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> Working Without Access (and Trying To Remedy This), Any Version    
 
   
DanielPineault
post Mar 8 2018, 09:00 AM
Post#21


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QUOTE
soon to go out of support


I've never understood that statement.

What support exactly? By now it is stable and mature, unlike 2016/office365 which has been plagued with problem after problem after problem since its initial release. Very little has changed with Access in a general sense in well over 20 years and most of what has changed has either been removed at a later date (AWAs anyone) or actually gets novice users into trouble down the line (MVF, Attachments, ...). Nothing wrong with 2010, or even 2003 if it floats your boat IMHO.


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orange999
post Mar 8 2018, 09:38 AM
Post#22



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From: Ottawa, Ont, Canada; West Palm Beach, FL


QUOTE
The IT Director has Access and uses it

for what?
Does the IT Director understand Data Management or Database Management or IRM? Is there a Planning department?

Steadfastly doing it the "old fashioned way" seems to be advocating putting the company at considerable disadvantage.

With respect to taking things home and building something--- there is an old standby

Do more than is expected of you, and before long it will be expected.

While building something on your own may be great therapy and a continuous self-learning approach, you will still be faced with a non-supportive management. Ideally, you get a sponsor or patron to support an effort.

Good luck -- not an enviable position for sure.


I'm with Daniel on the AC2010 or 2003---stable. (accdb is an issue with 2003)
This post has been edited by orange999: Mar 8 2018, 09:41 AM
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GroverParkGeorge
post Mar 8 2018, 09:41 AM
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Support, Daniel, means you can call Microsoft for help with a problem, and they will respond. Being out of support means they won't. It has nothing to do with whether an old mdb, even one based on Jet 3.5, still runs on a relevant operating system.
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projecttoday
post Mar 8 2018, 10:13 AM
Post#24


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There is a risk in using out-of-support software. An unforeseen situation could cause it not to work.
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DanielPineault
post Mar 8 2018, 10:22 AM
Post#25


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I know this is going to make me sound all pessimistic and all, but I've never gotten any form of support for Office or Windows. Oh I get never ending updates, but that's it. By now, as many people can attest, Office 2013 and prior are all stable, proof is in the fact that I still have clients running '97 and are very content.




QUOTE
call Microsoft for help with a problem

You mean pay $500. Because that is what is required to get a live person to help you. They'll reimburse it, only if MS deems it to be a MS issue, otherwise your 'Support' just cost you $500. I got to say that's one expensive gamble I mean phone call.



QUOTE
There is a risk in using out-of-support software. An unforeseen situation could cause it not to work.

Same is true of 'in-support' software, have you been using Office365?! Yes, they work to correct the issues, but it's been a mess since day one. It was finally getting stable until this weekend when they broke Access again for a lot of users. So 'in-support' is no more safer.
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projecttoday
post Mar 8 2018, 10:37 AM
Post#26


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But they fixed it. If it's out-of-support, they won't fix it. Ever.
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bouncee
post Mar 8 2018, 10:49 AM
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Daniel - I agree with Microsoft help, but what did I miss about them breaking Access recently?
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DanielPineault
post Mar 8 2018, 11:24 AM
Post#28


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See: https://www.devhut.net/2018/03/05/ms-access...ess-has-failed/ the issue is that it isn't impacting everyone, just a subset of Office365 users, but it's a deal breaker, Access won't even start anymore.
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projecttoday
post Mar 8 2018, 12:40 PM
Post#29


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The point here isn't that Microsoft support for in-support products is necessarily great. The point is that support for out-of-support products is non-existent.

To stay on the safe side, if you're using an out-of-support product, you should upgrade. Feel free to upgrade to a version that has been thoroughly debugged. Many companies have a policy of avoiding the current version to avoid the bugs. Now I don't know how this figures in with Office 365 which is supposed to be based on the idea of automatic updates. (I haven't used Office 365.)
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Dave21495
post Mar 8 2018, 12:51 PM
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One of the biggest problems non users have with MS Access is that the interface is not intuitive. There is an initial sharp learning curve. If you explain to them that everything will be controlled and accessed through friendly user interfaces and forms that might help. Stress that every function will be documented and that the user will never have to look at or open a table or query.

I have also at times taken a departments internal process and automated it on my own. When you demonstrate to someone that a task that takes days can be done in a few seconds with the click of a single button, that is a very convincing argument.
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tina t
post Mar 8 2018, 01:51 PM
Post#31



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hello Sandi, this has been an interesting thread to read through - lots of thoughts and ideas. my two cents worth:

1) don't take anything home from work without prior authorization - even data you consider non-proprietary and/or unimportant. it could get you fired, possibly even sued.

2) there's nothing stopping you from doing a process analysis - on a single process - during your lunch or breaks. take the results home - but no data - and build the db at home, using dummy data. make sure your notes are not documenting anything specific that is proprietary.

QUOTE
I have also at times taken a departments internal process and automated it on my own. When you demonstrate to someone that a task that takes days can be done in a few seconds with the click of a single button, that is a very convincing argument.

ditto the above. i had a hard row to hoe when i started my current job - everything was paper or Excel at best (which was far from best, when compared to an Access solution) - and my boss was very reluctant to allow any changes. so i took one of my own tasks, and automated it in Access. doing this didn't affect anybody but me. i also took care to build a strong end-user interface, same care as if i were building it for other end-users, and documented how to do the work using the new app. the task went from taking me three hours a week (weekly report), to a few seconds. i did the same with some of the other tasks on my desk, and suddenly had several hours worth of free time every week. then i went to my boss and asked for more work; explaining that i'd automated a number of my tasks in Access to save time and to increase accuracy. i was able to assure him that anyone could use the interfaces to do the work, and showed him both the instructions and the FE db. ha, that was it - he was hooked.

now i've been with the company twelve years. i've moved numerous work processes into Access, for myself and for other users. almost every PC in the company is running at least one of my applications, many have several. one key to making this successful was that i made every process as table-based as possible, using references in the code instead of hard-coding values. i built interfaces to allow an Access-ignorant person to administer the applications by editing table data as needed, and made sure that all the table data is available to end users via data dumps, so the company data is not "held hostage" in my databases (which are actually company databases, of course).

good luck, and if you don't feel this job is worth all the extra work and stress you're facing, then i agree with some others - take the other job, if you can afford the cut in income, and enjoy working in an environment where you can utilize your skills and have them recognized and appreciated.

hth
tina
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GroverParkGeorge
post Mar 8 2018, 04:19 PM
Post#32


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I think we're talking about two different things here when we use the word "support".

When I pointed out that Microsoft ends support for its products after a certain number of years, that was based on the idea that they will continue to provide security updates, bug fixes, and even product enhancements through the end of the support period for that product, but not beyond that point. In other words, Access 2007 continues to work "AS IS" just as it did prior to the end of support. It just doesn't get any further security updates, bug fixes or enhancements. The key word there is "AS IS". It continues to work as it did at that point in time.

On the other hand, a version of Access (or any software application for that matter) which is still "in support" will continue to get updates, fixes and enhancements until the end of that version's support period. At which point, it will also be frozen "AS IS" from then on.

However, when the subject of paying for support is raised, we've crossed over to a different topic, although loosely related. I.e. the question here is whether a licensed user should expect to be able to call or email a support center and have one person or team of people inside Microsoft address a specific problem in their specific environment, either for free or as a paid service. I may be wrong on that point, but I think we always have to pay for that kind of support whether you are using Access 2007 or Access 2016. The point is, I think, that paying for support for an incident is a fact of life regardless of the support period.

I do have my doubts about whether one could expect a similar level of response for the older versions, but that's still another aspect of the situation.

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GroverParkGeorge
post Mar 8 2018, 04:58 PM
Post#33


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There are different release cadences for different channels, and within each, there may be variations.

One of the characteristics of the Office 365 subscription model is the cadence of updates is much more frequent, monthly or semi-annually. That's in contrast to the major release, followed by occasional updates, cadence of prior versions. Those happened every three years or so for the major release and a few times in the ensuing three year period, albeit not on any schedule.

One of the consequences of the current model is that frequent updates allows for both more frequent regressions, i.e. bugs can be introduced at any given release point. But the flip side to that, of course, is the opportunity to put a fix for that bug out. If the bug is serious enough, MS may need to push the fix into a subsequent release within a few weeks. And if it's serious enough, it may be pushed out sooner. It just depends.

Whether that is, on balance, good or bad, is a subject about which there is a lot of room for disagreement. It's true, as Daniel has pointed out, that there have been a number of such incidents. But I would argue that that is primarily an artifact of the cadence being accelerated. No more waiting three years for a new major release to introduce enhancements. They come out much more frequently, with the downside being that there is less time for testing at each release point. Okay, that's not all good, but it's not all bad either.

A second characteristic of this new approach is that the various channels can, and do, get updates at different points. Again, Daniel cites the recent problem with an update causing one group of users serious problems. But note, " it isn't impacting everyone, just a subset of Office365 users" and, while that's a problem, it really is impacting a subset of people, and I am reasonably sure there is a resolution for the issue, which involves rolling back that update and not reinstalling it until the bug is fixed.

In a perfect world, there would never again be a bug in any software application. That's not the world we live in.
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projecttoday
post Mar 8 2018, 07:23 PM
Post#34


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A point I believe I didn't mention is that Microsoft has the code for Access and you the user do not. While very remote, there is a possibility that it could stop working at some point in the future. What would you do? This has never happened with an out-of-support Access, but there's always a first time. Using any out-of-support software without the code to fix it: while the chances of a catastrophe are exceedingly small, if that chance occurs, the consequences could be huge.
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MadPiet
post Mar 8 2018, 08:35 PM
Post#35



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So you're suggesting that Microsoft booby-traps its own software? That's a bit hard to believe. The consequences would be kinda severe - especially law suits. Not worth the risk.
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projecttoday
post Mar 8 2018, 08:47 PM
Post#36


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Absolutely not!
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GroverParkGeorge
post Mar 9 2018, 11:05 AM
Post#37


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Of course not. That's not what anyone implied at all.

Here's the problem.

Software ages, it gets old.

Access, for example, is celebrating its 25th year. That's right, Access has been in the marketplace for 25 years, now. Successfully, I might add.

However, there are multiple versions, each with its own characteristics. Obviously, trying to run one of the older version comes at a risk, but if you can put together the hardware and software platform to support it, you could run Access 2.0 still. I have a colleague who recently had to do just that to take over a migration project for his new client. I might point out, though, that he didn't try to do that on his current, operational, development computer. smirk.gif

My point is that almost no one expects to run Access 2.0 day-in-and-day-out. Not logical, right?

The issue becomes more relevant as you move up the scale to Access '97, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and coming late this year, 2019. The expectation that the Microsoft Access team could, or would, invest resources in keeping ALL of those older versions current, fresh, and SAFE is equally illogical, IMO. Keep in mind that support here in this context means providing bug fixes, SECURITY updates, and regular enhancements. I don't have a deep understanding of all of the technical nuances of versioning and support, and I don't think that's even necessary. I do think, however, that common sense should tell us that we need to focus on moving ahead. We've seen stumbles, even ones that impacted me very personally with AWAs, and we've seen successes.

I, for one, prefer to think of Access in its 25th year as the start of another step forward, not a reason to bemoan the past. Other the other hand, nothing is certain, as the saying goes, except death and taxes. So, while I expect Microsoft to keep its promise to deliver Access 2019 as part of Office 2019, I guess there's an outside chance they'll change their minds and toss it out in the next 8-10 months before the next version is released.

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LPurvis
post Mar 9 2018, 02:01 PM
Post#38


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Hi everybody.

Isn't this all about utility (in the statistical sense)? Effectively about how much the benefit or risk is to the choices we make.
There are no absolutes, nor should there be. It's a distribution of benefit vs risk.

You could install 2010, it goes out of support in the near future and some security flaw appears that doesn't get fixed. (I'm not aware of what that could possibly be, it could be argued it's not exactly my job to know. Regardless, I'd describe it as decidedly unlikely.)
Worse yet, for some totally unfathomable reason (as the deliberate disabling is indeed madness), 2010 no longer runs at all.
You can ask yourself, what is the actual likelihood of this? It's very low (25 years and counting ;-).

As George says, MS might decide to pull Access altogether. (They'd face a PR nightmare IMNSHO, but it could happen, anything could happen.) But we decide to keep using it to make effective database solutions. There's no evidence to suggest we shouldn't.

Take it a step further, they could abandon SQL Server. That sounds like even greater madness. The world wouldn't collapse, most solutions would run for years. Azure might become a bit of a waste ground.
Extremely unlikely. It could happen.

I could get knocked over crossing the road to get to a meeting. Or worse yet, on my way to a bar! Should I stop crossing roads? (Definitely not if there's some quality IPAs on draft!)

We proceed with life by making reasonable, informed, decisions. As a wise man once said "Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on."


So let's then consider the flip side.
What's the benefit of installing 2010? As mentioned, it's inherently stable. Functionality-wise (largely thanks to AWAs et al, RIP) it's not very different yet.
What's the benefit of, say, 2016? Updates. ODBC re-connectivity is a lovely, overdue concept. But with updates comes bugs. I believe someone mentioned that a flawed update caused problems for some users (if you're one of those users, then you don't really care that it's not everybody). But all they had to do was uninstall the latest update.
All? That's a deliberate, non-automated, task isn't it? All you have to do if 2010 becomes a liability is upgrade to a newer version. Nobody says you have to use it for life. Software gets updated. Windows, Office, it's normal.

Other considerations?
Perception? (Don't discount that.) Installing 8 year old software might not install the greatest of confidence to those watching. (Many might never know, or indeed care.)

To deal out absolutes like you must always update, never use any out off support software is fine... if you can provide evidence.
Otherwise we're dealing in positions on the distribution of risk. And we're at the outlying ends of it.

For what it's worth, to quantify the above with my own position - I'd only install 2010 (runtime probably, otherwise it's not for me to install) on a client PC with careful consideration and some trepidation. We're getting to the point where the perception of that might be the thing that hurts you most.
So a newer version wouldn't hurt. (2013 is right in the middle, 2016 if you need that ODBC connectivity reassurance.)

Cheers
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JonSmith
post Mar 10 2018, 05:51 AM
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Hi all

To chime in on the original topic.
You shouldn't subvert your managers wishes by doing this at home, especially since this 'IT Director' seems to have discussed this with HR in order to get you to back off.
There are some people who do not care about what is best for you nor for the company but what is best for their personal profile. I just left such an organisation, we had an 'agile' transformation that was in no way following any of the Agile principles except for saying we now had Scrum teams (often with totally unrelated people working in them) and PI sessions. It was all for the Change Managers personal profile, he did not care if he made everyone else's job harder or slower because he could report out he'd done an Agile transformation. Another example is the directive from high up that we have zero audit findings with serious rebuking whenever on occurred. The net result was that we still had just as many issues but no-one reported it. This pleased the highest management as the dirty little secret was they were getting bonuses based on that KPI. Coming from someone who used to work in a teaching hospital where its really really important to discuss all mistakes and learn from them I found this unconscionable. They are just a couple of examples of dysfunction, you can see why I quit (anyone know of any work in the Netherlands tongue.gif).

I would suggest you are fighting a losing battle, I have previously encountered management that poo poo'd VBA as not being 'professional' and hired contractors to make some .net solutions, they were such poor quality and became a huge huge nightmare. I always say, its the programmer thats professional or not rather than the language. It could be however your management only sees VBA as a sloppy messy solution that will be hard to support as it unfortunately can have that reputation. Whilst you are still there the best I could suggest is trying to understand their concerns and finding a middle ground, compromise abit, as Nick says maybe find a process that isn't relational heavy and see if they will let you automate it in Excel, that good will can then give you the clout to push for Access. I'd also say talk about automation more than specifically Access or VBA. If there is some personal prejudice speaking in more generic terms about your goals can help.


re MS Support. I have never called their support, a recent topic on here showed they weren't helpful at all to a 365 user when Daniel actually knew the issue. Give me slow stable updates any day. Access 2010 is perfectly viable until Windows cannot support it, I currently would recommend Office 2013 and no further.
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DanielPineault
post Mar 10 2018, 06:38 AM
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I think a lot of this depends on your role in the company. If you're just an employee, then that is the end of that. If you are a manager/director of a department, then you can affect you sphere of responsibility as you see fit.

Then there's the whole aspect of "do you want to take on a fight with an organization, that based on your description, is very resistive to change"? Heck, IT got HR to talk to you! That tells me a whole lot right there.

I wouldn't work for free, so I wouldn't try and build this on my own hours at home. Most certainly, do not take anything information from work home to do so, you could get into some serious trouble for doing this without the consent of your employer.


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