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How will Access Survive

How will Access fair in a year? Two years? .... The new version of
Access seems to service non programmers as a wizard interface to
quickly create databases via a fancy wizard. Furthermore, why would
you even continue to use Access as a backend when you have a much
superior option in SQL express?

What about as a future front-end development tool? Let's get serious.
Microsoft continues to publish numerous articles and videos on how you
can whip up a workable datagrid with only a few lines of code (so much
for the argument for the RAD development tool). Bring XML and the
countless advantages of the disconnected dataset architecture in .NET
and I am more convinced that Access will start to die out (short of
support for legacy systems).

The point is not to start a riot but rather seek valid arguments on how
Access will fair in the future. Thanks in advance for your input.

Jason

May 23 '06 #1
37 5232
Hopefully you will get several divergent views from this exersise in
crystal-ball gazing.

Specifics in-line.

--
Allen Browne - Microsoft MVP. Perth, Western Australia.
Tips for Access users - http://allenbrowne.com/tips.html
Reply to group, rather than allenbrowne at mvps dot org.

<ja*****@bigriv er.net> wrote in message
news:11******** **************@ 38g2000cwa.goog legroups.com...
How will Access fair in a year? Two years? .... The new version of
Access seems to service non programmers as a wizard interface to
quickly create databases via a fancy wizard.
It does look as if Microsoft is emphasizing the role of Access as desktop
database, and putting in lots of effort to make it as usable as possible for
non-programmers. But they have taken away nothing from developers, and
actually given us several useful things as well.
Furthermore, why would
you even continue to use Access as a backend when you have a much
superior option in SQL express?
Nothing else is as simple as just copying an MDB and running it on a
computer. I work mostly with small business and not-for-profit groups who
have no IT staff let alone DBMAs. Nothing else is as simple and appropriate
for them. And nothing else works as well and seamlessly as the integrated
Access (JET storage.)
What about as a future front-end development tool? Let's get serious.
Microsoft continues to publish numerous articles and videos on how you
can whip up a workable datagrid with only a few lines of code (so much
for the argument for the RAD development tool). Bring XML and the
countless advantages of the disconnected dataset architecture in .NET
and I am more convinced that Access will start to die out (short of
support for legacy systems).


When something is as good as Access, it makes sense that MS and other
companies will try to make other products that have similar features. That's
great for the other tools, and it may enable them to encroach on areas
Access had exclusively, but it does not take away from Access.

The biggest limitation of Access is that the thick-client approach was never
designed to work over a slow or unstable connection. This simply means
Access is unsuitable for that market; it takes nothing away from Access's
strengths for what it was designed for. However, more and more people do
want to use their database across these kinds of connections, so the range
of scenarios where Access is suitable is narrowing.

This is a trade-off, of course. If you want to load 20 forms at once, each
with 10 subforms that each have multiple combo boxes with thousands of
records in each, you are not going to be able to achieve that over a slow
connection. So you either move away from the thick-client approach (use
something other than Access), or you give up on the slow-connection and
retain the Access flexibility, or you settle on some compromise between the
two.

Regardless of what specific choices people make on that balance question,
Access will still have a significant future both where Microsoft wants to
pitch it (desktop database) and beyond where they want it (LANs with dozens
of users and millions of records.)

It is possible that another company will create a better desktop database
one day. Unless that happens, Access will still be the best-selling database
of all time.
May 23 '06 #2
ja*****@bigrive r.net wrote:
and I am more convinced that Access will start to die out (short of
support for legacy systems).


Posts to CDMA

Jan 1 2000 - May 23 2000: 85400
Jan 1 2006 - May 23 2006: 15900 (source -> Google Groups)

Perhaps, this indicates that Access started to die out several years
ago. Perhaps it simply means that other better sources of help and
discussion were found.

I do not use Access for personal projects anymore, mostly because I
want applications which can be used anywhere, on machines with minimal
software installed. I find HTAs, ASP/ADO and lately ASP.Net/ ADO.Net
better suited for this. Perhaps other developers and businesses are
similar.

Three extraneous issues have soured me on MS and Access as well. One is
the vulnerability of MS products in general to attack. Two is VBA; the
more I try and learn other languages/scripts/technologies the more I
think that MS must bite the bullet soon and leave this anachronism
behind. Three is the travesty that are ADPs, this great dream that led
us on, failed and seem now to be passé.

If I were younger I think I would be trying to leave the MS world
entirely.

May 23 '06 #3
I agree, Lyle. Another point worth mentioning is the built-in
deployment features of Visual Studio where the application can
automatically check for and download updates via a web server or a
central network location. Sure, there are issues with SQL express
where you have to be carefully of overwriting the data, but you can
write code for this by attaching the database as a resource rather than
a project file. Sure beats updating Access front-ends.

May 23 '06 #4
<ja*****@bigriv er.net> wrote in message
news:11******** **************@ 38g2000cwa.goog legroups.com...
How will Access fair in a year? Two years? .... The new version of
Access seems to service non programmers as a wizard interface to
quickly create databases via a fancy wizard.


MS is in business to make as much money as they can and if that means
pandering to the masses then that's what they'll do.

2p included.

Keith.
www.keithwilby.com
May 23 '06 #5

<ja*****@bigriv er.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:11******** **************@ 38g2000cwa.goog legroups.com...
How will Access fair in a year? Two years? .... The new version of
Access seems to service non programmers as a wizard interface to
quickly create databases via a fancy wizard. Furthermore, why would
you even continue to use Access as a backend when you have a much
superior option in SQL express?


There is no one and only DBS, DBMS or frontend. Specific problems need
specific software. Access is one great, fast and cheap tool. Some problems
need hierarchical DBMS like ADABAS, Metakit or IMS. And sometimes you need
network databases.

Some Querys are faster on Access Systems, some are faster on SQL Systems.

About frontends: If you have wireless barcode scanner with DOS Operating
System running a telnet session you can't use an Access, Foxpro, Navision or
SAP-Frontend.

So the best Software is sometimes this, sometimes that. Programming
databases is no Religion.
To get best results for your customer you have to analyze the problem first
and _after this_ to decide which is the best software.

Sorry my English isn't good enough

Rainer Franke
May 23 '06 #6
"Rainer Franke" <ra****@nurfuer spam.de> wrote in message
news:e4******** *****@news.t-online.com...


Sorry my English isn't good enough


I couldn't see anything wrong with it! :-)

Keith.
May 23 '06 #7
Per ja*****@bigrive r.net:
seek valid arguments on how
Access will fair in the future


I've been doing MS Access for over 10 years now.

My view of what I provide to the user is:
---------------------------------------------------------
1) Moment-to-moment user control over the development
effort. i.e. I can turn on a dime and make changes
very quickly.

2) Lower cost of development by a factor of at least
three (compared to VB6) and probably much more
compared to .NET.
---------------------------------------------------------

I think that in the past, I've supposed too much significance
for item #2 and not enough to item #1 - in the user's mind.

After being on the fringes of a major .NET project (IT was
replacing a 7-year-old MS Access app that I wrote) I came away
thinking that maybe I should spend some time and develop
a clonable .NET shell that I could use as a starting point
in future projects - instead of MS Access.

Never managed to do that - too many MS Access jobs and not
enough waking hours - but I still suspect it might be an
alternative RAD scenario. OTOH, that project that I just
alluded to had burned through 23 million dollars when I
checked on it last year.

The product was just delivered on May 5th.

My application - which lasted 7 years and which the users
were still happy with - came in at less than $225,000.
To me, the two biggest downsides of MS Access applications
are:
--------------------------------------------------------
- Widespread contempt among IT people for MS Access - usually
because they don't understand the distinction between
Access as a front-end development tool and a back end.

- The specter of future releases breaking an app. In a
big shop, IT rolls out the latest-and-greatest version
of MS Office and my apps are dead in the water until somebody
performs some maintenance work.
--------------------------------------------------------
--
PeteCresswell
May 23 '06 #8
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote in
news:9d******** *************** *********@4ax.c om:
To me, the two biggest downsides of MS Access applications
are:
--------------------------------------------------------
- Widespread contempt among IT people for MS Access - usually
because they don't understand the distinction between
Access as a front-end development tool and a back end.
I would add to that the fact that they have no comprehension of how
Jet works and so don't understand how to deploy it in a fashion that
is safe.
- The specter of future releases breaking an app. In a
big shop, IT rolls out the latest-and-greatest version
of MS Office and my apps are dead in the water until somebody
performs some maintenance work.
--------------------------------------------------------


This is because IT (and users) think of an MDB file as a document,
like a Word document, rather than as an application. The same IT
shop would not upgrade the version of ASP or PHP or Cold Fusion that
is running their web applications without testing, but they do it to
Access. The reason for that is that they don't understand that
Access is the same as ASP/PHP/CF in regards to deployment.

That doesn't mean there aren't deployment problems with Access that
are vexing, but it does seem to come down to it that most of the
downsides of Access are due to IT ignorance.

What a surprise.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
May 23 '06 #9
ja*****@bigrive r.net wrote in
news:11******** **************@ j73g2000cwa.goo glegroups.com:
Another point worth mentioning is the built-in
deployment features of Visual Studio where the application can
automatically check for and download updates via a web server or a
central network location.


I've never understood the attraction of automatic updates. I think
they are phenomenally dangerous and turn them off in every program
that offers them (including Windows Update, the most dangerous of
them all, since a failure could disable your computer entirely).
This would be no attraction to me at all.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
May 23 '06 #10

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