Microsoft Access

Technical Articles

Why Access?

I’ve been working with MS Access for a few years now. Until then I had done everything in my power to stay away from this “Frontpage of the database world” as I liked to call it.

My hand was twisted when a customer wanted some basic ERP system that had to be implemented in Access since he wanted to keep some amount of control and it was the only sophisticated tool he knew how to use as a Manager.

It’s been an interesting journey so far. Access is one of those products that you love to hate.
After a while I had to rescind my view: it’s actually a very useful rapid application development platform that bridges the gap between pure database and pure GUI interface.
It’s not always elegant, and parts of it are showing their age (VB6 IDE, inconsistent VB syntax, less-than-glamorous controls) but Access 2007 has brought plenty of refinements that are keeping Access relevant today (ribbon, support for transparent images, theming and colour scheme, XP-styled controls, improved extensibility though Sharepoint and slightly better support for .Net).

Access gets a bad rap because the vast majority of its users are not professional developers: most people are power-users and managers and use Access as a simple tool to get the job done.
The resulting applications are functional but just looking at them is a hair-raising experience to a developer.
This doesn’t mean you cannot develop proper applications using proper coding standards. There are lots of talented Access programmers building professional solutions that solve real problems.

In this blog I share some of the titbits I created and knowledge I learned in the hope it will be useful to others.