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Access 2013 Custom Web App Resources Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 1:21 PM
Grasshopper

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Is there any robust documentation on Access 2013 Custom Web Apps? Specifically, macro definitions with examples, system examples (beyond Microsoft's issues example), effective approaches to structuring Access 2013 Custom Web applications, integration with other applications using the same database, etc.?

The Microsoft documentation looks promising but falls short. The Access 2013 custom web app reference looks good when you open it but as you drill in you often find short answers without examples or in many cases template text that has not been filled in. For example, in the entry on Operators is simply a template without any content, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/dn142400.aspx.

I have been working with Access 2013 Custom Web Apps for two months and continually hit the wall over basic functions or UI questions that I have to resolve by trial and error because they are not documented effectively. At the same time I am hesitant to abandon it for several reasons
- the SQL Azure database schema that is created is quite impressive, with changes in validations and relationships managed magically (assuming you start with a reasonable design),
- the needed application functionality 95% of what is needed (albeit, limited in terms of UI controls), and
- it would be easy for anyone to maintain.

Note, I am not using any corresponding Access 2013 desktop database for my application so do not need any resources to the Access 2013 desktop development practices unless these are the same as or specifically address Access 2013 Custom Web App applications.

Also, I am not currently looking for other tools/technologies.

Thanks,
Jim
Post #1470859
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 4:33 PM
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Taking a look at what you saw on MSDN I can see how you found it wanting. I looked and saw nothing in the Operators, but if you click on the tree control on the left side, it expands and there is additional information as you drill down. For example, the Arithmetic Operators ... is one of the subheadings (with no real content either), but if you drill down again by clicking on - Subtract you get the following information:
- (Subtract) (Access 2013 custom web app)

Office 2013

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Published: July 16, 2012

Subtracts two numbers. This arithmetic subtraction operator can also subtract a number, in days, from a date.

Syntax
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
expression - expression

expression Any valid expression of any one of the data types in the numeric category except the bit data type. Cannot be used with date or time data types.


Return Value
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Returns the data type of the argument with the higher precedence


That's a trivial example, but I think most of the details are actually there. The challenge is navigating the site to find what you want.

I'm also curious what UI controls you would like to have that are not available? The use of a web based interface does impose some limitations compared to what you can do with a regular Access application because you are limited to the use of macros at this point. Thus the power of a fully programable user interface that you get using VBA isn't available.

Wendell
Colorado, USA

Addendum
After some further research, it turns out there are a number of sample applications that are available to study. In order to access them you need to be logged into Office 365, and you want to go to the Microsoft Store. Then choose the "SharePoint" store, and there search on Access - you will find several in the results that are what you are looking for, and in general they are free. There is also one that you can find by searching for Computer (it isn't indexed as being Access), and you should find a Computer tracking app that is pretty complete.


Wendell
Colorful Colorado
You can't see the view if you don't climb the mountain!
Post #1470883
Posted Monday, July 8, 2013 1:08 PM
Grasshopper

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Wendell,

Thanks for your answer and your research!

The examples you referenced on the SharePoint Store are helpful and several techniques would have been very nice to see without having to invent them. I periodically go to the SharePoint store to see what is available but did not think to get sample code there. For any future reference to this thread, I simply put "Access App" in the search of the SharePoint Store and selected Free and about 11 samples pop up. The examples use many more of the features than the Issues and Tasks examples found on the Microsoft sites.

The reference to the template text was intended to point out the lack of attention that Microsoft gave to their documentation. I had found detailed description of items like Operators and many command syntax detail pages on the Microsoft sites. None were anywhere near as extensive as a comparable C# or VB description. I still believe the documentation is not thorough or complete and it does not compare to the quality or thoroughness I would expect from Microsoft. (I guess that gives more opportunities for myself or others to write about it.)

I may be expecting too much but the UI controls that I would like would to see include calendar/scheduling controls, chart controls, and report controls. While I could probably embed a web page to link to a reporting services page, the security and connectivity issues would make this like a separate project - and assumes that Reporting Services is available. For the types of simple tracking systems that Microsoft's examples encourage, reporting is the biggest gap.

Thanks again,

Jim P.
Post #1471333
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