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> Access Pros And Cons, Any Version    
 
   
kfield7
post Aug 10 2018, 09:31 AM
Post#1



Posts: 866
Joined: 12-November 03
From: Iowa Lot


Can someone point me to a good (accurate? unbiased?) discussion on the pros and cons of using Access?

I did a Google search and found several articles/blogs etc., but each one has at least one of these flaws:
1. based on older versions (e.g., comparing to Paradox or Approach?)
2. cons based on limited experience ("Access can't do this" -- yes it can, I've seen it or done it or read about it on this site; "Access is limited to ..." -- and here's how to get past that)
3. hard to program (maybe compared to Excel)
etc.

For most of the issues presented in the con arguments in these internet searches, I have either constructed a solution or read of others who have done so.

Reason for inquiry: of course I have a potential project (currently using Access 2013) and the stakeholders are simply not familiar with Access. I'm trying to convince them of not using 50 x 16 = 800 "identically formatted!!" spreadsheets that would periodically be updated. Very simple solution (would have maybe 16 tables, my initial mock up had 8). It would be LAN-based only.

The one "legitimate" argument I've heard here is resources, in case I "evaporate". My reaction of course would be to point them to UtterAccess. smile.gif


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GroverParkGeorge
post Aug 10 2018, 10:53 AM
Post#2


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From: Newcastle, WA


1. There is still no serious competition on the desktop for MS Access. The applications you mention faded, in part, for exactly that reason...
2. Access does have legitimate limitations. It's best to be as objective as possible about them. On the other hand, they are far fewer than the detractors would have one believe.
3. Hard to program? Put that in the context of ALL competitors. Harder than TSQL, stored procs, triggers, etc? Not likely. Harder than .net? Not likely. Harder than Excel? Well, no. If you actually program with Excel, it's still VBA.

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tina t
post Aug 10 2018, 12:11 PM
Post#3



Posts: 5,483
Joined: 11-November 10
From: SoCal, USA


QUOTE
The one "legitimate" argument I've heard here is resources, in case I "evaporate". My reaction of course would be to point them to UtterAccess.

lol, that's a good tip! ;)

seriously, though, if the company you're writing the db for wants enhancements to the existing app, then yes, they'd probably need an experienced Access developer. but you can make it easier for the no-/little-experience folks to maintain the db if you're not around:

1. put values in a table whenever possible, rather than hard-coding them in combox/listbox RowSource properties, in queries, in forms/reports, in VBA.

2. give non-developer admins an interface to fix problems that can be expected to come up in the data.

3. make the table data available to be dumped out to text file, Excel, etc - don't hold the company's data hostage in the database! often management just wants to slice 'n dice data a different way, that's not included in existing reports; if they can data-dump to Excel, usually there's somebody proficient enough to number-crunch.

hth
tina

--------------------
"the wheel never stops turning"
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BruceM
post Aug 10 2018, 12:36 PM
Post#4


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Posts: 7,585
Joined: 24-May 10
From: Downeast Maine


To add a little more to Tina's third point, a read-only Access query is just like any other data when dumped into a spreadsheet. Excel doesn't know or care that it was read-only in Access.

I would add a fourth tip: Annotate the code. Describe what you are doing, as commented text within the procedures.
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kfield7
post Aug 10 2018, 01:41 PM
Post#5



Posts: 866
Joined: 12-November 03
From: Iowa Lot


Thanks for the tips.

On Tina's #3, that was actually already in the mock-up I did for the stakeholders.

The tips are all fine practices, what I'm looking for is if there exists a write-up on the benefits of Access versus, for example, other data systems or Excel, that perhaps explains things better than I would - so it doesn't appear as a personal project for me.

We're early in this tool development, we have a spreadsheet format which we currently anticipate would be replicated. Possibly 800 times. I can give them a host of reasons why the database would be better than Excel. I am getting push back from:
A) Folks who are concerned the IT department can't or won't support future development; and
B) Folks who want to maintain independent management of their personal version of the tool -- and they only know Excel.
and then others who just don't see the bigger picture of data management, but I think that's less of an obstacle.
It's also against the trend - the company has had MS Access databases before, and all but about 2 I think have been replaced by other systems for reasons beyond the scope of this project.
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BruceM
post Aug 10 2018, 02:37 PM
Post#6


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From: Downeast Maine


I don't know of a specific write-up, but I'm sure you could find ones that both support and denigrate Access. I think it's really up to you to make the case.
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ChiliDog
post Aug 10 2018, 03:03 PM
Post#7



Posts: 194
Joined: 9-September 11



Some pros:

- did anyone mention "free" ? smile.gif

- relational functionality + control - can provide more control over users than Excel

Some cons:

- 2G (or is it 3G now) db size limit

- desktop app which some IT depts won't support
This post has been edited by ChiliDog: Aug 10 2018, 03:04 PM
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BruceM
post Aug 13 2018, 06:23 AM
Post#8


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From: Downeast Maine


Good point that the runtime version of Access is free, and that the same files can be used with the free version as with the full version. Since most users have Office, Excel is part of the package. While it is not free, it is standard, so most likely the cost will not be an issue. So in both cases, the cost is not an issue, and it becomes about selecting the best tool for the job.
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ADezii
post Aug 13 2018, 06:50 AM
Post#9



Posts: 2,020
Joined: 4-February 07
From: USA, Florida, Delray Beach


A picture is worth a thousand words! Create a sample Demo based on some of your Spreadsheet Data that parallels the same functionality that now exists. If done properly, the advantages should become apparent by themselves.
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JonSmith
post Aug 13 2018, 07:04 AM
Post#10



Posts: 3,694
Joined: 19-October 10



So some cons, there are too many pretenders out there that claim to be developers and will leave an organisation with a barely useable Access database and then further support becomes impossible. I have seen them where they run professional looking one man businesses but cannot even write code that compiles or know how to split into FE and BE. As a result Access has a reputation issue at times.

I would explain this to them so they understand why they hear bad things, then re-assure them that the bad apples don't reflect on the real professionals and how you will ensure that this database will not only be made to a high quality but how it will be more maintainable (cause its normalised) than dozens of spreadsheets and how that, even though changes in the future may take some technical skill they will still be much easier than doing it 80 times.
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nuclear_nick
post Aug 13 2018, 07:18 AM
Post#11



Posts: 1,571
Joined: 5-February 06
From: Ohio, USA


QUOTE
I have seen them where they run professional looking one man businesses but cannot even write code that compiles or know how to split into FE and BE.


... and just when I was thinking of becoming a 'one-man business'...

fundrink.gif Hey hey!

Silliness aside... I believe the type of articles you may be looking for aren't 'Access vs. The World', rather 'Flat File vs. Relational databases'. That may give you an insight on why choose one over another.

I'm kinda interested on how this turns out. Are you making a presentation you could share?

--------------------
"Nuclear" Nick
____________
The top three reasons to hide code; 1) It's not your own. 2) It's your own, but it's so crappy you don't want anyone to see it. 3) The comments in your code would get you in a lot of trouble if ever made public.
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isladogs
post Aug 13 2018, 07:34 AM
Post#12



Posts: 390
Joined: 4-June 18



For a laugh, read this totally negative and narrow minded viewpoint at Access User Voce: Deprecate All Versions of Access

It was posted by someone who signs himself Microsoft Access Hater at another forum where many of his posts are so offensive to other members they get deleted by mods.

--------------------
nil illigetimi carborundem est
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JonSmith
post Aug 13 2018, 07:59 AM
Post#13



Posts: 3,694
Joined: 19-October 10



isladogs, what worries me more is that vile casual racism. What a horrible thing to say.
I wonder if he ever tried to post here, I imagine immediately banned for a dozen reasons if so but still curious.
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isladogs
post Aug 13 2018, 08:21 AM
Post#14



Posts: 390
Joined: 4-June 18



Yes I'd quite forgotten that first sentence.
Perhaps he meant that was part of his nightmare but seems unlikely somehow.

Otherwise, it was fairly restrained compared to many of his rants at the other site which only rarely bans users permanently.

--------------------
nil illigetimi carborundem est
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Jeff B.
post Aug 13 2018, 08:24 AM
Post#15


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Posts: 10,089
Joined: 30-April 10
From: Pacific NorthWet


How will you determine accuracy and unbiasness?

I've run across multiple assessments of various version of MS Access as a "toy database" and unsuitable for serious development. These assessments have largely come from folks who sell/program/maintain MS SQL databases ... so do you figure those assessments are potentially biased?

I've run into multiple Access databases created by folks quite experienced in working in Excel (or other spreadsheets). They bring that experience and knowledge with them to their Access efforts ... and provide excellent job opportunities to folks who know/understand/are experienced in Access development.

Access is not a monolith -- it provides a relational database structure, it allows linking to both relational datasets and less rigorously designed collections of data (think CSV files, Excel, ...), and it is a development environment.

... one more thought ... While it sounds like you may have some experience with Access, it also sounds like you are trying to 'sell' it to folks who don't. Don't bother! The folks who will 'buy' Access need to know that it can do the job being sought. Will any of them actually ever design relational database structures or develop user interfaces? If they don't have the skills/experience, you better hope not (hmmm, full disclosure, those of us who do have make a living fixing things that those who don't have have created)

Good luck!

--------------------
Regards

Jeff Boyce
Microsoft Access MVP (2002-2015)

Mention of hardware or software is, in no way, an endorsement thereof. The FTC of the USA made this disclaimer necessary/possible.
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BruceM
post Aug 13 2018, 09:19 AM
Post#16


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Posts: 7,585
Joined: 24-May 10
From: Downeast Maine


One thing I have found to be helpful when talking with Excel folks is to point out that Excel does not store calculations such as sums, and a fixed cell reference is exactly that and no more. People who try to get Access to store calculation results are often quite accepting of the fact that Excel does not. The difference is that Access stores the data in tables, and does the calculations via query expressions and the like. In an Excel the data and the calculations are (generally) on the same worksheet. Such users who look at an Access table may conclude that something is missing, and insist that it be changed.
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tina t
post Aug 13 2018, 11:58 AM
Post#17



Posts: 5,483
Joined: 11-November 10
From: SoCal, USA


QUOTE
Reason for inquiry: of course I have a potential project (currently using Access 2013) and the stakeholders are simply not familiar with Access. I'm trying to convince them of not using 50 x 16 = 800 "identically formatted!!" spreadsheets that would periodically be updated. Very simple solution (would have maybe 16 tables, my initial mock up had 8). It would be LAN-based only.

in Access, of course, the number of tables is not really important - you create as many as needed to store the data in a normalized, relational structure. on the other hand, the number of repeating tables is very important. to make it short: there shouldn't be any, as well as no repeating field or "clusters" of fields.

i'm sure you know all this, hon - but it never hurts to mention it again, especially for newbies who may read this thread down the road.

hth
tina

--------------------
"the wheel never stops turning"
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DanielPineault
post Aug 13 2018, 12:01 PM
Post#18


UtterAccess VIP
Posts: 5,982
Joined: 30-June 11



You need to put together proper project specifications and then compare those to the various technologies that you could employ (Excel, Access, FileMaker, Alpha5, .Net, PHP, ...) and see how Access answers the client's needs.

From a LAN standpoint, pretty much nothing can compete with Access and a good developer!



--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
Professional Help: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: http://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...(you are responsible for your choices and actions)
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