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Open source alternative for MsAccess?

P: n/a
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?
Nov 13 '05 #1
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115 Replies


P: n/a
TheAd wrote:
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...) Add rekall to that.
.. 2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)?? Yes it is imho. It has powerful scripting and database capabilities.
Depending on your needs, I'd rather go with PostgreSQL if you need an
SQL server. OO can also use some simple standalone database files.
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?

PHP is a web language and should imho not be used to GUI programming,
try Python if you need a script language.
Nov 13 '05 #2

P: n/a
The weakness I see in open source alternatives is a lack of built-in
reports. Most would require a 3rd party report generator like Crystal
reports. The only system that could to compete with Access was Paradox,
which in some ways was better then Access 2. I was built for programming
more then the average user and its runtime could modify objects (though
code).

"TheAd" <th*****@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:c1**************************@posting.google.c om...
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?

Nov 13 '05 #3

P: n/a
In the last exciting episode, "paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote:
The weakness I see in open source alternatives is a lack of built-in
reports. Most would require a 3rd party report generator like
Crystal reports. The only system that could to compete with Access
was Paradox, which in some ways was better then Access 2. I was
built for programming more then the average user and its runtime
could modify objects (though code).


Paradox did _briefly_ run on Linux, as part of the almost
entirely-disastrous "WordPerfect Office For Linux," that kind of
worked, briefly :-(.

Alas, this is one of the "holy grail" items that continues to not be
quite there yet.

-> There are "great plans" for the database access component of
OpenOffice.org, but it's not there yet

-> The theKompany guys have released a version of their "Rekall"
product under the GPL; it sorta works...

-> The KDE project is implementing something called Kexi that
isn't there yet...

-> There's a Tcl-based program called "pgaccess" that is a front end
for PostgreSQL which has some thin similarity to Access.

None are _really_ comparable as of yet, and it's not clear that they
will be any time soon.
--
let name="cbbrowne" and tld="acm.org" in name ^ "@" ^ tld;;
http://cbbrowne.com/info/rdbms.html
"As long as there are ill-defined goals, bizarre bugs, and unrealistic
schedules, there will be Real Programmers willing to jump in and Solve
The Problem, saving the documentation for later. Long live FORTRAN!"
Nov 13 '05 #4

P: n/a
One option you might consider is running crossoffice(lets windows proggies
run under linux) costs 34 dollars US to register, demo trial license
available...www.codeweavers.com and check to see if MS Access is supported
on their supported software page... please note you do not install the
whole windows OS...just the program itself...it is possible even if not
supported that Access will work.........Yes I noticed you asked about open
source...my 2 cents

TheAd wrote:
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?


Nov 13 '05 #5

P: n/a
TheAd wrote:
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?


You might find the AquaFold GUI tool useful.
Think MS Access GUI on steroids.....

It's OS portable (Windows, Linux, OSX, Solaris, Java)
and supports all major commercial and Open Source
databases (Oracle, DB2, Informix, Sybase, MySQL, Postgres).
It's free for personal use, and only $89
for commercial use.

Review:
http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS5868624508.html

Features (click the icons for screenshots):
http://www.aquafold.com/features_3_7.html

Overview:
http://www.aquafold.com/index.html

Download:
http://www.aquafold.com/downloads.html

Regards,
Larry

--
Anti-spam address, change each 'X' to '.' to reply directly.
Nov 13 '05 #6

P: n/a
I don't see anything in AquaFold that supports an end user interface and
reports. I looks like it is only a GUI interface to the SQL server.

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...
TheAd wrote:
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?


You might find the AquaFold GUI tool useful.
Think MS Access GUI on steroids.....

It's OS portable (Windows, Linux, OSX, Solaris, Java)
and supports all major commercial and Open Source
databases (Oracle, DB2, Informix, Sybase, MySQL, Postgres).
It's free for personal use, and only $89
for commercial use.

Review:
http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS5868624508.html

Features (click the icons for screenshots):
http://www.aquafold.com/features_3_7.html

Overview:
http://www.aquafold.com/index.html

Download:
http://www.aquafold.com/downloads.html

Regards,
Larry

--
Anti-spam address, change each 'X' to '.' to reply directly.

Nov 13 '05 #7

P: n/a
paii, Ron wrote:
I don't see anything in AquaFold that supports an end user interface and
reports. I looks like it is only a GUI interface to the SQL server.

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...


Please don't 'top post'

<snip>

The original OP asked about GUI development tools.

In a large production database system it is
almost never a good idea to allow individual
end-users to do ad-hoc queries. One 'select *'
with join's and a sort against a DB with millions
of records could bring the entire system to a crawl
for all of the other concurrent users and applications
(unless the ad-hoc queries are done against a backup
of the production DB instead of the production DB itself
but, then you have to worry about network bandwidth).

I'm not very familiar with Access, but we use Web forms
and Java GUI apps to allow our corporate users acces
to predefined reports against our corporate Oracle DB's.

Regards,
Larry

--
Anti-spam address, change each 'X' to '.' to reply directly.
Nov 13 '05 #8

P: n/a
Whether one top posts or intersperses is a matter of style and personal
preference, Larry. Personally, I find it far less bothersome than people who
do not trim previous posts to just what is necessary to establish context
for their response and many other inconsiderate acts.

Of course, if you can cite the USENET rule or adopted RFD that bans top
posting, I will happily stand corrected. To the best of my knowledge, there
is none.

Larry Linson
"Larry I Smith" wrote
"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...


Please don't 'top post'


Nov 13 '05 #9

P: n/a
Larry,

The OP asked for an Open Source alternative for MSAccess. That implies a
tool with the ability to create tables, forms, queries, reports, menus,
etc., and, the ability to develop and run some kind of scripting
language(VBA, Python, etc.) so as to have programming control over the
application. Access is much more than a utility program like Aquafold.
While Aquafold certainly looks like it has it's place as a utiliy, that's
not what we're looking for here.

By your own admission, you say you don't know very much about Access. No
DUH! Perhaps you should learn something about it before you make a
recommendation, PARTICULARLY to this ng.

By the way, when you visit a newsgroup, you should take the time to learn
that group's posting etiquette before you tell anyone to "Please don't 'top
post'". Some members 'top post', some "bottom post'. Either way is
acceptable here, and we don't need some pseudo-religious sermon about which
way is right or wrong.

By the way, Access fits in very nicely as a GUI application front end to
Oracle, SQL Server, MySql, etc., etc., etc.

Ruben Baumann

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Kc******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...
paii, Ron wrote:
I don't see anything in AquaFold that supports an end user interface and
reports. I looks like it is only a GUI interface to the SQL server.

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...


Please don't 'top post'

<snip>

The original OP asked about GUI development tools.

In a large production database system it is
almost never a good idea to allow individual
end-users to do ad-hoc queries. One 'select *'
with join's and a sort against a DB with millions
of records could bring the entire system to a crawl
for all of the other concurrent users and applications
(unless the ad-hoc queries are done against a backup
of the production DB instead of the production DB itself
but, then you have to worry about network bandwidth).

I'm not very familiar with Access, but we use Web forms
and Java GUI apps to allow our corporate users acces
to predefined reports against our corporate Oracle DB's.

Regards,
Larry

--
Anti-spam address, change each 'X' to '.' to reply directly.

Nov 13 '05 #10

P: n/a
In message <Kc******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net>, Larry I Smith
<la***********@verizon.net> writes
paii, Ron wrote:
I don't see anything in AquaFold that supports an end user interface and
reports. I looks like it is only a GUI interface to the SQL server.
"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...

Please don't 'top post'

<snip>

The original OP asked about GUI development tools.


The OP asked about replacements for MS Access, which is not quite the
same thing. The difficulty is that Access is a single tool that does a
lot of different jobs, whereas the UNIX style is to use a separate tool
for each job. Aqua Studio looks like a useful replacement for a very
small part of what Access does.

I use Access a lot and it's the main reason why I haven't switched to
Linux on the desktop yet. To replace Access I need a well-integrated
suite containing:

A database engine, like MySQL or PostgreSQL supporting views and
hopefully triggers and stored procedures. (If the engine doesn't support
triggers then I need them in the forms designer, which is why MS Access
is a good front-end for MySQL.)

A data management tool able to import and export data in a wide variety
of forms. For instance importing data from a flat text file and linking
that with data in an external Oracle database. It needs to support some
sort of scripting language for data transformations and validation
during the import.

A visual database management tool, like AquaFold

A visual forms designer supporting an easily learned macro language (the
same one as used in the report designer)

A visual reports designer supporting an easily learned macro language
(the same one as used in the forms designer)

In a large production database system it is
almost never a good idea to allow individual
end-users to do ad-hoc queries.


That isn't usually an issue in the applications that Access is used for.
It's very definitely an end-user tool used for building small
applications or quick and dirty prototypes. If runtime speed is an issue
then Access isn't the tool to use.

Access is designed to make ad hoc queries easy to write, not efficient
to run. It's not a programmers tool and a Linux replacement should make
it possible to build a simple application like an address book without
writing a single line of code.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author. Will work for money.

Nov 13 '05 #11

P: n/a
In message <94********************@megapath.net>, R Baumann
<ry**@9yahoo.com> writes
Larry,

The OP asked for an Open Source alternative for MSAccess. That implies a
tool with the ability to create tables, forms, queries, reports, menus,
etc., and, the ability to develop and run some kind of scripting
language(VBA, Python, etc.) so as to have programming control over the
application. Access is much more than a utility program like Aquafold.
While Aquafold certainly looks like it has it's place as a utiliy, that's
not what we're looking for here.

By your own admission, you say you don't know very much about Access. No
DUH! Perhaps you should learn something about it before you make a
recommendation, PARTICULARLY to this ng.

By the way, when you visit a newsgroup, you should take the time to learn
that group's posting etiquette before you tell anyone to "Please don't 'top
post'". Some members 'top post', some "bottom post'. Either way is
acceptable here, and we don't need some pseudo-religious sermon about which
way is right or wrong.
Larry was replying to a cross-posted message, and there is no easy way
of telling which newsgroup he originally posted to, or what it's
policies are. Your reply was only posted to comp.databases.ms-access so
if he was reading another group he won't see your reply.

By the way, Access fits in very nicely as a GUI application front end to
Oracle, SQL Server, MySql, etc., etc., etc.


It fits particularly well with MySQL.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author. Will work for money.

Nov 13 '05 #12

P: n/a
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com> wrote in
news:8Q**************@shrdlu.com:
In message <Kc******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net>, Larry I
Smith
<la***********@verizon.net> writes
In a large production database system it is
almost never a good idea to allow individual
end-users to do ad-hoc queries.


That isn't usually an issue in the applications that Access is
used for. It's very definitely an end-user tool used for building
small applications or quick and dirty prototypes. . . .


I think the definition of "small" needs to be qualified here.

The size of the data set for your application is not really
relevant. Yes, if you're using Jet (Access's native db engine) to
store your data, you need to be careful about concurrency issues and
you need to design your Access app to be as efficient as possible.
Of course, that's also true with a server database as your back-end
data store, now isn't it?

The applications you can build with Access are not limited by
anything at all. They can be extremely complex and full-featured.

So, I see no justification at all for the claim that Access is for
"small applications," even if you're talking about Access with a Jet
back end.
. . . If runtime speed
is an issue then Access isn't the tool to use.
I don't see this. What is slow about Access? Nothing at all. The
working set is not going to be smaller than any other application
you use as a front end, nor is it going to be slower in operation.
Access is designed to make ad hoc queries easy to write, not
efficient to run. . . .
On the contrary, Access is designed to make ad hoc queries both easy
to write and efficient to run. Jet does an awfully good job
optimizing what it requests from a server back end. It doesn't
always guess correctly, of course.
. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .
Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a living.
. . . and a Linux
replacement should make it possible to build a simple application
like an address book without writing a single line of code.


You can't even do that decently in Access. You certainly can't do it
efficiently.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #13

P: n/a

"Bernard Peek" wrote
Larry was replying to a cross-posted
message, and there is no easy way
of telling which newsgroup he originally
posted to, or what it's policies are.


Interestingly, I've never seen a USENET newsgroup charter that included
netiquette to the depth of specifying top or interspersed posting. I have
also not seen any adopted RFDs prohibiting it, so I believe it to be a
matter of personal preference. (And, it's one on which good friends can
differ -- ask David Fention. <GRIN>)

BTW, if his munged email had been accurate, he'd have gotten a copy of my
response, but it was not... take out the Xs and you get "returned mail". But
I saw no compelling reason to cross-post my response to a self-appointed
authority on posting style.

Larry Linson
Nov 13 '05 #14

P: n/a
"David W. Fenton" wrote
Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool.
I program in it for a living.


As do I, and many others here.
. . . and a Linux replacement should
make it possible to build a simple application
like an address book without writing a
single line of code.


You can't even do that decently in Access.
You certainly can't do it efficiently.


On the other hand, a colleague in my user group wrote the food ordering,
tracking, and distribution application for a major metropolitan school
district's food service, that has been running and serving them well for
over 10 years, and it hasn't a single line of code in it that was not
generated by the Control Wizards! I was _very_ impressed!

(See, David, I didn't top post, even though I cautioned whats-is-name about
ordering someone not to do so! <GRIN>)

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
Nov 13 '05 #15

P: n/a
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com> wrote in
[Microsoft Access]. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .


Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a living.


Damn! I'm feeling *really* sorry for you :(

cheers, Bernd
Nov 13 '05 #16

P: n/a
"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
news:85******************@nwrddc03.gnilink.net:
"David W. Fenton" wrote
Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool.
I program in it for a living.
As do I, and many others here.


Most Linux users (and, apparently, a large number of Access users)
have no comprehension of this fact.
. . . and a Linux replacement should
make it possible to build a simple application
like an address book without writing a
single line of code.


You can't even do that decently in Access.
You certainly can't do it efficiently.


On the other hand, a colleague in my user group wrote the food
ordering, tracking, and distribution application for a major
metropolitan school district's food service, that has been running
and serving them well for over 10 years, and it hasn't a single
line of code in it that was not generated by the Control Wizards!
I was _very_ impressed!


Er, um, that's a pretty important exception that the original poster
did not include. I was assuming no control wizard code.
(See, David, I didn't top post, even though I cautioned
whats-is-name about ordering someone not to do so! <GRIN>)


Well, I dislike top posting, but only because so many people who do
it don't trim what is irrelevant to their replies.

Also, top posting makes little sense at all when you're replying
inline -- it only makes any sense at all when you're replying in a
single block at the top.

And, of course, I think top posting is most appropriate for email
correspondence, where it may be important to have the whole history
of the discussion in each email message. I can't see a use for it
all on Usenet, but as long as quotations are trimmed to the
essential, I won't complain.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #17

P: n/a
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
> [Microsoft Access]. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .

Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a
living.


Damn! I'm feeling *really* sorry for you :(


Why?

Because I can do anything I need to do with a tool that allows me to
do it in 1/3 or less the time it would take with any other tool?


I know Access is very mature and feature-rich and all of you who
program in it daily and create applications that are useful to some
have my deepest respect! I couldnt do this.

The reason is the total lack of a design. It is a lumped up
collection of components without clean interfaces and lots of
features taped all over it. Its based on Basic! The documentation
totally sucks. The user has to have Access installed. Its just
damn ugly. The only thing I would hate more than having to use
Access is having to maintain the source of it.

"Feature-rich" in this case would better be described as opaque
monolithic Monster-Bloatware.

cheers, Bernd
Nov 13 '05 #18

P: n/a
TheAd wrote:
At this moment I use MsAccess and i can build about every databound
application i want. Who knows about a serious open source alternative?
Because Windows will be a client platform for some time, i prefer a
solution that (also) supports Windows.
On the net I found a number of products that i looked at, but none of
them gave me the impression of a serious candidate at this moment
(KNoda, Gnome DB Manager, InterBase...).
2 additional questions:
1) OpenOffice + MySQL is suggested sometimes. Is OO fit for
developping 'serious database applications' (and not just thinks like
mail/merge)??
2) Is Php-gtk, the win taste of php, a serious platform for developing
windows apps? And if so, is there a good IDE that works in a visual
manner like Ms products like Access and Vb do ?


Search for

"DATABASES"
"ReKall"
"MySQL"
"Gambas" !

on http://www.futuredesktop.org (link jungle -;))
Consider also to use PYTHON language.
It's easy yet very powerful tool. (eg. with wxPython toolkit).

// moma
http://www.futuredesktop.org/how2burn.html
Follow the "mirror site" link...
Begin with eg. Mandrake if newbie.



Nov 13 '05 #19

P: n/a
th*****@hotmail.com (TheAd) wrote in message news:<c1**************************@posting.google. com>...
Thanks for all the replies. My personal conclusions are:
1) at the moment Access is (for me) the best allround tool for
developping forms/report oriented applications. It's forms development
capabilities are unmatched at this moment. Development goes much
faster then via any of the other applications I think (incl. Microsoft
products like Vb and the .Net products).
Finding good gui-products to manipulate a database or select/update db
data is no problem.
The only product that looks like a serious candidate at this moment is
Rekall. The concept looks okay but to me using Python as scripting
language is not attractive; yasl->yet another scripting language :(
2) Access is definitly fit for "big environments" when you use it
wisely. Especially when it is used as a frontend with a "real backend
database". But I made a realy complex application that can be used by
1500 users and it still uses a Jet backend db of about 80M now
(fortunatly only 20 or so users use it at the same time; 255 at the
same time would be a 'slight' problem).
3) I continue to hope for an OpenOffice component (nearly) as good as
Access. At that time it would be an even bigger MsOffice killer as it
already is (come on you OO developpers!). Until then I think I stick
to Access. The coming years with Windows (os-desktop or via terminal
server), and then possibly via a product like Crossover from Linux.
4) at this moment php-gtk look to me like a tool that's not yet fit
for production puposes but who knows one day it will grow big like
it's great webscripting brother?

Any further suggestions are always welcome of course !

gr Ad
Nov 13 '05 #20

P: n/a
Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user does not
have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist snobbery
notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive development tool. It is
particularly useful for non-professional programmers who simply need to
create an application to support their business and can't afford to hire a
resident snob to create a work of object art for them but it is also an
excellent tool for use by professional programmers with years and years of
experience.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP

Nov 13 '05 #21

P: n/a
**** Post for FREE via your newsreader at post.usenet.com ****

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened "Larry Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in <Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:
Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user does not
have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist snobbery
notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive development tool. It is
particularly useful for non-professional programmers who simply need to
create an application to support their business and can't afford to hire a
resident snob to create a work of object art for them but it is also an
excellent tool for use by professional programmers with years and years of
experience.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP

But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real PENGUIN.
JP

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Nov 13 '05 #22

P: n/a
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:ca************@news.t-online.com:
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > [Microsoft Access]. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .
>>
>> Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a
>> living.
>
> Damn! I'm feeling *really* sorry for you :(
Why?

Because I can do anything I need to do with a tool that allows me
to do it in 1/3 or less the time it would take with any other
tool?


I know Access is very mature and feature-rich and all of you who
program in it daily and create applications that are useful to
some have my deepest respect! I couldnt do this.

The reason is the total lack of a design. It is a lumped up
collection of components without clean interfaces and lots of
features taped all over it. . . .


???

Care to explain that? I see it as as very clearly organized
development tool.

Of course, I was programming desktop databases back in 1989 or so,
so part of my perspective is having lived through the evolution of
desktop database development tools.
. . . Its based on Basic! . . .
Visual Basic and classic BASIC have very little to do with each
other. I learned BASIC in college and what I learned there that was
specific to BASIC (as opposed to concepts like control structures,
data vs. logic, and so forth) was of absolutely no use when I
started programming in Access.
. . . The documentation
totally sucks. . . .
!!!!

I think the documentation is excellent. I learned to program
advanced applications in Access entirely without any training, using
the documentation that came with it (Access 2). I doubt that this is
because I'm substantially more brilliant than you.

I'd like to know what about the documentation you see as
problematic.
. . . The user has to have Access installed. . . .
Or the runtime. The latter costs the user nothing.
. . . Its just
damn ugly. . . .
It is? I don't think it's ugly, but then, I have a number of
techniques I use to make sure my apps don't come out looking ugly.
Some examples here:

http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc/examples/
http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc/examples/NKF
http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc/examples/SA
http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc/Splash/

I wouldn't say those are all perfect examples, but they do show that
with a little work you can get something very attractive that
doesn't look like most Access applications.

For that matter, I've noted that most custom-designed software is
butt-ugly, no matter who designs it. Very few small developers
understand how to put together an attractive UI.

Some of my principles:

1. fonts are never colored except when used for headings.

2. fonts should use standard Windows fonts most of the time. This
means MS Sans Serif or Tahoma or Arial for all labels and textboxes.

3. standard command buttons are just fine in most cases, but you can
use labels with invisible command bottons over them to get colored
buttons. This is a lot of work, though, and not necessarily worth
it, unless the colors get you more than just appearance. In the
example where I use colored buttons, they have the advantage of
corresponding to the colors of the forms they take you to.

4. use color in form headers to help identify context.

5. have a nice, professional-looking splash screen.

6. appearance should fade into the background for the user after the
app has been in use for a short time -- it should never draw
attention to itself. It should be regular and non-obtrusive. If it
looks like a Microsoft application, users will be comfortable with
it. If it looks like Windows 2000, users will be comfortable with
it.

I'm sure there are other principles I use, but those are the ones I
can think of.

I do agree that default Access forms are pretty ugly. I also agree
that a lot of apps I've seen where developers use all sorts of
colors and mixed fonts are uglier still.

That doesn't mean Access can't be used to produce attractive apps.
. . . The only thing I would hate more than having to use
Access is having to maintain the source of it.
This doesn't seem to me to be a problem. Can you explain why you see
it as a problem?
"Feature-rich" in this case would better be described as opaque
monolithic Monster-Bloatware.


Well, I don't see it as opaque at all. PHP, now *that's* opaque. But
if you're accustomed to it, it's not.

I don't think the learning curve in Access is any steeper than in
any other development platform. But I would say that people who
don't understand database design generally don't do well with it.
Understanding how to design a proper schema goes a long way to
getting a decent user interface.

Nonetheless, I'll take my "opaque monolithic Monster-Bloatware" over
any of the alternatives any day.

And I'll probably be able to finish the same project in 1/2 or less
the time it would take anyone working on any competing platform.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #23

P: n/a
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened "Larry
Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
<Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:
Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user
does not have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist
snobbery notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive
development tool. It is particularly useful for non-professional
programmers who simply need to create an application to support
their business and can't afford to hire a resident snob to create
a work of object art for them but it is also an excellent tool for
use by professional programmers with years and years of
experience.


But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
PENGUIN.


If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to get
rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should take
note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile and
well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people like
me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems, from
migrating clients away from Microsoft software.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #24

P: n/a
**** Post for FREE via your newsreader at post.usenet.com ****

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:11:16 GMT) it happened "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128.8 6>:
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened "Larry
Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
<Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:
Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user
does not have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist
snobbery notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive
development tool. It is particularly useful for non-professional
programmers who simply need to create an application to support
their business and can't afford to hire a resident snob to create
a work of object art for them but it is also an excellent tool for
use by professional programmers with years and years of
experience.


But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
PENGUIN.


If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to get
rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should take
note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile and
well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people like
me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems, from
migrating clients away from Microsoft software.

Nice rant, but beside the point.
For me it always has been: 'If it does not exists in Linux write it'.
How do you think Linux came about? By
someone from the MS regio handing a wish list?
If you are into Linux, and you want a clone of MS whatever access, then
you do NOT adddress 'the open source developers' YOU write it!
Comprendre amigo?
JP

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Nov 13 '05 #25

P: n/a
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:26:12 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:
**** Post for FREE via your newsreader at post.usenet.com ****

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:11:16 GMT) it happened "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128. 86>:
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened "Larry
Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
<Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:

Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user
does not have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist
snobbery notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive
development tool. It is particularly useful for non-professional
programmers who simply need to create an application to support
their business and can't afford to hire a resident snob to create
a work of object art for them but it is also an excellent tool for
use by professional programmers with years and years of
experience.

But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
PENGUIN.


If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to get
rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should take
note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile and
well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people like
me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems, from
migrating clients away from Microsoft software.

Nice rant, but beside the point.
For me it always has been: 'If it does not exists in Linux write it'.
How do you think Linux came about? By
someone from the MS regio handing a wish list?
If you are into Linux, and you want a clone of MS whatever access, then
you do NOT adddress 'the open source developers' YOU write it!
Comprendre amigo?
JP


It's not at all beside the point. In fact, David and myself were part of a
team that put a lot of effort into trying to start an open source project to
do the most important parts of what Access does for us. Our project fell
apart, but Mergant looks like it's very slowly trying to head in much the same
direction we were trying to go.

I think our failed mostly because we misunderstood the dynamics of an open
source development process in much the same way the open source development
community has so far misunderstood what's most useful about Access to Access
developers. The problem is bridging that gulf, and it won't just happen by
itself.
Nov 13 '05 #26

P: n/a
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On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:35:12 GMT) it happened Steve Jorgensen
<no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in <lf********************************@4ax.com>:
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:26:12 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:
**** Post for FREE via your newsreader at post.usenet.com ****

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:11:16 GMT) it happened "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128 .86>:
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened "Larry
Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
<Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:

>Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the user
>does not have to have Access installed. Pseudo-computer-scientist
>snobbery notwithstanding, it is a useful and productive
>development tool. It is particularly useful for non-professional
>programmers who simply need to create an application to support
>their business and can't afford to hire a resident snob to create
>a work of object art for them but it is also an excellent tool for
>use by professional programmers with years and years of
>experience.

But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
PENGUIN.

If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to get
rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should take
note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile and
well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people like
me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems, from
migrating clients away from Microsoft software.
Nice rant, but beside the point.
For me it always has been: 'If it does not exists in Linux write it'.
How do you think Linux came about? By
someone from the MS regio handing a wish list?
If you are into Linux, and you want a clone of MS whatever access, then
you do NOT adddress 'the open source developers' YOU write it!
Comprendre amigo?
JP


It's not at all beside the point. In fact, David and myself were part of a
team that put a lot of effort into trying to start an open source project to
do the most important parts of what Access does for us. Our project fell
apart, but Mergant looks like it's very slowly trying to head in much the same
direction we were trying to go.

I think our failed mostly because we misunderstood the dynamics of an open
source development process in much the same way the open source development
community has so far misunderstood what's most useful about Access to Access
developers. The problem is bridging that gulf, and it won't just happen by
itself.

OK.
that last thing is not so strange of cause, because for example me, I have been
with Linux from kernel 0.98 or so, maybe 11 years? and never used MS access.
(At least not knowingly).
Then the only way to get attention and momentum is to have something In Linux
to show from a start, maybe if CVS people wold join in, maybe not.
ingress, postgress are standard on any linux box..
I am not database expert, not at all, and most of teh soft I wrote I did only
because I needed it at one time or other.
Some has been picked up and used by others, splits, ports to windows...
Never expect anyone to write it for you...
Maybe if it really is that good stuff have an other go?
Regards
JP



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Nov 13 '05 #27

P: n/a
Steve Jorgensen <no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in
news:lf********************************@4ax.com:
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:26:12 GMT, Jan Panteltje
<pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote:

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:11:16 GMT) it happened "David
W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128 .86>:
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened
"Larry Linson"
<bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
<Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>:

>Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the
>user does not have to have Access installed.
>Pseudo-computer-scientist snobbery notwithstanding, it is a
>useful and productive development tool. It is particularly
>useful for non-professional programmers who simply need to
>create an application to support their business and can't
>afford to hire a resident snob to create a work of object art
>for them but it is also an excellent tool for use by
>professional programmers with years and years of experience.

But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
PENGUIN.

If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to
get rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should
take note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile
and well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people
like me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems,
from migrating clients away from Microsoft software.

Nice rant, but beside the point.
For me it always has been: 'If it does not exists in Linux write
it'. How do you think Linux came about? By
someone from the MS regio handing a wish list?
If you are into Linux, and you want a clone of MS whatever
access, then you do NOT adddress 'the open source developers' YOU
write it! Comprendre amigo?
JP


It's not at all beside the point. In fact, David and myself were
part of a team that put a lot of effort into trying to start an
open source project to do the most important parts of what Access
does for us. Our project fell apart, but Mergant looks like it's
very slowly trying to head in much the same direction we were
trying to go.

I think our failed mostly because we misunderstood the dynamics of
an open source development process in much the same way the open
source development community has so far misunderstood what's most
useful about Access to Access developers. The problem is bridging
that gulf, and it won't just happen by itself.


And it certainly won't happen with the kind of attitude that
badmouths good products for which there are no corresponding Open
Source alternatives.

And, of course, there's also the fact that Open Source <> Linux --
our project was designed to build an application that would run on
WINDOWS, and, hopefully, on Linux, as well.

It was a much bigger task than any of us imagined.

And that's probably why there isn't any Open Source product remotely
comparable to Access.

And, indeed, there really aren't even that many *closed source*
products that are comparable. Filemaker and Paradox are about as
close as they come. The former doesn't even come close in terms of
programmability, while the latter is moribund, mostly because it was
not end user-friendly enough and because it was on the wrong end of
the Microsoft marketing machine.

The attitude exhibited by our Linux friend completely turns off
those of us who are using Microsoft platforms but are sympathetic to
the goals of the Open Source movement.

And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #28

P: n/a
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 23:10:06 GMT) it happened "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128.9 0>:
Steve Jorgensen <no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in
news:lf********************************@4ax.com :
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:26:12 GMT, Jan Panteltje
<pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote:

On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 22:11:16 GMT) it happened "David
W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.12 8.86>:

Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40********@post.usenet.com:

> On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Jun 2004 17:38:46 GMT) it happened
> "Larry Linson"
><bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
><Gi******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net> :
>
>>Access can be distributed with runtime support, so, no, the
>>user does not have to have Access installed.
>>Pseudo-computer-scientist snobbery notwithstanding, it is a
>>useful and productive development tool. It is particularly
>>useful for non-professional programmers who simply need to
>>create an application to support their business and can't
>>afford to hire a resident snob to create a work of object art
>>for them but it is also an excellent tool for use by
>>professional programmers with years and years of experience.
>
> But it is made by MS, and thus of no value at all to the real
> PENGUIN.

If Linux is ever going to be a success, it's proponents need to
get rid of this kind of attitude.

It's not that you need to use MS products, but you can't dismiss
them just because they are made by MS. There really is no product
comparable to Access, and open source software promoters should
take note of that, and do their best to rectify that lack.

In my experience, though, most of them have not used Access in
enough depth to have any real comprehension of what a versatile
and well-designed product it happens to be.

This is sad, since it's one of the things that will keep people
like me, who are eager to diversify our software eco-systems,
from migrating clients away from Microsoft software.

Nice rant, but beside the point.
For me it always has been: 'If it does not exists in Linux write
it'. How do you think Linux came about? By
someone from the MS regio handing a wish list?
If you are into Linux, and you want a clone of MS whatever
access, then you do NOT adddress 'the open source developers' YOU
write it! Comprendre amigo?
JP


It's not at all beside the point. In fact, David and myself were
part of a team that put a lot of effort into trying to start an
open source project to do the most important parts of what Access
does for us. Our project fell apart, but Mergant looks like it's
very slowly trying to head in much the same direction we were
trying to go.

I think our failed mostly because we misunderstood the dynamics of
an open source development process in much the same way the open
source development community has so far misunderstood what's most
useful about Access to Access developers. The problem is bridging
that gulf, and it won't just happen by itself.


And it certainly won't happen with the kind of attitude that
badmouths good products for which there are no corresponding Open
Source alternatives.

And, of course, there's also the fact that Open Source <> Linux --
our project was designed to build an application that would run on
WINDOWS, and, hopefully, on Linux, as well.

It was a much bigger task than any of us imagined.

And that's probably why there isn't any Open Source product remotely
comparable to Access.

And, indeed, there really aren't even that many *closed source*
products that are comparable. Filemaker and Paradox are about as
close as they come. The former doesn't even come close in terms of
programmability, while the latter is moribund, mostly because it was
not end user-friendly enough and because it was on the wrong end of
the Microsoft marketing machine.

The attitude exhibited by our Linux friend completely turns off
those of us who are using Microsoft platforms but are sympathetic to
the goals of the Open Source movement.

And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?

No, wrong thinking, simply write the code (I am talking Linux).
If you do not need it (want to stay with that thing in MS win) then
do not write the code.
No code then only philosphy.
NEVER EVER blame anyone else for not doing it for you.
Nobody is getting payed, you have no rights.
JP
Nov 13 '05 #29

P: n/a
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 23:33:53 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:

....
And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?
No, wrong thinking, simply write the code (I am talking Linux).
If you do not need it (want to stay with that thing in MS win) then
do not write the code.
No code then only philosphy.
NEVER EVER blame anyone else for not doing it for you.
Nobody is getting payed, you have no rights.
JP


Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact that
Open Sourece advocates are trying to convince us to convert to Open Source
platforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don't
to all the things we find critical in our daily work, then, perhaps, we even
try to fix the problem, but we're confronted with attitude because we think
our old closed source apps are better, and why would we want to copy them.
Furthermore, even though we might want to write it ourselves, perhaps, we just
don't know the open source tools well enough to sit down and do it, and
there's a big learning curve.

let's take Python. OK, the best graphical toolkit out for Pythin, and one
that works on both Windows and Linux is wxWindows. Great, now let's design
the GUI. We try to use BOA Constructor, and we find otu it's junk - no one
uses that, and no one has fixed it so it's not junk. That means, I already
don't have a language with a GUI designer, and I have to hard code all my GUI,
and run the code to check how it looks. Is that worth it? For many apps, it
sure is just because Python is a very beautiful language, and I can write much
clearer, more maintainable code in it than I can in VBA, but if the GUI is
extensive, I'll just be getting started in Python when I could have had it
finished in Access.

Now, on the other side, one of my clients is a company that has a database
group that has chosen to work in Python, but the development team is run by
someone who is a microsoft evangelist, and averything is written in Excel VBA
(mostly really ugly, hard to maintain Excel VBA because it's damn hard to
write it any other way). The other day, a new programmer used Python to parse
text out of a file to get it into Excel because it was installed on the
machine, and he could get the job done way faster there than in VBA, and the
team lead threw a living fit because someone under him had used a non-approved
language without prior approval.

So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To a
great extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have been
using closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.
Nov 13 '05 #30

P: n/a
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On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 00:09:50 GMT) it happened Steve Jorgensen
<no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in <lk********************************@4ax.com>:
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 23:33:53 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:

...
And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?

No, wrong thinking, simply write the code (I am talking Linux).
If you do not need it (want to stay with that thing in MS win) then
do not write the code.
No code then only philosphy.
NEVER EVER blame anyone else for not doing it for you.
Nobody is getting payed, you have no rights.
JP


Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact that
Open Sourece advocates are trying to convince us to convert to Open Source
platforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don't
to all the things we find critical in our daily work, then, perhaps, we even
try to fix the problem, but we're confronted with attitude because we think
our old closed source apps are better, and why would we want to copy them.
Furthermore, even though we might want to write it ourselves, perhaps, we just
don't know the open source tools well enough to sit down and do it, and
there's a big learning curve.

let's take Python. OK, the best graphical toolkit out for Pythin, and one
that works on both Windows and Linux is wxWindows. Great, now let's design
the GUI. We try to use BOA Constructor, and we find otu it's junk - no one
uses that, and no one has fixed it so it's not junk. That means, I already
don't have a language with a GUI designer, and I have to hard code all my GUI,
and run the code to check how it looks. Is that worth it? For many apps, it
sure is just because Python is a very beautiful language, and I can write much
clearer, more maintainable code in it than I can in VBA, but if the GUI is
extensive, I'll just be getting started in Python when I could have had it
finished in Access.

Now, on the other side, one of my clients is a company that has a database
group that has chosen to work in Python, but the development team is run by
someone who is a microsoft evangelist, and averything is written in Excel VBA
(mostly really ugly, hard to maintain Excel VBA because it's damn hard to
write it any other way). The other day, a new programmer used Python to parse
text out of a file to get it into Excel because it was installed on the
machine, and he could get the job done way faster there than in VBA, and the
team lead threw a living fit because someone under him had used a non-approved
language without prior approval.

So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To a
great extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have been
using closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.

OK, I have only my own small area of expertise, and I see your problems.
In the view of 'now we go Linux' or something like that, fine, I never
was an avocate of that.
When I got my hands on Linux IIRC it was a 2 dollar CD with SLS
Linux 0.98 (or .95?) on it, and all I had was a old book on Unix.
So, reading the book and loading a lot of floppies (made from the CD)
and I had a command line....
X(windows) followed, and I had a C compiler.
The rest was just fun, think of something, write it.
No real websearches in that time..
Now Linux has grown, because of contribution of pieces of code by so many people
doing it for fun...
In the business model of things, a different world! If big business wants to
'use' Linux (like IBM is at it a lot) then it is also up to them to write that
code.
Many people mention Python, Python this, Phyton that.
I cannot read a line of it, and feel no need to learn.
I program in C, not even C++ (but I could).
And the perfect GUI with GUI designer, VERY suited for query forms is
xforms (it is open source these days).
http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/xforms
You make a form, with the fdesign program, put your input fields, and it will
generate the C code too if need be, complete with callbacks, that you can fill
in with whatever you like.
For example this newsreader (NewsFleX) I wrote is 100% xforms.
It has some nice presentations too, graphs, maybe not enough for you, but you
could make your own.
So, then to write a coupling to say postgres should not be all that difficult
I think.
As for on the web, I dunno, recently upgraded to PHP 5, but have not used it
yet...
This does all not directly address database design of cause, but I know little about that.
My idea is however that programming in C is perhaps better then phyton,
but somebody will 4 sure disagree.
GUI is simple with xforms, it can run in windows too I have heard with the
help of some program, not sure.
JP
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Nov 13 '05 #31

P: n/a
Ack - what an emarrassing mess of typos and grammar errors. Sorry about that.
A re-stated verion of the text follows the quote of the original.

On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 00:09:50 GMT, Steve Jorgensen <no****@nospam.nospam>
wrote:

....
Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact that
Open Sourece advocates are trying to convince us to convert to Open Source
platforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don't
to all the things we find critical in our daily work, then, perhaps, we even
try to fix the problem, but we're confronted with attitude because we think
our old closed source apps are better, and why would we want to copy them.
Furthermore, even though we might want to write it ourselves, perhaps, we just
don't know the open source tools well enough to sit down and do it, and
there's a big learning curve.

let's take Python. OK, the best graphical toolkit out for Pythin, and one
that works on both Windows and Linux is wxWindows. Great, now let's design
the GUI. We try to use BOA Constructor, and we find otu it's junk - no one
uses that, and no one has fixed it so it's not junk. That means, I already
don't have a language with a GUI designer, and I have to hard code all my GUI,
and run the code to check how it looks. Is that worth it? For many apps, it
sure is just because Python is a very beautiful language, and I can write much
clearer, more maintainable code in it than I can in VBA, but if the GUI is
extensive, I'll just be getting started in Python when I could have had it
finished in Access.

Now, on the other side, one of my clients is a company that has a database
group that has chosen to work in Python, but the development team is run by
someone who is a microsoft evangelist, and averything is written in Excel VBA
(mostly really ugly, hard to maintain Excel VBA because it's damn hard to
write it any other way). The other day, a new programmer used Python to parse
text out of a file to get it into Excel because it was installed on the
machine, and he could get the job done way faster there than in VBA, and the
team lead threw a living fit because someone under him had used a non-approved
language without prior approval.

So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To a
great extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have been
using closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.


Hopefully legible rewrite follows...

Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact that
Open Sourece advocates keep trying to convince us to convert to Open Source
platforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don't
do all the things our closed source programs do that we find critical in our
daily work. Then, perhaps, we even try to fix the problem, but we're
confronted with attitude because why would we want -that- feature when the
open source program is clearly superior already. Furthermore, even though we
might want to one ourselves, perhaps, we just don't know the open source tools
well enough to sit down and do it, and there's a big learning curve.

Let's take Python. OK, the best graphical toolkit out for Python, and one
that works on both Windows and Linux is wxWindows. Great, now let's design
the GUI. We try to use BOA Constructor, and we find out it's junk - no one
uses that, and no one has fixed it so it's not junk, so we can use it. That
means, I already don't have a language with a GUI designer, and I have to hard
code all my GUI, and run the code to check how it looks. Is that worth it?
For many apps, it sure is just because Python is a very beautiful language,
and I can write much clearer, more maintainable code in it than I can in VBA,
but if the GUI is extensive, I'll just be getting started in Python when I
could have had it finished in Access.

Now, on the other side, one of my clients is a company that has a database
group that has chosen to work in Python, but the development team is run by
someone who is a microsoft evangelist, and everything his team does is written
in Excel VBA (mostly really ugly, hard to maintain Excel VBA because it's damn
hard to write it any other way). The other day, a new programmer used Python
to parse text out of a file to get it into Excel because it was installed on
the machine, and he could get the job done way faster there than in VBA, and
the team lead threw a living fit because someone under him had used a
non-approved language without prior approval.

So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To a
great extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have been
using closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.

Nov 13 '05 #32

P: n/a
"Jan Panteltje" <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote...
On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 00:09:50 GMT) it happened Steve Jorgensen

wrote:
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 23:33:53 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote:
And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?

This is kind of a misreading of most of the thread. I have absolutely
nothing against open source. The specific issue about which I expressed
discomfort in terms of platform supportability was attempting to use Access
but have the backend on a Linux server. I pointed out the specific reasons I
believe this to be the case, and they are all actually very pragmatic (and
incidentally are identical to how I have always felt about this issue, since
1993 when I first started in Access).
Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact thatOpen Sourece advocates are trying to convince us to convert to Open Sourceplatforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don'tto all the things we find critical in our daily work, then, perhaps, we eventry to fix the problem, but we're confronted with attitude because we thinkour old closed source apps are better, and why would we want to copy them.Furthermore, even though we might want to write it ourselves, perhaps, we justdon't know the open source tools well enough to sit down and do it, and
there's a big learning curve.
This is not entirely it.... mainly its that the sort of people who *write*
Access are not the same people who would need to *use* Access in their daily
work. And the vast majority of people who use operating systems are not the
same people who would feel comfortable recompiling the kernel. Now I work on
the Windows team, so I do recompile Windows on a regular basis. But that is
not a typical situation. If I were not on the team I am, then I would
probably not be doing that (and one day I will leave and I obviously cannot
walk away with the source <grin>).

Productivity for most developer types means having tools that let them do
the job they want to do. Now if one can find open source tools that fill
that need then that is fine (and I honestly do not give a fig if MS dislikes
me saying that). I just work hard where I am to help make sure that the
products I am a part of delivering are compelling in and of themselves.Since
I focus on internationalization and globalization, my features are "stealth"
for 99% of all users since the system "just works" for their language and it
never occurs to them, but if they try to run another OS and those features
are missing then they will remember where it worked. :-)
So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To agreat extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have beenusing closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.


FWIW, Microsoft has been releasing stuff on SourceForge (such as WiX,
http://sourceforge.net/projects/wix/). Obviously its a bit odd for some at
MS who have been so used to being "closed" but others never really had the
public contact that had it make any difference to their daily work. I tend
to try to shy away from folks who attack me, but other than that I do not
mind if people get mad at me (after all, if they are mad at me then thats
their problem, not mine!).

But no one has actually explained how the specific case that the other
thread was about (Access frontend with a Linux server hosting the Jet
backend) counts as being "pragmatic" -- and as far as I can tell, it does
not.

I am not being a zealot when I point out that this is not really such a
great idea, for all of the reasons I gave previously. Note that I feel the
same way about Novell in this case, for slightly different reasons (since
the known testing has actually pointed out some architectural
incompatibilities). Pragmatism has guided my opinions here.
--
MichKa [MS]
NLS Collation/Locale/Keyboard Development
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies

This posting is provided "AS IS" with
no warranties, and confers no rights.
Nov 13 '05 #33

P: n/a
On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 00:42:24 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:
**** Post for FREE via your newsreader at post.usenet.com ****

On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 00:09:50 GMT) it happened Steve Jorgensen
<no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in <lk********************************@4ax.com>:
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 23:33:53 GMT, Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com>
wrote:

...
And, of course, we catch heat from Microsoft proponents for wanting
to give Open Source a fair shake (see the discussion launched by the
following post if you don't believe me:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...ntonbwaynetinv
ali%4024.168.128.86).

Why is everyone so dogmatic?

Where's pragmatism when you need it?
No, wrong thinking, simply write the code (I am talking Linux).
If you do not need it (want to stay with that thing in MS win) then
do not write the code.
No code then only philosphy.
NEVER EVER blame anyone else for not doing it for you.
Nobody is getting payed, you have no rights.
JP


[following quote replaced with legible rewrite of my original]
Well, that's a nice philosophy, but what we're responding to is the fact that
Open Sourece advocates keep trying to convince us to convert to Open Source
platforms and applications that we can't figure out how to make work and don't
do all the things our closed source programs do that we find critical in our
daily work. Then, perhaps, we even try to fix the problem, but we're
confronted with attitude because why would we want -that- feature when the
open source program is clearly superior already. Furthermore, even though we
might want to one ourselves, perhaps, we just don't know the open source tools
well enough to sit down and do it, and there's a big learning curve.

Let's take Python. OK, the best graphical toolkit out for Python, and one
that works on both Windows and Linux is wxWindows. Great, now let's design
the GUI. We try to use BOA Constructor, and we find out it's junk - no one
uses that, and no one has fixed it so it's not junk, so we can use it. That
means, I already don't have a language with a GUI designer, and I have to hard
code all my GUI, and run the code to check how it looks. Is that worth it?
For many apps, it sure is just because Python is a very beautiful language,
and I can write much clearer, more maintainable code in it than I can in VBA,
but if the GUI is extensive, I'll just be getting started in Python when I
could have had it finished in Access.

Now, on the other side, one of my clients is a company that has a database
group that has chosen to work in Python, but the development team is run by
someone who is a microsoft evangelist, and everything his team does is written
in Excel VBA (mostly really ugly, hard to maintain Excel VBA because it's damn
hard to write it any other way). The other day, a new programmer used Python
to parse text out of a file to get it into Excel because it was installed on
the machine, and he could get the job done way faster there than in VBA, and
the team lead threw a living fit because someone under him had used a
non-approved language without prior approval.

So, when David asks where is the pragmatism, I ask the same question. To a
great extent, the gulf between the communities is really hurting both
communities, and it definitely interferes with efforst by folks who have been
using closed source software to make the migration to open source, or a
pragmatic mix of both.
OK, I have only my own small area of expertise, and I see your problems.
In the view of 'now we go Linux' or something like that, fine, I never
was an avocate of that.
When I got my hands on Linux IIRC it was a 2 dollar CD with SLS
Linux 0.98 (or .95?) on it, and all I had was a old book on Unix.
So, reading the book and loading a lot of floppies (made from the CD)
and I had a command line....
X(windows) followed, and I had a C compiler.
The rest was just fun, think of something, write it.
No real websearches in that time..
Now Linux has grown, because of contribution of pieces of code by so many people
doing it for fun...
In the business model of things, a different world! If big business wants to
'use' Linux (like IBM is at it a lot) then it is also up to them to write that
code.
Many people mention Python, Python this, Phyton that.
I cannot read a line of it, and feel no need to learn.
I program in C, not even C++ (but I could).
And the perfect GUI with GUI designer, VERY suited for query forms is
xforms (it is open source these days).
http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/xforms
You make a form, with the fdesign program, put your input fields, and it will
generate the C code too if need be, complete with callbacks, that you can fill
in with whatever you like.
Well, I've written enough C/C++ in my time to know that to the extent it was
ever a good tool for writing business apps, it isn't now. Why use a language
that only the best of experts can easily use without risking pointer errors
that corrupt memory? Sure, other languages are much slower, but computers are
fast. So, if that GUI designer can be easily used with other languages such
as Python (hopefully without a C Compile/Link step), great, but then why is no
one advocating that in the Python books?
For example this newsreader (NewsFleX) I wrote is 100% xforms.
It has some nice presentations too, graphs, maybe not enough for you, but you
could make your own.
So, then to write a coupling to say postgres should not be all that difficult
I think.
As for on the web, I dunno, recently upgraded to PHP 5, but have not used it
yet...
This does all not directly address database design of cause, but I know little about that.
My idea is however that programming in C is perhaps better then phyton,
but somebody will 4 sure disagree.
GUI is simple with xforms, it can run in windows too I have heard with the
help of some program, not sure.


That's another thing. I've played around a fair amount with Cygwin, and it
ends up adding a lot of maintenance overhead to anything you try to use it
for. When all of our clients have Windows on every desktop, it is way better
to use tools that are designed to be able to work seemlessly on Windows. In
that respect, the wxWindows API is great - a decent GUI designer for is would
be a huge help, though.
Nov 13 '05 #34

P: n/a
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > [Microsoft Access]. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .
>>
>> Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a
>> living.
>
> Damn! I'm feeling *really* sorry for you :(

Why?

Because I can do anything I need to do with a tool that allows me
to do it in 1/3 or less the time it would take with any other
tool?
I know Access is very mature and feature-rich and all of you who
program in it daily and create applications that are useful to
some have my deepest respect! I couldnt do this.

The reason is the total lack of a design. It is a lumped up
collection of components without clean interfaces and lots of
features taped all over it. . . .


???

Care to explain that? I see it as as very clearly organized
development tool.

Of course, I was programming desktop databases back in 1989 or so,
so part of my perspective is having lived through the evolution of
desktop database development tools.


And thats the point. You have a thorough understanding of its
capabilities and know what it can do and how. For a new user
with prior experience in other better designed systems it appears
completely nonsensical.
. . . Its based on Basic! . . .


Visual Basic and classic BASIC have very little to do with each
other. I learned BASIC in college and what I learned there that was
specific to BASIC (as opposed to concepts like control structures,
data vs. logic, and so forth) was of absolutely no use when I
started programming in Access.


I know. Should have written "Visual Basic". Either totally sucks.
Of course this (as well this hole thread) is based on personal
preferences, but rather many people seem to agree with me on this
point ;)
. . . The documentation
totally sucks. . . .


!!!!

I think the documentation is excellent. I learned to program
advanced applications in Access entirely without any training, using
the documentation that came with it (Access 2). I doubt that this is
because I'm substantially more brilliant than you.


Dont know what version number the current Access "XP" (or "2003"?
".Net"?) correstponds to, but version 2 propably was way simpler.
Learning all the additional stuff it has acquired over the years
in small chunks _should_'ve been easier than learning it from the
ground up now. But its also possible that you are substantially more
brilliant than me :)
I'd like to know what about the documentation you see as
problematic.
It reflects the (IMO) bad design and opaqueness.
. . . The user has to have Access installed. . . .


Or the runtime. The latter costs the user nothing.


I stand corrected.
. . . Its just
damn ugly. . . .


It is? I don't think it's ugly, but then, I have a number of
techniques I use to make sure my apps don't come out looking ugly.
[...]


Sorry, I was ambiguous. I meant from the programming perspective :)
Nonetheless, I'll take my "opaque monolithic Monster-Bloatware" over
any of the alternatives any day.

And I'll probably be able to finish the same project in 1/2 or less
the time it would take anyone working on any competing platform.


May very well be. I would never in my life touch Access again.

cheers, Bernd
Nov 13 '05 #35

P: n/a
In message <Xn**********************************@24.168.128.9 0>, David
W. Fenton <dX********@bway.net.invalid> writes

And it certainly won't happen with the kind of attitude that
badmouths good products for which there are no corresponding Open
Source alternatives.

And, of course, there's also the fact that Open Source <> Linux --
our project was designed to build an application that would run on
WINDOWS, and, hopefully, on Linux, as well.

It was a much bigger task than any of us imagined.
That may be part of the problem. As I've said, the UNIX way is to build
small tools to do one job well rather than a single monolithic
application to do everything. When I've asked about open-source
equivalents to Access in the past I've had similar responses to the ones
I've seen here, people pointing me towards programs that do part of the
job.

I could do data-entry through a web-page, although it would probably
require more coding than I really want to do.

I could store the data in MySQL or PostgreSQL on a local server.

I could maintain the database using GUI tools that already exist.

The part that still seems to be missing is the report-generator, perhaps
an open-source equivalent to Crystal Reports. The report generator in
Access is pretty much a clone of that.

And that's probably why there isn't any Open Source product remotely
comparable to Access.
Rekall seems to be very close, there's also Knoda which is aiming to
clone all of the Access functionality.

And, indeed, there really aren't even that many *closed source*
products that are comparable. Filemaker and Paradox are about as
close as they come. The former doesn't even come close in terms of
programmability, while the latter is moribund, mostly because it was
not end user-friendly enough and because it was on the wrong end of
the Microsoft marketing machine.

The attitude exhibited by our Linux friend completely turns off
those of us who are using Microsoft platforms but are sympathetic to
the goals of the Open Source movement.


Bear in mind that there are loudmouthed Windows trolls posting in Linux
groups too.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author. Will work for money.

Nov 13 '05 #36

P: n/a
TheAd wrote:
th*****@hotmail.com (TheAd) wrote in message news:<c1**************************@posting.google. com>...
Thanks for all the replies. My personal conclusions are:
1) at the moment Access is (for me) the best allround tool for
developping forms/report oriented applications. It's forms development
capabilities are unmatched at this moment. Development goes much
faster then via any of the other applications I think (incl. Microsoft
products like Vb and the .Net products).
Finding good gui-products to manipulate a database or select/update db
data is no problem.
The only product that looks like a serious candidate at this moment is
Rekall. The concept looks okay but to me using Python as scripting
language is not attractive; yasl->yet another scripting language :(
2) Access is definitly fit for "big environments" when you use it
wisely. Especially when it is used as a frontend with a "real backend
database". But I made a realy complex application that can be used by
1500 users and it still uses a Jet backend db of about 80M now
(fortunatly only 20 or so users use it at the same time; 255 at the
same time would be a 'slight' problem).
3) I continue to hope for an OpenOffice component (nearly) as good as
Access. At that time it would be an even bigger MsOffice killer as it
already is (come on you OO developpers!). Until then I think I stick
to Access. The coming years with Windows (os-desktop or via terminal
server), and then possibly via a product like Crossover from Linux.
4) at this moment php-gtk look to me like a tool that's not yet fit
for production puposes but who knows one day it will grow big like
it's great webscripting brother?

Any further suggestions are always welcome of course !

5. FileMaker perhaps ? There is a trial download for linux atleast !
Nov 13 '05 #37

P: n/a
"Bernard Peek" <ba*@shrdlu.com> wrote...
The part that still seems to be missing is the report-generator, perhaps
an open-source equivalent to Crystal Reports. The report generator in
Access is pretty much a clone of that.
Actually, very untrue. The Access Report architecture was independently
developed and Crystal never really did catch up with its capabilities. To
date (in fact), nothing has (as far as I have seen or have heard), which has
catually led many a VB user to curse that they had to have Access around for
their reporting needs....
Bear in mind that there are loudmouthed Windows trolls posting in Linux
groups too.


I never understood that, in either direction. There are specific mixes of
the two that are problematic, but otherwise one should really choose the
development platform with which one is most comfortable. If one doesn't, the
I think we can all agree that crap (even if its brilliant crap) is equally
possible on both.
--
MichKa [MS]
NLS Collation/Locale/Keyboard Development
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies

This posting is provided "AS IS" with
no warranties, and confers no rights.
Nov 13 '05 #38

P: n/a

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Kc******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...
paii, Ron wrote:
I don't see anything in AquaFold that supports an end user interface and
reports. I looks like it is only a GUI interface to the SQL server.

"Larry I Smith" <la***********@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ux*******************@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...

Please don't 'top post'


I normally read though a thread to get the context. It is much faster if I
don't have to scroll though all the context to get to the new message.

<snip>

The original OP asked about GUI development tools.

In a large production database system it is
almost never a good idea to allow individual
end-users to do ad-hoc queries. One 'select *'
with join's and a sort against a DB with millions
of records could bring the entire system to a crawl
for all of the other concurrent users and applications
(unless the ad-hoc queries are done against a backup
of the production DB instead of the production DB itself
but, then you have to worry about network bandwidth).

I NEVER allow the end user to run Access outside of my application. Even to
the point of hiding Access short cuts.
I'm not very familiar with Access, but we use Web forms
and Java GUI apps to allow our corporate users acces
to predefined reports against our corporate Oracle DB's.

How many utilities or application do you need to tie the Web forms and Java
GUI apps to the Reports and to the Back-end database. With Access I can do
it all in one developmental application. I don't need to code everything
that happens when a button is pushed.

Access is far from perfect and is a resource hog, but I can develop GUI
applications much quicker than on other system.
Regards,
Larry

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Nov 13 '05 #39

P: n/a
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:ca*************@news.t-online.com:
David W. Fenton wrote:
Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
> David W. Fenton wrote:
>> Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >> > [Microsoft Access]. . . It's not a programmers tool . . .
>> >>
>> >> Er, yes, it *is* a programmer's tool. I program in it for a
>> >> living.
>> >
>> > Damn! I'm feeling *really* sorry for you :(
>>
>> Why?
>>
>> Because I can do anything I need to do with a tool that allows
>> me to do it in 1/3 or less the time it would take with any
>> other tool?
>
> I know Access is very mature and feature-rich and all of you
> who program in it daily and create applications that are useful
> to some have my deepest respect! I couldnt do this.
>
> The reason is the total lack of a design. It is a lumped up
> collection of components without clean interfaces and lots of
> features taped all over it. . . .
???

Care to explain that? I see it as as very clearly organized
development tool.

Of course, I was programming desktop databases back in 1989 or
so, so part of my perspective is having lived through the
evolution of desktop database development tools.


And thats the point. You have a thorough understanding of its
capabilities and know what it can do and how. . . .


Funny how the usual Windows/Linux positions are reversed in this
discussion. ;)
. . . For a new user
with prior experience in other better designed systems it appears
completely nonsensical.
Please name some better-designed systems that are the same kinds of
tools:

1. include a native, easy-to-use database engine, no extra
installation required.

2. include a flexible forms designer with a rich event model.

3. include a graphical query designer that allows you to write SQL
pretty easily without actually needing to know SQL.

4. include the best report designer, bar none, ever written.

5. include a scripting language to pull everything together.

6. include wizards to allow non-experts access to many of these
features without needing to fully understand them.

7. can be used as a fronte end to any back-end database engine that
provides an ODBC or ADO driver.

8. integrate with any other programs that offer the appropriate
interfaces.

9. easily support multiple users.

I've already offered Filemaker as an example of this, and it
definitely serves the needs of end users quite well. But as an
application platform, it's weak scripting language (apparently
expanded in the latest version) keeps it from being comparable. It
has also been relatively weak on connectivity to data sources.
> . . . Its based on Basic! . . .


Visual Basic and classic BASIC have very little to do with each
other. I learned BASIC in college and what I learned there that
was specific to BASIC (as opposed to concepts like control
structures, data vs. logic, and so forth) was of absolutely no
use when I started programming in Access.


I know. Should have written "Visual Basic". Either totally sucks.
Of course this (as well this hole thread) is based on personal
preferences, but rather many people seem to agree with me on this
point ;)


Visual Basic is bad-mouthed because anybody can write it.

I have yet to see anyone provide any technical reasons why VB is
subpar in any area (including performance, BTW).
> . . . The documentation
> totally sucks. . . .


!!!!

I think the documentation is excellent. I learned to program
advanced applications in Access entirely without any training,
using the documentation that came with it (Access 2). I doubt
that this is because I'm substantially more brilliant than you.


Dont know what version number the current Access "XP" (or "2003"?
".Net"?) correstponds to, but version 2 propably was way simpler.


Not really. The sequence of versions is: Access 1, 1.1, 2.0, 2.0+Jet
2.5 SP*, 95, 97*, 2K, 2K2*, 2K3*

The ones with an asterisk are mostly bug fixes for the previous
version. The ones with big changes are without an asterisk. I didn't
use Access until version 2 (in 1996). When Office95 was introduced,
Microsoft did something really big and incredibly important: they
integrated VBA into all their applications. Access95 came out a
little later than the rest of the suite (since it was more
complicated and had to be converted from Access Basic to Visual
Basic), and Office95 was pretty unstable, and quickly followed by
97, which got it all just about right.

The change from Access Basic to Visual Basic was pretty simple, and
almost all Access 2 code converted without a problem (the only
exception being any calls 16-bit external libraries). Here's an
example of Access Basic vs. the VBA version of the same thing:

ACCESS BASIC
DoCmd OpenForm "Main Form"

VBA
DoCmd.OpenForm "Main Form"

Pretty hard to adapt, eh?

And all the changes were like that. I can't think of a single piece
of converted code that was confusing to someone already accustomed
to using Access Basic.

I have one application still out there and in use that is in Access
2.0, and that's because the application uses two 16-bit external MS
OCX's that I'd have to completely replace with the new 32-bit
controls provided with Access (a multiselect listbox control and a
tab strip). The client doesn't want to pay for it, so there's no
problem. I've installed Access 2 for her on her Win3.x PC, then on
her Win95 PC, then on her NT 4 PC, then on her Win2K PC and last on
her WinXP laptop. Access 2 has worked without a hitch on every
single version of Windows. The 16-bit OCX's have installed and
worked just fine on every single version of Windows.

So, no learning curve between the versions (though the programmer's
UI has been vastly improved since Access 2). And completely
compatibility of the old version with new versions of Windows.
Learning all the additional stuff it has acquired over the years
in small chunks _should_'ve been easier than learning it from the
ground up now. But its also possible that you are substantially
more brilliant than me :)


I'm not particularly brilliant, not particularly stupid.

But there is very little added to Access that I've learned over the
years. In fact, most of what I've learned has been things that were
present in Access from the beginning. When I first started the
conversion from Access 2 to 97, I did most of my work with forms and
reports and used the wizards to build code (though I coded a lot
myself). I also wrote lots of queries, bazillions of them, and
programmed individual near-identical forms for near-identical uses.

My learning has taught me, instead:

1. how to use DAO to do a lot of the things I was using saved
queries for before.

2. how to use more advanced SQL, like subselects, to do things I
could only do before with multple saved QueryDefs.

3. how to depend less on the wizards for generating code.

4. how to program forms so that they are usable in multiple
contexts, not just one.

5. how to write efficient, re-usable code, including an increasing
dependence on class modules.

Access 2 didn't have standalone class modules, so that's one thing
that didn't exist in Access 2. But I wouldn't have been able to use
it then if it had, since I didn't understand the concept behind
them. It wasn't until A2K was already out that I started using my
own home-grown standalone class modules frequently.

So, I think your guess is mostly wrong -- hardly any of the new
things I've started using since migrating from Access 2 have been
new features, as opposed to features that have been there all along
that I just eventually learned to use.
I'd like to know what about the documentation you see as
problematic.


It reflects the (IMO) bad design and opaqueness.


I don't see that, either, so you're just blowing hot air, so far as
I can see. If you can't provide specific examples to support your
assertions, then I feel safe disregarding them.
> . . . The user has to have Access installed. . . .


Or the runtime. The latter costs the user nothing.


I stand corrected.
> . . . Its just
> damn ugly. . . .


It is? I don't think it's ugly, but then, I have a number of
techniques I use to make sure my apps don't come out looking
ugly. [...]


Sorry, I was ambiguous. I meant from the programming perspective
:)


How so? Give specifics, or the charge is basically just name
calling.
Nonetheless, I'll take my "opaque monolithic Monster-Bloatware"
over any of the alternatives any day.

And I'll probably be able to finish the same project in 1/2 or
less the time it would take anyone working on any competing
platform.


May very well be. I would never in my life touch Access again.


Your choice, but that choice mostly seems to based on your own
ignorance of how to use the tool more than it is on any actual
deficiencies in Access, which you seem able to identify in general,
but not in the specific.

That kind of criticism is of no use to anyone at all.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #40

P: n/a
"paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote in
news:10*************@corp.supernews.com:
Access is far from perfect and is a resource hog


How, exactly, does Access hog resources?

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #41

P: n/a
On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 14:01:47 +0200, Bernd Bollman <be***@hotmail.com> wrote:

....
> . . . Its based on Basic! . . .


Visual Basic and classic BASIC have very little to do with each
other. I learned BASIC in college and what I learned there that was
specific to BASIC (as opposed to concepts like control structures,
data vs. logic, and so forth) was of absolutely no use when I
started programming in Access.


I know. Should have written "Visual Basic". Either totally sucks.
Of course this (as well this hole thread) is based on personal
preferences, but rather many people seem to agree with me on this
point ;)


Well, now that I'm learning more about OOP and refactoring, I swear at VB/VBA
daily and how it gets in the way of me trying to do those things the way I
want to, but there's nothing worse about VBA than there is about Pascal that I
can see. It has its strenghts and weaknesses just like any other language.
You'll never get me to buy the assessment of "Totally Sucks" for VBA even
though I'll be jumping ship at the next decent opportunity.
> . . . The documentation
> totally sucks. . . .


!!!!

I think the documentation is excellent. I learned to program
advanced applications in Access entirely without any training, using
the documentation that came with it (Access 2). I doubt that this is
because I'm substantially more brilliant than you.


Dont know what version number the current Access "XP" (or "2003"?
".Net"?) correstponds to, but version 2 propably was way simpler.
Learning all the additional stuff it has acquired over the years
in small chunks _should_'ve been easier than learning it from the
ground up now. But its also possible that you are substantially more
brilliant than me :)
I'd like to know what about the documentation you see as
problematic.


It reflects the (IMO) bad design and opaqueness.


Compared to SAMBA printing ?! My biggest complaint about most Open Source
software is how much work it takes to find out the most basic things about how
to use it. I can't even follow the man file for ln because I keep messing up
the definitions of (source) and (target). So I usually have to try twice to
make a symbolic link.

Actually, I agree with David that the Access help is pretty good, though it
was excelent in Access 97 and has gone downhill since then in a big way.

Nov 13 '05 #42

P: n/a
On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 15:50:37 GMT, "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote:
"paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote in
news:10*************@corp.supernews.com:
Access is far from perfect and is a resource hog


How, exactly, does Access hog resources?


Not nearly as badly as Excel 2000 <g>. And by the way, GNOME and KDE also hog
resources. The first time I tried to run a Gnome system with a mere 128 MB, I
was sadly disappointed.
Nov 13 '05 #43

P: n/a
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On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 16:19:57 GMT) it happened Steve Jorgensen
<no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in <4q********************************@4ax.com>:

I can't even follow the man file for ln because I keep messing up
the definitions of (source) and (target). So I usually have to try twice to
make a symbolic link.

The EXISTING file comes FIRST.

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Nov 13 '05 #44

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"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xn**********************************@24.168.1 28.74...
"paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote in
news:10*************@corp.supernews.com:
Access is far from perfect and is a resource hog


How, exactly, does Access hog resources?

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc


I run Access on terminal server. It requires a lot of memory and CPU time
for each instance.
Microsoft recommends treating each Access user as a power user when sizing a
Terminal Server.

Nov 13 '05 #45

P: n/a
"paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote in
news:10************@corp.supernews.com:
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xn**********************************@24.168.1 28.74...
"paii, Ron" <pa**@packairinc.com> wrote in
news:10*************@corp.supernews.com:
> Access is far from perfect and is a resource hog


How, exactly, does Access hog resources?


I run Access on terminal server. It requires a lot of memory and
CPU time for each instance.
Microsoft recommends treating each Access user as a power user
when sizing a Terminal Server.


And how does that compare to Excel or Word? Do you have any actual
numbers?

I can't say it's generally relevant to non-Terminal Server
applications, though.

And it's not especially surprising that an application that does so
much more than Excel or Word would also take more resources --
you're also getting a lot more out of it.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #46

P: n/a
Steve Jorgensen <no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in
news:4q********************************@4ax.com:
Actually, I agree with David that the Access help is pretty good,
though it was excelent in Access 97 and has gone downhill since
then in a big way.


But most of that decline is not in the content but in the UI.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #47

P: n/a
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40******@post.usenet.com:
On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 16:19:57 GMT) it happened Steve
Jorgensen
<no****@nospam.nospam> wrote in
<4q********************************@4ax.com>:

I can't even follow the man file for ln because I keep messing
up
the definitions of (source) and (target). So I usually have to
try twice to make a symbolic link.


The EXISTING file comes FIRST.


That rather misses the point, doesn't it?

I.e., why can't the documentation be that clear?

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #48

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On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 20:22:55 GMT) it happened "David W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128.7 4>:

The EXISTING file comes FIRST.


That rather misses the point, doesn't it?

I.e., why can't the documentation be that clear?


From man ln:

ln [OPTION]... TARGET [LINK_NAME]
ln [OPTION]... TARGET... DIRECTORY
ln [OPTION]... --target-directory=DIRECTORY TARGET...

DESCRIPTION
Create a link to the specified TARGET with optional
LINK_NAME. If LINK_NAME is omitted, a link with the same

What is not clear about that?
JP

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Nov 13 '05 #49

P: n/a
Jan Panteltje <pN*************@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:40******@post.usenet.com:
On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Jun 2004 20:22:55 GMT) it happened "David
W. Fenton"
<dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in
<Xn**********************************@24.168.128. 74>:

The EXISTING file comes FIRST.


That rather misses the point, doesn't it?

I.e., why can't the documentation be that clear?


From man ln:

ln [OPTION]... TARGET [LINK_NAME]
ln [OPTION]... TARGET... DIRECTORY
ln [OPTION]... --target-directory=DIRECTORY TARGET...

DESCRIPTION
Create a link to the specified TARGET with optional
LINK_NAME. If LINK_NAME is omitted, a link with the same

What is not clear about that?


Ask Steve -- he's the one who said it's a problem.

This is the kind of thing that I do once in a blue moon on Unix, so
I always spend an inordinate amount of time translating MAN entries
into something that I can understand.

Key point that applies both to documentation and to UI design:

Seldom-performed tasks should have very forgiving instructions, or a
very forgiving UI.

And keep in mind that different user populations will have different
frequencies of use. Someone who works on Unixen all the time won't
need hand holding here. Someone who works on Windows all the time
and delves into Unix every now and again (such as managing their
files on their Unix-based web host) may need a different kind of
help.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #50

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