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Access Disdain Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:49 PM


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... [web applications are] a whole new class of technology they need to have supported if they host them in house.

Which is why cloud-based hosting exists. But it sounds like your clients don't want on-prem web hosting, and yet they don't want it in the cloud, either.

MS, as you noted (along with most of the world), is moving/has moved to web applications, and there are numerous good reasons (as well as a few bad ones, admittedly) for this. Client/server still has its place, but perhaps it's time for both you and your clients to consider some other application development tools, in addition to MS Access?
Post #1595244
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:58 PM
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If I want to hang a picture on the wall, I use a nail and a hammer. If I want to take photographs, I use a camera. Sure it is convenient that my phone can take a snapshot (and so can my laptop and my tablet and soon, my glasses) but that isn't the same as a professional quality photo which I am able to do with a camera. This trying to squish everything into one paradigm is insane. You end up with solutions that do everything but they do nothing well. Communication is the real issue. Applications need to be able to interact with each other in controlled ways. I want to be able to interact with other applications but it isn't necessary that one tool do everything. If I need to interact with strangers, my only option is a web page. If I'm working internally with a controlled group of known people, I have other options. Should we discard all cameras because phones can take crappy snapshots? Why should we discard client/server in favor of a less rich web tool that I now need to incur additional expense to host either internally or externally? Especially considering there is no value added. The web solution is inferior to the client/server solution. Who wants a touch screen on their desk to do data entry? Could you actually program that way? My arms are too short!!!! I have a big monitor so I could increase the print size and sit back and be comfortable. Now Windows 8.1 thinks EVERYTHING must be a touch screen. That is a case of hubris and being completely out of touch with your client base. Yes it's "cool" that I can stream video to my phone and hook up with my friends if they choose to show their GPS locations but those applications have nothing what so ever to do with the needs of a business unless you are paying your employees to listen to music and watch movies and chat with their friends.
Post #1595287
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 3:45 PM


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To Patricia Hartman - oi, where even to start?! Let's see:

Why should we discard client/server in favor of a less rich web tool that I now need to incur additional expense to host either internally or externally? Especially considering there is no value added. The web solution is inferior to the client/server solution. Who wants a touch screen on their desk to do data entry? Could you actually program that way? My arms are too short!!!!

1. No-one is suggesting you 'discard' client/server. I'm simply suggesting there may be web-based application development solutions which might also be worth considering.

2. At the same time, consider where the marketplace has gone over the last twenty years; it's generally moved from client/server to the web. Are we all suffering from some mass delusion, or might there be some perceived added value behind this change?

3. The web solution may or may not be inferior to the client/server solution - in each case, it really depends on the business and technical requirements.

4. Touch screens work great on smaller form factor/mobile devices. I have one product that's used by field workers whose primary tools are shovels and pick-axes. They don't do keyboarding very well.

5. I'm sorry your arms are too short for touch screens! I'm part orangutang myself, so no problems here. Seriously, though, no-one is suggesting programming using a touch screen - that's not the right tool for the job - but touch does work nicely in a wide number of web applications on a wide range of devices and form-factors.

Anyway, Patricia, I'm packing it in on this thread. I wish you well, and hope the next 20 years using Access are as fun and profitable for you as the last 20 have been.
Post #1595300
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:43 PM
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1) I'm not arguing that point. I've looked at some. The benefit of browser based solutions is their ease of distribution. If you can overcome the distribution issue (and it's not easy), client/server still provides a better user interface. If you have to interface with the public, you need a browser based solution. If your app is inward facing, you have options which no one seems to realize.
2) Are we all suffering from some mass delusion?
Yes. Every one likes the shiny new toy. I have never known a programmer to say - let me implement with tried and true methods that do the job at hand. They really don't care. All they want is to play with the new toys (I am just as guilty as the rest in this regard). It is the managers who need to get control of the children and guide them. They do after all work for the company and the company is in business to make a profit not to provide toys for the children. When a need arises for a new toy, then by all means, use it. But the inmates have confused a real need for the toy with the desire to pay with it and so attempt to use it for everything regardless of whether or not it makes sense.
5) My arms are not too short to use my phone, although my fingers seem to be too fat; it's my eyes that are the problem there. That point was a jab at MS for assuming that everyone who installed Win 8 would be using a touch screen and making it impossible to continue to do business the way desktop users have always done business. There is change that is productive and necessary and there is change for the sake of change and I wish they could sort out the difference. I have a hundred people complaining to me that they can't see the forms/reports anymore since we "upgraded" to O365. The metro look just doesn't cut it. I'm spending a huge amount of time changing all my standard themes to be non standard just so people can see things they had no trouble seeing when they were using A2010. And, I'm almost certainly going to have to change them again with the next release of Office. Or perhaps, I'll come in some Wednesday and find that patch Tuesday had made all my theme adjustments glow. That's the kind of change we can live without.

Thanks for participating. It was great to chat with you folks. I hope you've all learned a little about Access and its sidekicks Jet and ACE. I'll probably drop in with my SQL Server questions as they arise.
Post #1595310
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:48 AM
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I have never known a programmer to say - let me implement with tried and true methods that do the job at hand.


You never talked with me when I was a programmer. I never went with "shiny new toys" for their own sake.



Post #1595519
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:05 AM


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RonKyle (7/23/2014)
I have never known a programmer to say - let me implement with tried and true methods that do the job at hand.


You never talked with me when I was a programmer. I never went with "shiny new toys" for their own sake.


Don't blame them for the quality of developers that they have worked with. "shiny new toys" are sometimes worth using but only to solve or relieve an issue.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1595530
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:25 PM
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Was glad to see people admitting they use Access.
Since Access 97, my preference is to quickly prototype in MS Access.
Then take the model and convert it into SQL Server.

Since 1999, taking VB or Access front-end and distributing nationally with Citrix, keeping SQL Server for the back-end has proven profitable. Access when properly designed can support hundres of concurrent users securely.

Not every application needs to be Web-based available to millions of users.
There are many mid-size Divisions (30 to 500 users) where business decisions application using a rich front-end interface can be the right approach. In my case, the business rules for compliance, regulations, and data-trending seem to need a tool of this order. The SQL Server itself can concurrently be consumed for Web users in a larger audience.

It is a real shame that Microsoft has basically dropped Access as a valid development platform.
Post #1595710
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:13 PM
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I don't think the MS has ever understood what they had with Access. Bill Gates was a real champion in the earlier days but as he got further away from the details, no one else ever picked up the mantel. Even the Access development team thinks of the .mdb/.accdb as a document rather than as an application so there is little understanding or support for professionally created apps to facilitate distribution and source security. The SQL Server team, who controlled Jet (the Access team now controls ACE) spread rumors about the death of "Access" when what was really happening was Jet was being replaced with ACE and that scared a lot of customers a few years ago. And that brings us back to my major point; make sure you know which app you are dissing when you complain about inadequacies.

With the deprecating of Source Safe, it is almost impossible for a team to work on a single app. Even with Source Safe it was difficult. That seriously limits the scope of anything you can create since it is like serial monogamy. One developer at a time.
Post #1595729
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:28 PM


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Patricia Hartman wrote:

With the deprecating of Source Safe, it is almost impossible for a team to work on a single app. Even with Source Safe it was difficult. That seriously limits the scope of anything you can create since it is like serial monogamy.

Patricia, have you checked out Subversion and Tortoise SVN? You might be pleasantly surprised.

Serially and monogamously yours.
Post #1595734
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:41 PM
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I was just talking to a consultant I hired about this. Even with source management, it is virtually impossible to have two people working in the same database. At the moment, I've isolated enough of the framework so he can develop reports for me outside the main app and I integrate them as he finishes. The problem is the framework isn't quite complete so as we make changes to that, we are having trouble syncing the two .accdb's.

The problem with how Access integrated with Source Safe et. al. is that it was so incredibly slow that you couldn't check out all items when you opened the app. You had to check them out one at a time when you wanted to make a change. But, that is where the trouble came in. You could still change anything even if you hadn't checked it out and when you closed the database, you never knew you were now out of sync. The app we are trying to work on together now has 50 tables, most are linked but a couple are local to the FE because they control things like the menu and selection criteria options for the reports, 111 forms/subforms, 43 reports/subreports, 15 code modules (in addition to the class modules attached to each form/report) and almost 400 queries. It's a good sized Access app but not even close to the largest I've ever built. Given our timeframe, I need help which is why I brought in someone else but given the overhead of coordination, it is less productive than I had hoped. For those of you old enough to remember "The Mythical Man Month", it doesn't matter how hard they try, nine women simply cannot make a baby in one month:)

So, this is the true reason that Access apps tend to be on the smaller side. It doesn't have anything to do with the number of users or the size of the tables since both of those problems are easily solved by using a server based RDBMS instead of Jet/ACE, it has to do with the number of objects that need to be created and the timeframe for the project. There is just so much that one developer can do in a day and it is simply too hard to add additional developers productively.
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