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Today's guest blogger is Chris Schmidt, creator of the GraphicalAccess add-in for Visio.
Visual Programming, Dataflow Programming, or Flow-based Programming are powerful methods for the rapid development of applications big and small. Visualizing a database and the flow of data from it's origin through many process steps into a final report, form, or table, can help us quickly understand the relation and flow of data in an application, and help us to more quickly modify, repair, or improve our databases.
For the last few years we've been developing such a tool for Microsoft Access developers, power users, and data miners to manipulate data more quickly and in a visual, intuitive manner. It is called GraphicalAccess, and I'll demonstrate it's basic functionality below.
First of all, GraphicalAccess is a Microsoft VISIO add-in, so you'll need a copy of VISIO to use the application.
Pictured below is the resulting database diagram of our sample database. Created in a few clicks, the diagram shows the relationships of the forms and reports to specific source queries and tables. (Notice also that the second query from the top is a make-table query, so the data appears to flow backwards into the tables.)
Before I get into the advanced features, I'd like to emphasize that this simple diagram is a great addition to any application documentation that you may do for your clients, peers, auditors, or Sarbanes & Oxley.
The exciting part of this diagram is that it also provides you with the ability to drill into the objects in the Design or Data views, and immediately discover more detail about each object, and even make edits to those objects. Right click on any object and you'll get two new options: Access Design View or Access Data View, as pictured below:
And finally, if you need to add a new table, query, form, or report, just drag & drop a new VISIO item onto the diagram.
I hope that you find this tool helpful, and that visualization and and dataflow programming will make Access development a little more fun and enjoyable for you.
Always glad to hear about success stories or improvement ideas,
Chris Schmidt CMA, CIA
Does it work for both Web and Client objects?
The COM Add-In will not be loaded in Visio 2003. I turned the checkbox on an active state, but the COM Add-In don't work. Any ideas?
Looks like something I can use. I document this manually now for customers. Thanks
my apologies to anyone who downloaded an old version off of a bad link yesterday. Latest version 3.3.0 is available through our download.com link. Also, the trial versions should now run for 30 days. Hope you like it. Regards, Chris