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Luke Chung of FMS, Inc. has published an interesting article on the Enterprise Features site that discusses some of the negative perceptions about Access, especially within enterprise settings. Luke argues that Access can be a big productivity booster for individuals and teams in the enterprise, and that IT departments should not put restrictions on the use of Access. Here's an excerpt:
"Organizations should recognize end users and line of business managers can create a lot of solutions on their own and are best equipped to do so (like giving bullets to infantry). These solutions should be considered tactical (special forces) not strategic (nuclear weapons) and should not be held to the same standards. Get things done quickly and moving on is the key to being nimble."
See Luke's article here.
PS. If you're interested in more information about deploying Access databases, see the Office.com article Ways to share an Access database.
- "Normal" users will never be able to create professional database solutions.
- Access developers migrate to different platforms since Access is unstable, buggy, with two many incompatibilities between various versions.
Access developer's team might not agree with me... but it's true.
Oops, "two many" should be "too many".
The scenario painted by7 Luike is fairly accurate, but MS is partly to blame, by complicating the integration of Access Web Services. Why implement only on Sharepoint and Office 365, when IIS is available?
A good example of where IT depts. screw-up: a sophisticated Access client-server Events Management database which cost peanuts to build was rejected in favour of a ‘serious’ web-based solution which after spending $50K still doesn’t work.
If true, that Access is undervalued by the companies. But from my perspectives that is not the underlying problem, the question is that Microsoft does to promote programming tool, as a solution to many business problems: Maybe Little or no?. In fact, the managers of the companies, look at Access within the office suite and only use Word, PowerPoint, and use Microsoft Excel in large quantities.
If we educate people to use Access, people will use Access. If you are not promoting or advertising the advantages of managing the information of our companies with Access, How to use Access?
In particular I would say that emphasis should be placed on the property that has to use different Back-End and SQL-Server, MySQL, SharePoint, Oracle, etc ...
Course depend on the pocket (money) of each other, such as Access and MySQL Back-End for the Web is relatively economical compared to SharePoint. The reason is that most Internet servers, work with MySQL and not with SharePoint. With MySQL you can create a form / report to access data shared with Access as a Front-End FE. So the possibilities are endless ... just have to know when to use each. Thanks!
Do you know what you are good at? Missing the complete message of the article.
To Luke’s support levels, we can also discuss developing a Business Analyst / IT .NET developer collaborative solution using Windows Workflow 4.0 (WF4). WF4 provides an XML (XAML) based declarative business workflow / rules engine and designer that can invoke .NET code activity classes (plug-ins). An Access .NET add-in can run declarative WF4. In addition, a .NET add-in can host the WF4 designer within Access potentially allowing Business Analyst to design LOB solutions that invoke .NET code designed, written and blessed by IT. I’m refining an Access .NET add-in sample that contains embedded workflow XAML that invokes code activities. In addition, the sample will show a simple WF designer hosted on an Access .NET form. The sample works well with a minor initial WF run performance hit. The sample will be posted on desktopWeb.codeplex.com within a couple weeks.
The reality is that departments need rapid solutions. Access with .NET, including WF4, has the tools to provide such solutions. We need to push the boundaries of Access with .NET. Creating solutions with MS best practices (msdn.microsoft.com/.../ff650706.aspx) including the Enterprise Blocks could give Access more enterprise credibility. Although perception is real and can be difficult to overcome, we need to think boldly, objectively and constructively to overcome real business problems.
VladimiC: I agree that understanding database concepts is challenging for many people (including some programmers). However, I have seen many "normal" users create databases that are more than adequate for their needs and a much better solution than using Excel. Sure, it's not as robust as a professional solution but the cost was also a lot less and allows the user to modify it whenever necessary.
While there may be bugs in MS Access and Excel, I think it's a more than adequate for the needs of most information workers which is the target audience.
Ceac: The Access backend data storage is always controversial. With the availability of SQL Azure for Microsoft to host a cloud database for $10 a month, that problem is going away.
Read my paper Microsoft Access and Cloud Computing with SQL Azure Databases (Linking to SQL Server Tables in the Cloud) for more information:
Without those attributes will Access never be accepted by IT professionals.
All I can say to Vlad is that I'm an accountant and I've managed to create a fixed asset database using Access 2003 split. I'm am moving it over to a SQL Server back end.
Included in it is VB that allows the conversion of eastings and northings into lat and longitude and moving to locations in Google Earth as well as some scripting that allows a linking to ArcView 3.3. In separate applications I've also managed to get it to do combatative mathematics to organise a football league and get it to it to run an application that can time athletes in running races.
I enjoy working out problems in a consistent and logical manner.
The fixed asset register is used in a professional context to manage in the region of £44 million pounds admittedly among not many users between 2 and 5. Still a lot of money and very complicated.
There's a number of products that I believe offer similar capabilities. Filemaker Pro, Alpha 5 that I am aware of.. The key is a complete IDE I think that allows a beginner to have complete control of all aspects in a consistent and logical method.
I really haven't had any problems in best part of ten years with bugs in Access. I've also designed project management software for a friend for his company.
Is Vlad open to alteration of his views or is it just an argument from authority.
I would add that unlike other more standard industry tools Access allows beginners the full Access to a complete IDE. I bet you there's a lot of dodgy filemaker pro databases out there as well.
Maybe its a measure of the succes of getting beginners into database design rather than an inherent weakness of the product?
Most of my initial databases had a lot of things wrong with them but I designed them like that not knowing any better.
I've been with Access since version 97 and have been experiencing more and more incompatibities (especially in 2007), more and more bugs (and no fixes from Microsoft), help system from a superb one in 97 to unusable in 2007. Therefore I recommended not to continue development in Access in a company I cooperate with, and step to different platform. I will have to live with Access for a while anyway.
"Best of the best":
During the last week we've experienced data loss from Team Foundation Server which we use as a source code control. We'we lost one object. We can't trust TFS anymore...
Do you still think that MS Access in underrated?
Have you posted the Access .NET add-in sample? I look at desktopWeb.codeplex.com but don't see it.
I will check the sample in soon (I’ll write about the sample on my blog at desktopweb.blogspot.com). For now, you can download the latest check-in. Although the focus of the latest source code is on using Microsoft Patterns and Practices Logging and Security, the source has some workflow code. You can find the activities at \WFController\Activities within the project. The workflow xaml is stored in an Access table and executes a couple of code activities in response to an onAfterUpdate event (look in Implementation.cs). Another workflow is invoked from a Report_Click event handler (look in ManagedObjectsUserControl.cs)
The next check-in will contain a basic workflow designer and a few SharePoint 2010 Client Object Model code activates.
Thanks for your interest.