2007 being designed according to some statistical principles, but it still sucks. A company a huge as Microsoft couldn't spring the resources to at least not ruin the product for developers? It's pretty awful, if you're one of the many (though statistically unimportant) Access developers. Will someone respond to the prev post about Access 2007 ribbons? That thread was closed so fast. The Sage application looks very much like a customization of Outlook, not Access, but if it is Access, tell us about the outlooks style nav bar and the treeview. The ActiveX treeview was fairly broken in prev versions of the developers toolkit, and it's hard to imagine a vb6 era control like that working any better in A2007.
For the screen shots, it looks like a treeveiw. I have no idea as to why you are saying the treeview is broken? Last time I looked, both a2003, and 2007 runtime included the treeview control by default. And the treeview has been an officially supported control in ms-access for what, at least the last 5 versions. You might want to expand on how the treeview is broken? Better yet, why not try using the newsgroups to ask your question(s) about the problems you are having with the treeview. I answer posts every day in the newsgroups, and I not seen ANY significant number (if any) posts about problems with using the treeview in ms-access. As for lack of direction and no new developer features? Are you sure you talking about ms-access? We asked for years (near top request) to have pdf ability added to ms-access, and now we have it (is that not for developers?). Web pages, vb.net, and most modern development platforms allow re-sizing (anchoring) of controls. In access 2007 we got this resizing in anchoring of controls ( A huge developer feature that puts access forms on par with other modern development systems today). For years I’ve answered and seen posts in the newsgroups about people asking for a built in calendar control when you click on a date field. We now have this feature, and again I fail to see how this is not a feature for developers? Another common request feature is buttons that have graphics and text (about time!!!). Once again, this is a feature really for developers. (and, we also have a transpart buttons now tool...again, huge nice new feature) The report writer has not been changed in what 14, or more years? The new report layout and stacked controls in access 2007 is an AMAZING leap forward in terms of developer productivity for laying out reports. As a developer, once you start using the stacked controls and new layout features of the report writer, you’ll never go back to an older version of access. Once again I fail to see how this is not a feature really oriented towards developers? We also now can design a form, and specify (save) that form as the default template. This is an another amazing developer feature that saves LOTS of time, and furthermore this template feature allows you make your application have a far more consistent look from form to form with far greater less effort than before. Forms and reports can now have alternating color bands, again a common request, and something that is developers who had to come up with all kinds of kluge’s to accomplish what is very common in the rest of the industry. (again I fail to see how this is not a new feature that developers can use) We now have a new form type (split) which allows you to create a nice navigation form with virtually no code (and, this is a common style of interface use by developers). I’m going to stop here, but I could actually keep on writing for considerable amount of time talking about the LARGE number of new features in 2007 that help developers in a significant way. In fact, in the history of access, I don’t recall any version that had anything CLOSE to the number of new features and things that help access developers in such a significant way as 2007 does. Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton Alberta Canada
This is a post I made on msaccess hints and tips
(link at bottom of post)
I have an environment with Office 2003 Pro installed on users machines and need to deploy 2007 runtime. I made a package and deployed on 4 machines for testing and each has same issue. When opening an older CRM package developed in 2003 the setup wizard for Office launches and goes through configuring for first time use. Then when going back to my 2007 app the 2007 setup starts and configures. I have tried pointing to version of access needed for each in command line of shortcut thinking ambiguity was at fault. But no. I have Google'd this many ways and see others that have this issue but no responses that offer solutions just sharing of the pain. I thought I would start posts in various Access sites in hopes that this can be explained and more importantly a viable solution offered. msaccesshintsandtips.ning.com/.../show
I have to say; Neha tries to brush aside the issue of concurrently running multiple Access versions and I can point out where and why: Neha says – “The workaround to have your .mdb filed open in Access full-blown versions, is to launch open Access (XP, 2003, whatever you may have) and let it register as “last run” version of access. Next time, your .mdb files will open with that version of Access instead.” Well I say - That works EXACTLY ONE TIME. Then the next time a user runs my Access 2007 runtime app and goes to run the Access 2003 MDB file the STOOPID setup wizard runs again configuring the environment for first time use. I have spent hours trying to work around this and there is no known solution. Instead of telling us to just do this or that knowing that it is not a complete and working solution, I would prefer to have Neha or Albert just come out and say "Yup, we know the issue you are talking about, and you are correct, there is not a fix for it at this time." Then, it would be nice to have a service pack come out or an update to the runtime that could isolate registry settings as to not conflict with other Versions of Access. I'm no expert but it appears as though the first time use wizard runs because the registry settings are in a shared hive that is not easily moved to another because of all of the commonality needed to be maintained with DAO, ODBC, ADO, VBA and such. Well...OK, then make the runtime version with its own versions of "shared files" and install them in the App path instead of Program Files\Common Files. Then you can write your own registry settings and not disturb the settings from other versions of Access. Sound like a lot of work? Yeah. Would it be a welcome modification? Hell Yeah! I have been working with every single of Access since the 1.0 version back in the early 90's. Being an Access developer has allowed me to raise my children, provide food and shelter, and several years ago, buy a house in Southern California. Am I grateful for the effort put into each version of Access to date? You bet I am. I owe a lot to MS, Litwin, Getz, FMS, and others. But come on folks...this is such a glaring mistake on your part (and I'm not just pointing a finger at Neha here, I mean all the PM’s for Access) for not cleaning up a HUGE mistake like this. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to rant and/or rave at me
Albert PDF has been available for years via ReportToPDF from Stephen Lebans. Most of the tweaks are cosmetic and aimed more at corporate users. Most long term developers have worked out alternate ways to achieve the recent tweaks in their applications. No one can deny Access 2007 is not aimed at professional developers. The features you mention as advances are minor fripperies when weighed against the backward steps in the UI and in ACE.
With regards to Access Runtime distribution problems and issues, MS is dumb! same us water for gas issue, crisis first then solution I am happy with VmWare .. VIVA Thinstall! The future is virtual computing.. Access is still the KING RAD DB FRONTEND DEV'T TOOL! That's the trade off maybe? Use POSTGRE or MYSQL Backend
I don't think Neha intentionally tried to brush the issue aside. It has worked that way since at least Acc 2003. We have talked about the solution you propose but there are some concerns about possible regressions and other potential problems it might cause. We did take a fix in SP 1 that reduced the amount of time the wizard was up by several minutes. I'm not the expert in this area but I will follow up with the people that own the code in this area and see if there is a more radical solution. No promises but we will look at it again. WRT end users and developers... Albert has a good list--I would probably throw in there support for the new Excel file formats, new filter capability, rich text, attachments, SharePoint integration, and a free runtime. We did intentionally try to pick features that were good for both audiences. Access had made few end user investments for quite some time. Most developers have not discovered all the alternative solutions--just the most sophisticated pro developers. We also made some investments that are more forward thinking in the SharePoint and Ribbon areas. I'm sure if we hadn't done the ribbon just as many of you would be screaming that Access is dead because it doesn't have ribbons. We do wish we had more time in these areas--but they are critical to the long-term direction of the product.
With the Ribbon, the argument is not whether or not the ribbon had any uses. The argument is that the Ribbon should be suppressable and the use of CUA compliant menus should remain available. We have several complex systems developed in earlier versions of Access that have been successfully ported (fairly straightforwardly) from 1.1 to 2 to 97 and to 2003 however the 2007 port does not work without a lot of (unproductive - ineffective) work on the UI being required. As we and no client we have can see this as an effective use of resources we shall stick to Access 2003 until such time as a future version offers a simple port. Just allow the ribbon to be optional, turn it off by default when converting from an earlier version, or at least prompt for it to be disabled. It is funny (strange) that we were always happy to purchase the runtime distribution licence until now - when it is free (and worth every penny) (vbg)
I don't know what "CUA" means. we got fairly positive feedback from developers about the free runtime. Guess we should start charging for it again. :-) I could give you my paypal account if you really wanted to spend money for it.
CUA is Common User Access and was defined in several SAA (Systems Architecture) documents at IBM based on the earlier work at Xerox and was adopted by Apple IBM and Microsoft in the early 80's. Actually about paying for the runtime, the advantage was that some of users were not aware that some of our solutions were based on Microsoft Access, especially IBM users (vbg). The "free" runtime contains a tagline.
Albert, it's fair to say you're list is a good one. But A2007 is not a good one for developers, by anyone I've talked to (except you now!). Mostly I ref myself of course. I admit I've not spent more time than I absolutely had to with the new version because in major respects is was obviously such a failure for my needs, my clients needs. I used the treeview in several projects and found it to be pretty flakey. Weird refreshes, events misfiring and so forth. I've dialoged with MS about these issues, sent sample dbs that demo'd, and posted to the forums, no help to be found. Years ago now. I am not sure I tested with A2003, but since ActiveX tech is old and crusty for years now, by both entire MS and the Access team, I didn't expect it to be improved. If anyone knows that Access 2003 support for ActiveX controls, esp the treeview, was improved over prev versions, please mention it. I've used the sagekey scripts for years, because they do isolate the runtime install from retail installs. It sounds like Sagekey still has a place, if the new runtime continues to compete with retail installs for mdb etc files. I am curious about this aspect. From posts here it sounds like some of the nightmares live on, with setup wizards firing off etc. That's the kind of junk that makes Access tiring to try to work with; though it's still a gift of productivity.
I wonder if someone in the know could reply before this blog software closes down new comments. I've asked before but don't see replies. Why do the blog comments get disabled so quickly? Is the recent 'ribbon' Sage app really written with Access, and if so is that the regular vb6 era treeview, and what about the outlook style navigation piece?
Erwin can you say more about thinstall as a way of dealing with Access runtime conflicts? I've read of this before but wasn't able to put it together. Thinstall I was aware of for year and I was surprised to see they were bought by vmware.