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I can safely be regarded as a dedicated independent Access developer and have all of the usual beefs about where MS is taking Access. But I would like to comment to my fellow Access devs that our perspective is in fact not the only valid perspective re Access. For example someone up there noted that most Access users are probably using apps built for them; ie they don't develop anything with Access, they use a composed application, and therefore MS's priority should be to support us Access devs. But I think it's clear that MS's drift with Access is an attempt to break that barrier - to configure Access such that a standard issue office worker might be able to use it productively and safely. Sharepoint is not even a relational db but it's finding a home in corporations because it can be fairly simple and safe to use. Providing a reason for corporations to buy Office Pro with Access, which comes at quite a premium, has got to be a, or the, primary goal for the Access team and MS planners. I think Access devs are a microscopic source of revenue for them, which is why all of our bellowing gets us approximately nothing. I don't know how we can convince MS to give us a tool that we are delighted with. The Access team does not seem tasked with 'making us happy'. No one at Microsoft seems to give a hoot, in fact. But if we're going to argue our case in here, we might as well present positions that are not so narrowly focused, or one sided, that the MS folk are tempted to just shrug and move on. As someone said above, it might be that Access 2003 is the last developer version of Access, in the sense most of us understand the term. Visual Foxpro was a great product; and although it took a decade, every fox dev worried that MS was letting it die out; they have been proved right.
It's funny how people see things differently when looking at the same thing, isn't it. My job is based very much on developing Access-based apps for smallish companies and I develop using Access 2007 even when the customer is using Access 2002 or 2003. When I first used Access 2007, I was not very impressed, but have come to really like it with a couple of reservations. These are having to jump through a fair no. of hoops to get some decent security with an all-Access solution (just ditching the user-level security from previous versions was a cop-out IMHO) and a beef about the 2007 runtime not supporting off-line Sharepoint lists. Apart from that I find Access 2007 very useful as a development tool. By making things easier for end-users and power-users, they have made some stuff easier for me as a professional developer. Examples are the ribbon (what's that cry of "heretic!" I hear?), sorting and grouping in reports, the report view (inc. being able to use controls on them interactively), layout view, PDF generation (but when are you going to sort out the underlining problem?), much better looking forms and so on.
Having said that, there is still a nagging doubt in my mind about where Microsoft are heading with Access. Since quite a bit of emphasis has been put on its interaction with Sharepoint, it seems to me that Sharepoint ought to be made properly relational. If that was done, then it would be "Wow!". Alan
You complete ignore the individual home user, which by definition is an individual developer except that he/she develops for him/herself. I wonder what percentage of Access users fall in this category. I have to admit that MS does everything to estrange those users: Access is not included in any base Office offering. You have to acquire it at a premium price.
I'm now in the process of evaluating whether to migrate my apllication to SQL server express or mySQL.
Alan Cossey: "Apart from that I find Access 2007 very useful as a development tool."
I've found A2007 buggy & unstable & incompatible with previous versions. MS people are now trying to fix some bugs. There's "A2007 bugs & issues & wishes" database I have created for Access developers and for Microsoft tech help. Not sure If I can publish the link here. Please, e-mail me you want the database: chewingun1 at yahoo dot ca.
I’m a self employed professional developer and network engineer. I have scores of Access apps in production, from Fortune 500 firms to very small businesses. I’ve been in this segment since dBase III , circa 1986. I‘ve been in hundreds of offices, and have never seen a home grown Access app; perhaps MS has data to the contrary, but I believe no one but us pros give Access any meaning at all. I was amazed at how 2007 was toyed with; changes made for no rational productive reason – but seemingly only for the sake of change. MS looks to have abandoned sound engineering principles for marketing nonsense. As with the ruin of VB6 it seems no one there cares. Access, in spite of this, is still the best thing going. If VBA is kept as it is , I’ll stay with it – but I am now looking to alternatives , as it’s clear the rug may be pulled out from under me at any time. It’s analogous to Vista, obviously – and this has led me quickly to Linux , PHP and MYSQL. Microsoft, don’t you realize it was several hundred thousand people like us who between 1986 and 1994 said “MS is better than Novell in networking and Windows is better than OS2, I’m pushing it on my customers ” ? Don’t you see how this is no longer true ? Ubuntu , for God’s sake, is a pleasure compared to Vista, and Access is the only thing at all that keeps me selling any of your products. Please - a developer’s version of Access. An SQL-Server backend. Dump the ribbon or let us turn it off; there always should have been a switch to go back to menus we all knew (How did this happen ? What was the psychology ????) Compile to an EXE would be nice. Learn a bit from VB6 ; stay with VBA as it is.
I regularly participate in Access ADP-related area on Experts-Exchange.com where developers (usually not very experienced) are asking questions and other "experts" answer them. Kind of dev support for everyone (of course Access is only one of the dozens of areas). This makes easy to see the general landscape of the problems, what the questions are about. As of now, that general landscape, simplified, boils down to the following:
Many developers are now trying to implement or upgrade their solutions for their clients to Access 2007 (probably because the clients got used to the thought that every upgrade is a progress and therefore is kinda mandatory), and they are consistently finding that Access 2007 is crap. 80% of all the questions are either "why this worked in access 2003 but does not in 2007", or "why it has become 10 times slower in access 2007". Remarkably, there was not a single question "how to implement this new cool feature of Access 2007" - if there's any. If Microsoft is interested in the research a-la "what the users think", welcome to experts-exchange.com. You will see the problems and concerns of some very real developers, contrary to your fake "focus groups".
Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Next time, give me more space. I could have written much more than I did about enhancements that I would like to see in the next release. After a bumpy start, I have come to really like many of the new features in Access 2007, especially the graphics and RTF support, and even multi-value fields. I would like to know how to better use Access with Groove. The SMBs that I work with can afford Office Enterprise but MOSS/WSS is beyond their capabilities and pocketbooks. I'd also like to see more integration with MapPoint. For example, a button to output data stored in Access directly into MapPoint with map symbols and other features stored in the .accdb. Like anything, it takes time to understand how to use new features correctly. I hope that many of my problems will go away when a few Access 2007 developers publish proven code to the user community. I have been pretty disappointed to this point. I would personally like to see MSFT eliminate some of the object libraries. Now there is old ADO, old DAO, DAO 2007 and I think ADO 2007. Every new developer book that is published should include the library's name in the title so that we know what we are buying online. DRIVE ON. Kick the new technology into high gear with 14.
On the subject of bugs, it would be good if there were an online list that we could refer to so that we knew that Microsoft at least knew about them. Is there an official way of informing Microsoft of bugs that we find?
Though it doesn't help much at present, folks, remember that the first versions using Jet 3 and then Jet 4 got bad press, but then improved in the next versions. Maybe that is what is happening here. My hopes for SP2? That Microsoft will sort out the bugs known from early on, e.g. where you lose all changes you make to SQL in, say, the recordsource of a form, unless you remember to click in another property on the properties window. This bug was highlighted in Allen Browne's list of Access 2007 bugs last year and it is irritating beyone measure.
Allan: AFAIK there's no official MS bug reporting site. In this blog I've asked several times if there's such a place - Clint's response was to e-mail the bugs. When I created my "A2007 bugs & issues & wishes database" I was asked to consult the problems with local MS authorities. No wonder - at the moment there are almost 170 issues in my database... and still growing. Anything we try in A2007 is wrong - only a while ago a colleague of mine has tried to export a linked table to Excel... and he's got an error, of course. So we're going to explore what's happening and I'll probably add a new record to my "bug database". I hope I'll soon have some response from MS CZ tech help. IMHO, Clint may be right - local tech help can clear up some problems, or, at least, consult them with local area offices (Eastern Europe). Unfortunatelly, MS CZ has no Access developer it their team!!! :-(
There is one way to secure the future of Access -interaction over the web. If Access 2007 could do that (efficiently) now it would be a world beater. and would start to make people who look down there noses at it to produce business systems think a little differently.
MVF's (Multi Value Fields) are the dumbest thing in ACE and are there to support the non-relational thinking that is part of Sharepoint and no doubt people who do not have a sound grasp of Relational Database Design. Using Access without that grasp is like using Word if you are illiterate. BTW does the next version of ACE expose the MVF construct in the Relationships Window as was promised by one of the Program Managers a few years back. To quote from my post in August 2006 on the newsgroups They say this will (as opposed to may) be available in a "future" version of Access (Access 14?). Suraj Poozhiyil (Program Manager, Microsoft) has said that the main reasons for the MVF and the lack of representation of the MVF in the Relationships
Window are: 1. for compatibility with SharePoint. (not the most popular product in the world, to say the least)
2. this release is focussed on power users rather than developers.
3. and they could not give a F--- about developers that insist on using Jet/ACE (I made that one up, didn't I?)
is there a simple solution to this ? perhaps we need a "lite" version of access for the pwer users and a full blown version for the heavyweights - could be a two tier pricing approach as well - will satisfy the sales department
A2007 for the pwer users
A97 for the heavyweights :-)
Vladimir Cvajniga: >
A2007 for the pwer users A97 for the heavyweights > Why, in your opinion, Access 97 is better for developers? Bye
I would argue that Access 97 and Access 2003 are the best versions, some say Access 2003 edges it slightly although of the two only Access 2003 has the occasional crash (in development only).