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> Access Pros And Cons, Any Version    
post Aug 24 2018, 02:15 AM

Posts: 75
Joined: 25-November 11
From: Edinburgh

OK possibly being over zealous - generally I have much more ability to complete complicated unique designs in MS Access and it takes me longer or I am simply not able to do many of the simple things in web applications I can do in MS Access quickly
This post has been edited by Lightwave: Aug 24 2018, 02:15 AM
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post Aug 24 2018, 02:54 AM

Posts: 3,956
Joined: 19-October 10

It is easier to find a VBA developer than virtually any other developer
There are a lot of good VBA developers about because there's more VBA developers generally. There are many here

Cannot say I can agree with that based on my anecdotal experience here in the Netherlands including based on conversations with the recruiter that head hunted me for my current job.
I was able to interview an ok amount of VBA developers in my past job too, but barely any were more than basically competent. I have inherited work here from a 'Professional VBA and .net developer' who runs his own company but writes code that doesn't compile.

With VBA the quality variance is huge because the barriers to entry are so low. This is a positive and a negative, it can make it really easy to do stuff and as such can make things quicker, but it also results in alot of poor quality coders which has a reputational impact on those who do take care to write good code.
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post Aug 24 2018, 05:14 AM

Posts: 875
Joined: 26-January 14
From: London, UK


1. If you do not already have established development tool(s) in your organization then the barriers to adopting Access are probably quite low. Relatively low start up costs, rapid time to market and few integration/compatibility demands on existing software.

2. You won't need developer tools such as source control, collaboration and deployment infrastructure that are usually required when developing with other products.

3. Access developers will typically be cheaper to hire than .NET or Java developers.

4. Very convenient to use if you are a one-man development team.

5. For many situations Access integrates pretty well with Microsoft SQL Server.


6. Very niche product. It's often hard to find good people to support and develop with Access because skilled developers tend to prefer working with other products.

7. If you want to develop browser-based, cross platform or mobile applications then Access is the wrong tool. Most people do want browser-based or mobile apps or will do in future so you ought to consider that when choosing a development tool.

8. Not well supported by developer productivity tools (but also see point 2 above).

9. Not really suitable for collaborative development in teams. That makes it hard to scale up team size to improve productivity. Also means you risk creating key-person dependencies.

10. VBA has serious security and maintainability issues and lacks the features of most modern languages. Some organizations restrict the use of Access applications because of the operational risks associated with VBA.

11. The ACE database engine is a poor choice for most situations (file-based architecture, lack of security, scalability and modern DBMS features). Pretty much every other database engine offers you much more for less money and effort. You don't have to use ACE of course and if you have the option not to then you probably should not. Arguably ACE isn't strictly a disadvantage of Access per se since Access works well with a range of different DBMSs, but in the interests of completeness it has to be mentioned.

12. Access reporting features are at least 20 years behind the leading reporting tools like Tableau, QlikView, Spotfire, etc.
This post has been edited by nvogel: Aug 24 2018, 06:00 AM
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post Aug 24 2018, 10:53 AM

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Posts: 7,720
Joined: 24-May 10
From: Downeast Maine

I'm not sure what you mean by "much more" and "less money and effort" for systems other than ACE. If you have Access you have ACE at no additional cost. SQL Server Express (or whatever it's called now if not that), and perhaps some others, have free versions, but if your are using Access as the development environment it is neither more nor less expensive to use another free engine. As for effort, it depends what you are used to, I guess. It is a lot of effort to learn how to use SQL Server reporting services, for instance. If you started out by learning that, though, it may be more effort to learn how to do reports in Access. If you learned how to do reports in Access, trying to figure out SQL Server reporting services is like starting from scratch.

As for security, if Access is replacing a system that uses spreadsheets, security was not an issue in the first place. For a payroll system, ACE is a poor choice. Context matters (a lot).

There are quite a number of very skilled developers in this forum and others who use Access. The main thing is to recognize when it is an appropriate tool. For many small operations, developing a database in-house is a realistic option, where paying thousands to a developer in another platform may not be. Again, context.
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