That's an interesting comment, but one that I feel needs to be expanded just a bit. You refer, for example, to "their sofware development platform ". Would you mind elaborating on that point? Are you suggesting that MS sees a single
platform for software development starting with Windows 8? Or something similar, but not quite that dramatic? Thanks.
I'm not arguing against the increasing role of web applications, and more importantly, applications running on mobile devices, but as one of my clients told me just a few days ago, "At your age, George, you'll be long retired before the need for Access and SQL Server databases has ended." You see, many smaller and medium-sized organizations didn't get that memo which says they have to abandon the desktop in favor of the cloud. And many of those who HAVE read the memo aren't quite ready to buy in. Maybe next year, or the next, or the next.
I sometimes think it is harder for the youngest among us to grasp the reality that "social media" is NOT the main focus of most successful business, even today. Just because they are using iPhones and iPads, and Androids and even Windows Phones, to keep in touch with their friends on Twitter, doesn't mean that businesses are ready to leap off the reliable Windows platform onto that skinny little 7 inch screen and blow away decades of infrastructure in the process. We'll see how far Windows 8 and tablets go towards making that a little more likely, but I would not bet any large sums of money on my being out of a job building quality databases in the next five to ten years.
Before you get the idea I'm contradicting anything said, I'm not. I've been working with AWS on SharePoint for a while now. I'm looking forward to having enough spare time to dig deeper into the cloudy side of things. I understand the importance of being ready to adapt other ways of working. Access is cool, but so is LightSwitch (although I find it limited compared to Access-- NO native report writing capability? Really?). There are other development tools out there as well. I just want to caution everyone against thinking it's time to bury good old Access. There are some good years left in our old friend still, I think.
If anything, I'd say you should really become as good at basic database design as you can--from the point of view of Relational Table design. Whereever we go next, good table schema are going to be fundamental.