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Is access suitable?

P: n/a
I currently own a fruit and veg business and wish to compuiterise my
manual methods in order to reduce labour costs. I spoke to my son who
is a whiz on computers and he had a good chat with me and explained
that what I needed was possible but he was unsure if he had the
capabillities to carry it out. He has started drawing some plans and I
will attempt to explain what I will require from the software. It will
need to be user friendly and windows based, cover three areas, new
customer invoice, stock control, and customer database(similar to
sage).

All must be interlinked (my son has explained this) when I enter a new
invoice it will automatically print 3 copies and remove stock from
current(monitored in stock control) which will intern add that invoice
to the customer database and show an outstanding sum. Firstly my son
would like to know if there are any peices of software able to create
such an 'interlinked' database, from reading other posts I figure
ms-access may be one? If not what language is recommended. If all does
not go to plan are there IT experts who will take on such a project?

Any help given is greatly apprichiated. J
Nov 13 '05 #1
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22 Replies


P: n/a
Script Learner,
It's a familiar refrain from me: Buy a commercial package because building
your own is almost always more costly, more time consuming, and more likely
to cause your son to wish you were not his Dad. Your e-mail looks like it
originates out of the UK. If Microsoft's Great Plains Accounting is
available there it is a good investment. There is a cheap(er) version of
Peachtree Accounting that sells for under $100.00 US. Intuit's QuickBooks
is another package which will do all this for a reasonable price.
Now, if you are still willing to invest in the time it will take to build
your own software, start with a careful, detailed plan. Then make sure you
build, test, rebuild, test, implement, re-evaluate, rebuild, test . . . in
an organized manner. Writing software is now a field that is over a
half-century old and in that time much has been learned about how to do it
well. You owe it to your sanity, your son & your company to do the research
needed to find the wealth of material that exists on how to plan & build an
application.
As for my favorite best practices, I love MSDE or some other flavor of SQL
Server. Jet is nice and simplifies things for small projects but running a
company is something that will easily outpace Jet's ability to maintain the
data--so go with MSDE or SQL Server, or something equivilant. Whenever
possible, I try to do everything in SQL or Transact SQL. Failing that I
like working with Access ADP project files that contain the user interface.
Unbound forms & reports are a good idea for lots of reasons. And, given a
choice, I'd work out an object model I can implement in VB that becomes the
foundation for my application.
That's the high notes. The rest is a lot. Good luck.

"script-learner" <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:90**************************@posting.google.c om...
I currently own a fruit and veg business and wish to compuiterise my
manual methods in order to reduce labour costs. I spoke to my son who
is a whiz on computers and he had a good chat with me and explained
that what I needed was possible but he was unsure if he had the
capabillities to carry it out. He has started drawing some plans and I
will attempt to explain what I will require from the software. It will
need to be user friendly and windows based, cover three areas, new
customer invoice, stock control, and customer database(similar to
sage).

All must be interlinked (my son has explained this) when I enter a new
invoice it will automatically print 3 copies and remove stock from
current(monitored in stock control) which will intern add that invoice
to the customer database and show an outstanding sum. Firstly my son
would like to know if there are any peices of software able to create
such an 'interlinked' database, from reading other posts I figure
ms-access may be one? If not what language is recommended. If all does
not go to plan are there IT experts who will take on such a project?

Any help given is greatly apprichiated. J

Nov 13 '05 #2

P: n/a
In message <90**************************@posting.google.com >,
script-learner <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> writes
I currently own a fruit and veg business and wish to compuiterise my
manual methods in order to reduce labour costs. I spoke to my son who
is a whiz on computers and he had a good chat with me and explained
that what I needed was possible but he was unsure if he had the
capabillities to carry it out. He has started drawing some plans and I
will attempt to explain what I will require from the software. It will
need to be user friendly and windows based, cover three areas, new
customer invoice, stock control, and customer database(similar to
sage).

All must be interlinked (my son has explained this) when I enter a new
invoice it will automatically print 3 copies and remove stock from
current(monitored in stock control) which will intern add that invoice
to the customer database and show an outstanding sum. Firstly my son
would like to know if there are any peices of software able to create
such an 'interlinked' database, from reading other posts I figure
ms-access may be one? If not what language is recommended. If all does
not go to plan are there IT experts who will take on such a project?

Any help given is greatly apprichiated. J


Access can certainly be made to do everything that you have described,
but that doesn't necessarily make it the right tool for the job. If your
son didn't know that then he probably doesn't know enough about Access
to do the job himself without help. He may be able to learn, but that
will take time. During that time you will both make mistakes and that
could cause a lot of angst.

There are people who can come in and look at your business, analyse what
you do and then program Access to help you do it. You probably can't
afford to hire anyone who is any good. Good custom-made software is
expensive.

My advice would be to talk to other people in similar businesses and ask
them what software they use. Talk to whoever they bought their software
from to see if it can be adapted to your needs.

You may find that there isn't anything suitable on the market. In that
case you may want to design your own system. Access is a good tool for
that job. But don't expect to build the complete system in an afternoon,
or even in a year. You should start by building something to assist some
of your existing manual processes, and add new functions when you are
sure that what you have designed works right every time.

You can expect to get some help through newsgroups like this one, but in
general the difficult questions aren't technical ones. They are more
likely to be about the way your business works, and how business
processes can be translated into something you can write a program for.

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

Nov 13 '05 #3

P: n/a
On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 19:12:17 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
Jet is nice and simplifies things for small projects but running a
company is something that will easily outpace Jet's ability to maintain the
data--so go with MSDE or SQL Server, or something equivilant. I would definitely disagree with this statement. For example, I
designed and built a Jet based system for a wholesale manufacturing
company that in 5 years has quadrupled in size (data wise) and has
also increased considerablyl in functionality. This multi-user sytem
runs virtually all of the business. Including just-in-time production
processes; materials usage, tracking and reconciliation. Along with
inventory of products (finished and in-process), materials, order
fulfillment and accounts receivables. And that's only part of it.

The point being, that to dismiss Jet as only suitable for small
projects is flat wrong and possibly indicates a lack of understanding
of its potential.
Whenever
possible, I try to do everything in SQL or Transact SQL. Failing that I
like working with Access ADP project files that contain the user interface.
Unbound forms & reports are a good idea for lots of reasons. And, given a
choice, I'd work out an object model I can implement in VB that becomes the
foundation for my application.

Sure there are places where SQL Server would be better, but keep in
mind that approximately 95% of the businesses - in the U.S. - have
fewer (a lot fewer) than 10 employees. Using the methods you describe
would only add to the cost to the project without gain. From a
business perspective that may (most likely) not be wise. Although it
might be viewed as more lucrative from the perspective of a consultant
- more billable hours ;-)

That's my $0.02,
- Jim

Nov 13 '05 #4

P: n/a
Jim,
Access and Jet can do a lot but I've had experience with both Jet SQL and
Transact SQL and I'll take Transact SQL any day given a choice. My primary
point is one I am fond of making--that in the choice of whether to buy or
build a solution it is almost always cheaper to buy a prepackaged solution.
As for Jet's ability to run a company, that is something much debated here.
I've seen posts that claim developers have built applications that can
support a couple hundred users. It may be better, but when I was building
multi-user applications using Jet my seat of the pants impression was that I
could support roughly 5-10 concurrent connections. You can optimize this by
building your applications using unbound forms that step into the database
to transact data and then get out. But I am an SQL Server fan and it's what
I use most of the time.

"Jim Allensworth" <Ji****@datacentricsolutions.com> wrote in message
news:40**************@netnews.comcast.net...
On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 19:12:17 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
Jet is nice and simplifies things for small projects but running a
company is something that will easily outpace Jet's ability to maintain thedata--so go with MSDE or SQL Server, or something equivilant.

I would definitely disagree with this statement. For example, I
designed and built a Jet based system for a wholesale manufacturing
company that in 5 years has quadrupled in size (data wise) and has
also increased considerablyl in functionality. This multi-user sytem
runs virtually all of the business. Including just-in-time production
processes; materials usage, tracking and reconciliation. Along with
inventory of products (finished and in-process), materials, order
fulfillment and accounts receivables. And that's only part of it.

The point being, that to dismiss Jet as only suitable for small
projects is flat wrong and possibly indicates a lack of understanding
of its potential.
Whenever
possible, I try to do everything in SQL or Transact SQL. Failing that I
like working with Access ADP project files that contain the user interface.Unbound forms & reports are a good idea for lots of reasons. And, given achoice, I'd work out an object model I can implement in VB that becomes thefoundation for my application.

Sure there are places where SQL Server would be better, but keep in
mind that approximately 95% of the businesses - in the U.S. - have
fewer (a lot fewer) than 10 employees. Using the methods you describe
would only add to the cost to the project without gain. From a
business perspective that may (most likely) not be wise. Although it
might be viewed as more lucrative from the perspective of a consultant
- more billable hours ;-)

That's my $0.02,
- Jim

Nov 13 '05 #5

P: n/a
In message <lJ*****************@news.uswest.net>, Alan Webb
<kn*****@hotmail.com> writes
Script Learner,
It's a familiar refrain from me: Buy a commercial package because building
your own is almost always more costly, more time consuming, and more likely
to cause your son to wish you were not his Dad.


Very true. The OP should look for existing packages. They might look
expensive to a small business, but that will probably be much less than
the cost of paying a developer to build a system from scratch.

Perhaps if the original poster tells us the approximate size of his
business we could come up with a better estimate.


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

Nov 13 '05 #6

P: n/a
"Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com> wrote:
. It may be better, but when I was building
multi-user applications using Jet my seat of the pants impression was that I
could support roughly 5-10 concurrent connections.
Define connections.

I have a client running 25 users all day long with very few problems.
You can optimize this by
building your applications using unbound forms that step into the database
to transact data and then get out.
So what's the difference between using bound and unbound forms? In terms of
corruption and such that is. And I'm being quite serious.

Using a bound form means that
1) an empty record is created when you hit the first key stroke on a new record
2) it's updated when you do something else such as save the record, move to a new
record, or whatever.

Using an unbound form means that the first step is not done.

Yes, that will increase your risk of corruptions but significantly? Try powering off
your system when you have the pencil on the form indicating that a record is being
updated? I've done that and haven't gotten any corruptions.

That same client has had five or ten power failures in the past four or five years.
Never any corruptions due to the power failure. Yes, the server and switches were on
UPSs but the client PCs were not.
But I am an SQL Server fan and it's what
I use most of the time.


And the SQL Server Express just announced makes that even easier to deploy.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 13 '05 #7

P: n/a
On Sun, 11 Jul 2004 16:19:11 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:
Jim,
Access and Jet can do a lot but I've had experience with both Jet SQL and
Transact SQL and I'll take Transact SQL any day given a choice. My primary
point is one I am fond of making--that in the choice of whether to buy or
build a solution it is almost always cheaper to buy a prepackaged solution.
That depends. The upfront savings can often - and usually is - quickly
overcome by the time consumed with compromised operational
modifications to make the business conform to the software. Sometimes
that works but many times it deficient. If you do a cost benefit
analysis of the project you might find that the break-even point comes
sooner than you might think. Also, in even the smallest operations
(like maybe the OPs) the business owner has to consider what their
time is worth. What is it worth having their Saturdays free?
As for Jet's ability to run a company, that is something much debated here.
I've seen posts that claim developers have built applications that can
support a couple hundred users. It may be better, but when I was building
multi-user applications using Jet my seat of the pants impression was that I
could support roughly 5-10 concurrent connections. You can optimize this by
building your applications using unbound forms that step into the database
to transact data and then get out. But I am an SQL Server fan and it's what
I use most of the time.

I also think that SQL Server is a top notch C/S product, but it often
is overkill for most businesses. Quite simply an unnecesssary expense
when Jet will do superbly. My reading of the OPs concerns is that SQL
Server *would* be overkill. As for an off-the-shelf solution I have
nothing to suggest, maybe a Google search would yield something.

- Jim
Nov 13 '05 #8

P: n/a
An example of an Access database application for running a modest-sized
business is the Business! database you can license from
http://www.databasecreations.com. It may do what you need and more, and the
source code is included, so you can modify if needed.

But my primary purpose in mentioning it is to assure that Access, without
any additional bells-and-whistles, can create a database application that
will do what you need.

If I were in your shoes, I'd look at this and others (there are reviews of
others at MVP Tony Toews' site http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm) and
consider using one of them either "as is" or as a starting point... you'd
put uncounted hours of effort into creating an application with "generally
accepted accounting principles" that does nearly what the packages provide.

Just for the record, I have heard good reports on this particular package,
but have not used it myself. I also have no connection, business or
personal, with Database Creations, except that I once had an Access book of
which Cary Prague (one of Database Creations principals) was a co-author
(and found it useful).

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP

"script-learner" <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:90**************************@posting.google.c om...
I currently own a fruit and veg business and wish to compuiterise my
manual methods in order to reduce labour costs. I spoke to my son who
is a whiz on computers and he had a good chat with me and explained
that what I needed was possible but he was unsure if he had the
capabillities to carry it out. He has started drawing some plans and I
will attempt to explain what I will require from the software. It will
need to be user friendly and windows based, cover three areas, new
customer invoice, stock control, and customer database(similar to
sage).

All must be interlinked (my son has explained this) when I enter a new
invoice it will automatically print 3 copies and remove stock from
current(monitored in stock control) which will intern add that invoice
to the customer database and show an outstanding sum. Firstly my son
would like to know if there are any peices of software able to create
such an 'interlinked' database, from reading other posts I figure
ms-access may be one? If not what language is recommended. If all does
not go to plan are there IT experts who will take on such a project?

Any help given is greatly apprichiated. J

Nov 13 '05 #9

P: n/a
"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.not> wrote:
If I were in your shoes, I'd look at this and others (there are reviews of
others at MVP Tony Toews' site http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm) and
consider using one of them either "as is" or as a starting point... you'd
put uncounted hours of effort into creating an application with "generally
accepted accounting principles" that does nearly what the packages provide.


Actually there are links not reviews to accounting systems.

But I would certainly agree that a thousand or three thousand dollars spent on the
software along with source code which you can customize would save the original
poster hundreds if not thousands of hours time.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 13 '05 #10

P: n/a
Tony Toews <tt****@telusplanet.net> wrote in
news:tf********************************@4ax.com:
So what's the difference between using bound and unbound forms?
In terms of corruption and such that is. And I'm being quite
serious.

Using a bound form means that
1) an empty record is created when you hit the first key stroke on
a new record 2) it's updated when you do something else such as
save the record, move to a new record, or whatever.

Using an unbound form means that the first step is not done.

Yes, that will increase your risk of corruptions but
significantly? Try powering off your system when you have the
pencil on the form indicating that a record is being updated? I've
done that and haven't gotten any corruptions.

That same client has had five or ten power failures in the past
four or five years. Never any corruptions due to the power
failure. Yes, the server and switches were on UPSs but the client
PCs were not.


Locks.

If the form is bound, the data page is locked the minute you edit
the record.

So, improving concurrency is one of the main reasons to choose
unbound forms for editing (as distinct from unbound forms used as
dialogs).

But in my deployed apps, there are probably maybe 3 unbound data
editing forms.

Of course, I do regularly use an unbound form for adding *new*
records, because it makes it easy to avoid abandoned records, and
also makes it easy to validate the few fields needed to create the
minimal valid record.

But for editing, I usually use bound forms.

And haven't had any problems.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #11

P: n/a
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience. (plus a little cash!) I like to
spend time on a computer and am patient and willing to learn. Business
consists of around 6 people. This i do not see as being important! My
dad is the only person accessing the software for the sole purpose of
doing the processes described in my original post. I hope this allows
further help, thanks for your time. SL
Nov 13 '05 #12

P: n/a
rkc

"script-learner" <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:90**************************@posting.google.c om...
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience.


You say you have nothing but time so take a look at the information
at the following url http://www.guides.sk/reldb_dsgn/index.htm#start.

The information presented there is the foundation of any relational
database project using any tool or combination of tools. You need
to wrap your head around the fundamentals in order to succeed using
any tool.
Nov 13 '05 #13

P: n/a
In message <90**************************@posting.google.com >,
script-learner <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> writes
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience. (plus a little cash!) I like to
spend time on a computer and am patient and willing to learn. Business
consists of around 6 people. This i do not see as being important! My
dad is the only person accessing the software for the sole purpose of
doing the processes described in my original post. I hope this allows
further help, thanks for your time. SL


The reason why I asked about the size of the business is that it gives
me a good idea about the scale of complexity, and the possible budget
involved.

The best advice is still to buy an off-the-shelf package if you can. One
man-year is not really enough to build a complete business system,
because inevitably there will always be a need to add more features
"wouldn't it be nice if...."

You could easily spend a man-year tailoring a standard package, with the
advantage that you will start off with something that can already do at
least part of what you want. If you build a system from scratch then it
might be months before you have anything that can perform any useful
business function.

Whatever you do don't underestimate the risk of frayed tempers. Building
a software system requires detailed analysis, you will need to know more
about how the business works than your father does if you are going to
write a robust system. You will need to approach the problem in exactly
the same way as any other developer.

Get a written description of what the system is required to do and make
it crystal clear that you are going to develop a system to meet the
written specification. If it isn't in the spec then it doesn't exist.
Anything that isn't written down is NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

There are two important reasons for this. The first is that having to
write the specifications down will make the user, your father, think of
the problem more logically. The second is that if you go under a bus
then it allows someone else to pick up where you left off.

If you intend to use this as a learning exercise then you need to be
clear about what you want to achieve. If you intend to go into systems
design or development as a career then having a project you can show a
prospective employer is a good thing. They will need to see some
evidence of how you designed the system, so notes and diagrams using
some standard notation would be a good idea. Take a look at UML and the
documents it produces. Also take a look at relational database theory,
in particular look at the theory and practise of normalisation
(normalization if you want to read references originating in the US
too.)

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

Nov 13 '05 #14

P: n/a
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote:
Yes, that will increase your risk of corruptions but
significantly? Try powering off your system when you have the
pencil on the form indicating that a record is being updated? I've
done that and haven't gotten any corruptions.


Locks.

If the form is bound, the data page is locked the minute you edit
the record.

So, improving concurrency is one of the main reasons to choose
unbound forms for editing (as distinct from unbound forms used as
dialogs).

But in my deployed apps, there are probably maybe 3 unbound data
editing forms.

Of course, I do regularly use an unbound form for adding *new*
records, because it makes it easy to avoid abandoned records, and
also makes it easy to validate the few fields needed to create the
minimal valid record.


I have one invoicing routine where, if more than one user goes into it these kinds of
locking problems occur. Whereas other portions of the app are nowhere near as
susceptible to these kinds of locking issues. But that's likely because the records
in most of the other system are added in "batch" mode but updated as you go and very
randomly.

Whereas the invoicing records are added and updated immediately. But for now they
are using Excel to do most of the invoicing so I'm not being paid to fix the problem
so it'll have to wait. <smile>

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 13 '05 #15

P: n/a
jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk (script-learner) wrote:
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience. (plus a little cash!) I like to
spend time on a computer and am patient and willing to learn.


But to do this properly would still take hundreds if not thousands of hours. And at
the end you'd be so tempted to go back and fix up what you now know to be flawed.
Thus I'd suggest starting with a good basis, one of the accounting systems linked
from my website and update it. It'll cost your dad a bit more up front money but be
well worth it at the end.

Tony

--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 13 '05 #16

P: n/a
Dear script-learner & son (is that really your trading name?)

You've received a lot of advice. Access v. SQL Server is a frequent contest.
SQL Server may be overkill, Access may not be enough. Many people have
entrenched positions in that particular debate.

Regardless of all that, the principle thing you need to learn, if you're
going to do this yourself, has nothing whatsoever to do with what RDBMS you
decide to use. You need to learn about information systems, how an
information system can be translated into a conceptual data model, how that
can then be translated into a logical model, also know as a relational model
and how that, eventually, can be implemented using some RDBMS. Along the way
you will learn about needs analysis and suchlike.

You may well be 'a wiz' with computers. I know experienced C++ developers
who are hot stuff at writing interfaces to obscure medical investigation
hardware, who still have very little grasp of the fundamentals of relational
databases. So learn the theoretical stuff first. CJ Date's An Introduction
To Database Systems is the standard text, HJ Hernandez's Database Design for
Mere Mortals, Rebecca Riordan's Designing Relational Database Systems. Any
of these.

Yours, Mike MacSween

"script-learner" <jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:90**************************@posting.google.c om...
I currently own a fruit and veg business and wish to compuiterise my
manual methods in order to reduce labour costs. I spoke to my son who
is a whiz on computers and he had a good chat with me and explained
that what I needed was possible but he was unsure if he had the
capabillities to carry it out. He has started drawing some plans and I
will attempt to explain what I will require from the software. It will
need to be user friendly and windows based, cover three areas, new
customer invoice, stock control, and customer database(similar to
sage).

All must be interlinked (my son has explained this) when I enter a new
invoice it will automatically print 3 copies and remove stock from
current(monitored in stock control) which will intern add that invoice
to the customer database and show an outstanding sum. Firstly my son
would like to know if there are any peices of software able to create
such an 'interlinked' database, from reading other posts I figure
ms-access may be one? If not what language is recommended. If all does
not go to plan are there IT experts who will take on such a project?

Any help given is greatly apprichiated. J

Nov 13 '05 #17

P: n/a
In message <3u********************************@4ax.com>, Tony Toews
<tt****@telusplanet.net> writes
jl******@webmasters.freeserve.co.uk (script-learner) wrote:
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience. (plus a little cash!) I like to
spend time on a computer and am patient and willing to learn.


But to do this properly would still take hundreds if not thousands of
hours. And at
the end you'd be so tempted to go back and fix up what you now know to
be flawed.
Thus I'd suggest starting with a good basis, one of the accounting
systems linked
from my website and update it. It'll cost your dad a bit more up
front money but be
well worth it at the end.


After scaring the original posters with what it would take to build a
fully functional IT system in Access (or in any other system) I'll add
another idea to the pot.

It's possible to use a system like Access to build useful tools that can
help with some aspects of a business. It's quite easy to use Access with
MS Word to build a simple mailing-list system, and that's what my first
ever programming project was. I'm sure someone that knows the business
can think of other simple and straightforward applications that don't
require a lot of analysis or programming skill.

In addition to cautioning the original posters about attempting to add
"features" to such a system I'll add a warning to look carefully at the
time it may take to type data into a database, and to apply corrections
to it. My first project took a month to develop and we then had someone
spend three months typing in names and addresses.

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

Nov 13 '05 #18

P: n/a
Jim,
That used to be true. We've been doing software as a country for over half
a century. For the basics of running most any business products like Great
Plains Accounting, Peachtree & Quickbooks are hard to beat. The original
poster said the business was a produce business. This means he is buying &
selling produce. So, beyond the usual accounting tasks of payables,
recievables, assets, payroll & so on, the major issue for the business will
be materials management. They have to be sure they buy enough to sell today
and not have anything left over. So while they mention invoicing in the
original post as their first requirement, there is so much more to this that
is done rather well by software available at your local technology retailer.
I find it hard to accept that a consultant could build something cheaper,
better or faster. I mean, can you complete an Invoicing application for
under $100.00 and in less time than it takes to set up Quickbooks? As for
the time consumed with comprimised operational modifications--that is such a
non-issue because the products that exist are so good. Besides, the several
iterations of build, test, implement, oh shit, fix that, build, test,
implement, oh holy &*it, better fix that . . . that are a natural part of
every software project will more than consume whatever time savings there
might have been because the custom software is a better fit to the business.

"Jim Allensworth" <Ji****@datacentricsolutions.com> wrote in message
news:40***************@netnews.comcast.net...
On Sun, 11 Jul 2004 16:19:11 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:
That depends. The upfront savings can often - and usually is - quickly
overcome by the time consumed with compromised operational
modifications to make the business conform to the software. Sometimes
that works but many times it deficient. If you do a cost benefit
analysis of the project you might find that the break-even point comes
sooner than you might think. Also, in even the smallest operations
(like maybe the OPs) the business owner has to consider what their
time is worth. What is it worth having their Saturdays free?

Nov 13 '05 #19

P: n/a
> Regardless of all that, the principle thing you need to learn, if you're
going to do this yourself, has nothing whatsoever to do with what RDBMS you
decide to use. You need to learn about information systems, how an
information system can be translated into a conceptual data model, how that
can then be translated into a logical model, also know as a relational model
and how that, eventually, can be implemented using some RDBMS. Along the way
you will learn about needs analysis and suchlike.


I agree, and I think some examples in Access are also very useful,
such as "Northwind". Hope they will help you!
Nov 13 '05 #20

P: n/a
Alan,
Again, that depends.

On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 22:43:11 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:
Jim,
That used to be true. We've been doing software as a country for over half
a century. For the basics of running most any business products like Great
Plains Accounting, Peachtree & Quickbooks are hard to beat.
Perhaps the *very* basics. Those are all accounting oriented
applications. Which indeed a business needs. And if all that is
required is keeping the books and invoicing then that might just be
fine.
The original
poster said the business was a produce business. This means he is buying &
selling produce. So, beyond the usual accounting tasks of payables,
recievables, assets, payroll & so on, the major issue for the business will
be materials management. They have to be sure they buy enough to sell today
and not have anything left over. So while they mention invoicing in the
original post as their first requirement, there is so much more to this that
is done rather well by software available at your local technology retailer. I find it hard to accept that a consultant could build something cheaper,
better or faster. I mean, can you complete an Invoicing application for
under $100.00 and in less time than it takes to set up Quickbooks? As for
the time consumed with comprimised operational modifications--that is such a
non-issue because the products that exist are so good.
Details, details. You might be able to model a business operation with
an off the shelf app. Thats going to be a unusual one dimensional
business. Most businesses find their niche by doing something
differently than their competition. Some competitive edge that stands
them out.

The produce business reminds me of a client who wholesales plants - in
this case landscaping plants. You might think; OK, he buys and sells
plants. But, wait a minute he also does plant brokering. He solicits
inquiries for plants that he doesn't stock and using his producer
resources attempts to locate the best deal for that item. So along
with ordering and invoicing he needed ways to identify suppliers who
specialized in the plant type requested. This has to be in the system
along with a way to directly fax out the quote requests. Also,
tailored plant availability lists to customers - mass faxed.
Besides, the several
iterations of build, test, implement, oh shit, fix that, build, test,
implement, oh holy &*it, better fix that . . . that are a natural part of
every software project will more than consume whatever time savings there
might have been because the custom software is a better fit to the business.

The developer does this just once. The biz owner and his/her employees
do their dance each workday to conform their business to the
off-the-shelf package.

Also, businesses tend to change and grow, often in tangential ways.
Their information management needs change and grow. It could be pretty
difficult to expand the accounting packages to deal with that
effectively.

There are many issues that a business owner needs to consider when
making these kinds of decisions. I would urge them to think about the
future and how they might deal with possible changes.

- Jim
Nov 13 '05 #21

P: n/a
Jim Allensworth wrote:
Alan,
Again, that depends.

On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 22:43:11 -0400, "Alan Webb" <kn*****@hotmail.com>
wrote:

Jim,
That used to be true. We've been doing software as a country for over half
a century. For the basics of running most any business products like Great
Plains Accounting, Peachtree & Quickbooks are hard to beat.

Perhaps the *very* basics. Those are all accounting oriented
applications. Which indeed a business needs. And if all that is
required is keeping the books and invoicing then that might just be
fine.

The original
poster said the business was a produce business. This means he is buying &
selling produce. So, beyond the usual accounting tasks of payables,
recievables, assets, payroll & so on, the major issue for the business will
be materials management. They have to be sure they buy enough to sell today
and not have anything left over. So while they mention invoicing in the
original post as their first requirement, there is so much more to this that
is done rather well by software available at your local technology retailer.


I find it hard to accept that a consultant could build something cheaper,
better or faster. I mean, can you complete an Invoicing application for
under $100.00 and in less time than it takes to set up Quickbooks? As for
the time consumed with comprimised operational modifications--that is such a
non-issue because the products that exist are so good.

Details, details. You might be able to model a business operation with
an off the shelf app. Thats going to be a unusual one dimensional
business. Most businesses find their niche by doing something
differently than their competition. Some competitive edge that stands
them out.

The produce business reminds me of a client who wholesales plants - in
this case landscaping plants. You might think; OK, he buys and sells
plants. But, wait a minute he also does plant brokering. He solicits
inquiries for plants that he doesn't stock and using his producer
resources attempts to locate the best deal for that item. So along
with ordering and invoicing he needed ways to identify suppliers who
specialized in the plant type requested. This has to be in the system
along with a way to directly fax out the quote requests. Also,
tailored plant availability lists to customers - mass faxed.

Besides, the several
iterations of build, test, implement, oh shit, fix that, build, test,
implement, oh holy &*it, better fix that . . . that are a natural part of
every software project will more than consume whatever time savings there
might have been because the custom software is a better fit to the business.


The developer does this just once. The biz owner and his/her employees
do their dance each workday to conform their business to the
off-the-shelf package.

Also, businesses tend to change and grow, often in tangential ways.
Their information management needs change and grow. It could be pretty
difficult to expand the accounting packages to deal with that
effectively.

There are many issues that a business owner needs to consider when
making these kinds of decisions. I would urge them to think about the
future and how they might deal with possible changes.

- Jim


One way to approach this would be to use a package that can be extended.
If you have an off the shelf accounting package that can be extended by
a developer to perform other tasks you may be able to develop software
that models the particular business while still not having to reinvent
the wheel.

This approach would also allow new functionality to be phased in, while
allowing the business to operate while the extensions are being developed.

--
Ed

Nov 13 '05 #22

P: n/a
I, being the son of the original poster, am not time restricted in any
way. To take a year to write the program would be acceptable, my
father can continue to plod along using his manual methods. He is
simply asking me to attempt something. I am willing to go into the
project as long as you lot suggest that it is possible and sensible,
considering i am taking the project on as both an aid to my dad and an
oppertunity for a learning experience. (plus a little cash!) I like to
spend time on a computer and am patient and willing to learn. Business
consists of around 6 people. This i do not see as being important! My
dad is the only person accessing the software for the sole purpose of
doing the processes described in my original post. I hope this allows
further help, thanks for your time. SL


Dear Script Learner (Son)

Q. Is MS Access suitable?
A. Yes.

Since your dad is the only person accessing the software.

I will give you suggestion.

First get the project objective.

Your dad objective are cover three areas, new customer invoice, stock
control, and customer database
You will add three more areas, supplier database, purchase database
“since your dad want to know his stock of produce it is required to have
input and output of produce” and Overhead Expenses database.

Your backend Database will be the ff tables:
1. Contact
2. Product
3. Overhead Expenses
4. Transaction
5. Transaction detail
6. Contact Categories-Lookup Table (Ex. Supplier, Customer, Both)
7. Product Categories-Lookup Table (Ex. Fruits, Vegetable, Other)
8. Transaction Type-Lookup Table (Ex. Income, Expenses)
9. Transaction Categories-Lookup Table (Ex. In, Out “will be use on
stock control”)
10. Transaction Subcategories-Lookup Table
Ex.
1. Purchase / Production ”is you dad own a farm?” – In – Expenses
2. Return from customer – In – Expenses
3. Sales – Out – Income
4. Rotting/Expired Produce – Out – Expenses
5. Eating your own selling produce – Out – Expenses
Hoping this suggestion help you a little in your starting career path of
becoming a database programmer.
Good luck in your programming

Danny Dy

Email Me at hattatsu04.yahoo.com if you have any question I can answer.

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Nov 13 '05 #23

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