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Thread: Why use Access

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    Why use Access

    [img]/w3timages/icons/shy.gif[/img]This is a general question and absolutely not meant to offend any diehard Access users. I am not even certain if this is the right place to ask this question, but here goes.

    Those who have read my posts or profile know that I have just barely started to become exposed to Access. I have taken a few online Access courses, I am learning from a book now and I am attempting to create my first application using VBA.

    During this learning process, I am asking myself this question: Why am I using Access at all? Can't I just continue learning VB6 and do my database programming with it? It uses the Jet engine and DAO and ADO etc.

    For a newcomer like me, Access has all the attributes of a Frankenstein, having gone through various metamorphoses since version 1.0 (which was definitely not recommended by the then gurus - which gave me the impetus to stay away from Access this long). Access appears a mixture of VBA, Access macros, DoCmd's and some other peculiar treats all of which don't appear to make the language intuitive to the new budding programmer.

    Anybody want to explain to me why you feel Access is the way to go? It would be much appreciated!

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    Re: Why use Access

    Hi Ken,

    Good question.
    In the organisation I work at the moment Access is seen as an enduser tool. Imagine all the [censored] they can produce....

    Why not using Access? You install one environment and can you can make nice looking applications based on a pretty good database system with good looking forms, good reporting facilities and integrated security.
    Try that with VB6!
    The only problem is that if you want to make a nice looking and nice performing application you have to have a good knowledge of relational database design, putting the right indexes on the right fields, preparing queries.
    You also have to know about transactions, user interface design, batch processing etc.
    As you see, all the knowledge a good projectteam has to have in a normal organisation.
    That is what a lot of people forget when starting with MS Access. MS Access is a complete environment to create applications!
    If you want a good application, you have to have the skills to design and build a good application! A lot of those skills are not related to a particular environment.

    I still think MS Access is a great tool to work with.
    I designed several high volume applications, made couple of applications in a 100+ user environement, they still work perfectly. It all is possible in access, but you have to DESIGN them.

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    Re: Why use Access

    Ken,

    Don't fret about offending us die hard users. We're used to it.

    For me, a major benefit is it's widespread availability. Lots of business users are out there that have the application with the rest of MSOffice.

    Along the same lines, I like its so-called "compatability" with the other MSOffice programs. That is to say, after much effort, trial, and error, I can make them "compatible".
    [img]/w3timages/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

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    Re: Why use Access

    VB is a powerful tool. It's also a tool that can be used to create really lousy programs, including database applications.

    I'd say the biggest problem with VB database applications is that most of the VB programmers I've known were strong in VB and weak in database theory! However, since VB is seen as a "legitimate" programming language/tool, a lot of IT departments turn their noses up at Access, which is perceived as an "end-user" product, thanks to all the marketing in that direction that Microsoft has done since its release in 1992. Of course a really good Access programmer can run rings around most run-of-the-mill VB programmers without breaking a sweat, but most people don't know that because they never encounter a really good Access programmer.

    The database tools from VB are a pale imitation of the Access UI at best. The VB/MS forms have a few nice features like control arrays, but you have no form headers and footers, and your forms lack the richness of Access forms. If you want bound forms, you have to work hard at it in VB, while that is the natural state of Access forms. Since VB lacks the database window interface, you don't have a convenient means of quickly getting at particular events for an object just by popping up the properties window in the UI. Instead, you're forced to work in the VBIDE for everything.

    VB uses Crystal Reports for its reports, and the Access report generator has this beat hands down when it comes to flexibility and things like using calculated fields in the headers and footers. I'll say it here: I HATE Crystal Reports!

    By all means, brush up your VB. But don't give up on Access apps. The "end-user" opinion lasts until they see a professional quality Access application. Then they start back-pedalling.[img]/w3timages/icons/grin.gif[/img]
    Charlotte

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    Re: Why use Access

    I like to use the highest level tool while using lower level tools for things the high level tool cannot do. Access is a higher level, in that sense, than VB. It does more for you with less programming effort. If you don't like what it does you can modify that fairly easily with VB.

    You could also ask "Why use Windows?" or for that matter VB. You have the most flexibility if you program in machine language, less in assembler, less still in C and so on. But with each loss of flexibility is a massive gain in ease of use.

    So, if you are using a database, Access is probably a better starting place than VB (or assembler)[img]/w3timages/icons/king.gif[/img]
    David Grugeon
    Brisbane Australia

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