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  1. #1
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    Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Hi

    I am trying to build up some metrics on my application which I think is becoming quite complex. What I would like to do is obtain some measure of just how complex each bit of the system is, specifically the forms and reports. This is so that when we have changes to make we can make an intelligent guess as to how long the changes will take.

    My initial take is to examine each form/report in design mode and then count up the numbers of each control on each object. I would then assign a value to each object, say label = 1, combo = 3, tab control = 5, and estimate a total value from that. This is a bit rough and ready, but better than nothing. Has anybody else tried out something similar, and if so, how did they manage it ? Would you count lines of code on the form - what else would you want to take into account ?

    I'm sure there must be some loungers with their usual expertise to bear on this subject. - I would appreciate their opinjons

    Nick

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Nick,

    I would suggest you use the built-in documenter (Tools>Analyze>Documenter) to sum up all of your forms and reports (let Access do the work), then pore over what is there, and it should at least give you a good push in the right direction.
    ____________________________
    Jeremy
    "If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, then you will be hacked. What's more, you deserve to be hacked." -Richard Clarke

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Jeremy

    The Documenter is OK as far as it goes, but it does not provide a summary for the form, e.g. 10 labels, 5 combos, 2 subforms, etc etc

    The VBA code is fairly easy to generate, but I was just seeing if anybody had already done anything similar.

    Nick

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    The Total Access Analyzer from FMS is the most complete documentation package I know of - unfortunately I don't have a version currently installed on any of my PCs, so I can't tell you whether it includes counts or not. And it is a relatively expensive but useful tool. Perhaps someone else knows of another tool that will give you what you are after. Otherwise you may need to resort to the VBA approach and exploring the system tables.
    Wendell

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Just a <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> comment Nick.

    I agree with you point of putting a value to a specific control for scoring but as you say it is a bit rough and ready. A user will come to a form and then click a command button and expect it to work to get a result. The coder on the other has spent 10 hours of work to get that particular button to work as it has a very complex piece of coding behind it and then requires 5 hours to debug it because of the complexity. On the other hand they have created a command button using the wizard to open a form that took 1 minute....how do you assign a value to the varying complexity?

    Should this assignment and valuing of effort be done at design time? Should effort be calculated during tech log writing. I have a junior support officer on the team who is learning the trade and may take 3 times as long to develop a particular part of the application as opposed to a senior support officer...same outcome, different effort, different cost to the business!

    How will you assign a cost to planning and developing a prototype...and then assign cost to iteration during design phase.

    Personally, each application will require different approach and a different scope. Don't automate, look at each individual aspect and make a costing/timing from that...automation can take the control away from you...use with care, consideration and an indicator to guide you.

    That's my take
    Jerry

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    I'm not sure what your purpose is in trying to do this. Objects like forms and reports can be simple or complex, irrespective of the number or type of controls on them. Counting lines of code as a measure of complexity has pretty much gone by the wayside anyhow, especially since wizards can build so much code. Furthermore, the amount of time the changes will take depends on the kind of change and the skill of the developer, not on the complexity of the form or report. Sorry, but I think you're chasing a will-o-the-wisp on this. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    Charlotte

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    I have to agree with you Charlotte. We have some forms that appear really complex on the surface, but because of design techniques are really quite simple to modify. On the other hand we have some unbound forms that appear pretty simple but have lots of complex code behind them. And there are so many other factors, such as the developer and the quality of documentation - I like your "will-o-the-wisp" - how about a smilie?
    Wendell

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Wendell, Charlotte

    Many thanks for your comments, which I agree with for the most part. However, the background is that I plan to use this technique for a system which I have developed over the last 2 years, and is now quite complex. The next phase is to split it up, and hand it on to other developers to make further enhancements. These are new people with no prior knowledge of the system, so the aim is to give them at least a rough guide to which objects in the system are more or less complex than others. Most forms have been developed using a code generator, and so are quite similar in style, but will vary in complexity according to the number and type of controls.

    I wondered about trying to link the forms to code, e.g. by counting all the reference to a form in the code modules, but I'll have to see how the first part gets on.

    Thaks again for your helpful comments

    Nick

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Nick

    It is obvious that my view has been over looked even though it is the same as Charlotte's and Wendells..never mind.

    You are, I feel, stuck between a rock and a hard place on this and using a documenter or program to identify objects could be used for an "indicator" of work but not one of complexity. Last suggestion, could you do make a manual take on complexity and group the forms dependent on your take. Then grade them , Difficult, medium and easy or something similar and then use a documenter to do counts, if that is what you want. You could then meet with the new design teams and agree a way forward. They will be able to assign the work with your guidance to the correct applications team/person dependent on complexity.
    Jerry

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    Jerry

    Please don't take offence - your name was only missed out because I was a bit too pre-occupied with the cricket while I was replying. Same thing this moring.

    Nick

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    Re: Database complexity (A97 SR2)

    No probs....I am about 1 mile from the Oval and it doesn't look like it is going to rain <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>
    Jerry

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