TheSmileyCoder wrote: Rod at work wrote:
Microsoft Access is the bane of our existence. We have hundreds of Access databases and apps in production today. Allowing for duplication, since its likely more than 1 person uses the same Access db/app I estimate we have about 200 unique Access dbs/apps.
They've been around far longer than I've been in this job. I think the reasons we have so many is the ease of setting one up, the fact that Access is a part of our Office licenses and the speed in which someone and whip together an app and database.
@Rod: Let me ask a question: If access wasn't around to solve those business needs, what would happen instead? I mean we can all dream of a world where only professionals develop software, and ideally only after getting 10 years of experience so they know what they are doing. But the issue is that most of these apps solve a business need, for which there was either no budget to have it developed, or IT was too busy to assist.
So if we rule out Access, and rule out professional software, that still leaves us with a business need that has to solved.
Then people grab the most "database" like thing they can get their hands on, which is *shudders* Excel.
Now I love Excel for reporting. But I've seen much much worse Excel messes than I've ever seen Access messes. Excel becomes a hodgepodge of hundreds (or thousands!!) of files that link together in a absolute mess, with references buried deep within cells, so that the whole sheet breaks when someone moves a file. At least with Access you most of the time have a single data backend to look at, and a single frontend to look at.
I would say that in an ideal world, IT would have a resource that could assist their users with setting up proper custom systems, whether it be Excel based, Access based, or Power Apps. This could solve the business needs, while trying to enforce some good programming rules while developing.
You make an excellent point. They used Access precisely because it was a database that the average user could understand. And most certainly it solved the problem they had, especially when it was written. This was even more so because we, as a state agency, have followed the Waterfall approach to all project management, as those it were the Word of God! Consequently, most projects took 2 years to finish, regardless of how short they were. Most customers couldn't wait that long. I really can't blame them for doing it. I hate the fact they did what they did, but looking at it from their point of view I understand why they did it.
My state agency is adopting Agile software practices. This is fantastic! And it is a learning process. We have, after all, a large project management office (PMO) with lots of BAs and PMs in it, all who have for decades spent their time gathering requirements and documenting those requirements down to the minutest detail. The people in the PMO have great power over what happens and when. We're waiting now, for a re-write of specs, so can't really do anything until that's finished. As a developer, I have a good idea what DevOps means to me and the average developer. I also have almost as good an idea what DevOps means to people in IT, especially the DBA. I've never worked in a large enough company/agency that had a PMO until this job. And I don't know enough about DevOps to know how BAs and PMs fit in the process, what their roles are.
You finished by saying that if our users didn't have Access to come up with their own solutions, that they might have used Excel instead. HA! HA! HA! That's happened here as well. There's lots of Excel spreadsheets around doing vital work. Over 2 years ago I worked on a project to remove one office's reliance on Excel spreadsheets. It was a mess before I started on it because about a dozen employees had their own copies of an Excel spreadsheet. Once a month they have to reconcile them all for monthly reports. Once a quarter they had to do a major reconciling of all those spreadsheets and the monthly spreadsheets so they could produce a report to the Cabinet Secretary, who reports to the Governor. So a couple of us wrote an app replace all of those spreadsheets with reports storing the data in a SQL Server database. They loved it, but only used it for about 6 months. Then personnel changed and the new management wanted to go back to the spreadsheets and stopped using our app. That was about 18 months ago. I don't know why and was told not to ask. So, well....
Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.