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MS Access is a simple easy program for database programming, just by right and left mouse click you can easily develop database programs for your personnel use or your office and if you know visual basic it will give more power programs and you can develop professional level database programs, I myself working on MS Access and developing database programs on small level for my office and personnel use. I never gone to any learning institute this all I am doing from my own experience but I am planning to go to an institute to learn the full visual basic because it will give me more power to develop programs.
As a university student who does a lot of work with boring databases, I feel qualified after 3 years using Access by Microsoft to give a decent review of the product. Little did I know in my earlier years of learning data modelling and how databases were formed that Access was a relatively simple database software to use and the curses from years gone by are now meaningless. The main functions and tasks of Access 2000 are as follows: Making tables, producing queries, designing forms, executing reports with wizards, calculations and graphs, import and export, attachment, macros and Access basic. Databases are characterised by fields, records and tables of data. In Access, you get an easy to use design view to create them or just use the wizard and tell it what you need from the table. Data is inputted through forms that are again very simple to use. Relationships between the tables are very important to reduce repeated data and it is very easy to create the 1:1, many to many or 1:m relationships here just by clicking and dragging on the primary keys to make them into foreign or composite keys on the next table. Queries, which are used to find out certain information about your data are again simply found by using the report or by producing the query yourself. Pseudo-SQL (Structured Query Language) can be used within the queries to produce the right results. One tip that I can give you that has helped me a lot is to UNION the two queries on a report to get an output that corresponds to data from more than one query. The solution is to use an SQL construct called 'UNION'. Copy the SQL from one query and paste it below the SQL in the other. Be sure to put the word 'UNION' in between the two sets of SQL.
Also delete the semicolon at the end of the first query. When viewing the query from the database window you'll notice a different graphic than normal, two grey circles. This represents a Union query. Union queries cannot be edited graphically meaning than when you press the design button you'll be taken to the SQL view. Reports are generated from forms or produced manually using the design wizard. Modules and a wizard that connects a database to a web page (ASP ? active server pages) are also included. Access is perfect for the simple databases that require little effort and have few tables as it presents a clean and easy platform from which to produce them efficiently with minimal effort and fuss. Small businesses and home users should be interested in Microsoft Access because of its simple graphical user interface and help system that is intuitive, but you may need to purchase a help guide to Access to understand the program in more depth. Other database software on the market include Oracle which is more suited to larger databases and similarly larger businesses to use as it is far more reliable when looking after the data. Although more expensive and more complex to use, Oracle is really needed for these large-scale enterprises as Access can?t do it the justice that it requires. Oracle also uses SQL (Structured Query Language) to produce the queries and the tables and such are made using code, rather than filling in a wizard on Access. This is far more complicated and you would need to be able to use Oracle to a professional standard for it to function properly, which is why Access has been so popular with novice users and small businesses.
Microsoft Access - the best - who says so - Me. Oay, now that's all I really wanted to write here because it sums up the reason why anyone actually rates something - they like it more than any other and they don't need to justify it to anybody else, but that would be pretty boring for all you keen as mustard Dooyoo-ers out there, so I'm going to give you a few other reasons to be cheerful. Just to summarise, however, Microsoft's Access in all its various formats and versions is probably the best and most commonly used database software around today - now commonly used isn't always a guarantee of quality, but in the case of this little beaut, you get a program which is excellent, very powerful and flexible and puts "all the power in the hands of the people rich enough to buy it" (Thanks to Joe Strummer). Access is much more than just a database program which allows you to list all your record collection and allows you to sort it into alphabetical order (you sad gits). If that's all you want, use Excel - Access will do that sure, but it only really comes into its own when you really organise things to build relationships between entities. I feel an example coming on chiz chiz chiz..... Sorry, folks, I tried writing up an example but it got very dull and anorakist, so I'll leave it at this (Mrs dave27: "I wish you would you boring old man.") suffice to say it's a database regarding Leeds United - you have to work out the relationships between the different sets of data tables you want to hold and if you set things up right you can do virtually anything with that data - I can, for instance, pull up an automatic report listing the details of every game played by a player, a summary on a season by season basis of his performances, a list of all the results of every game played against Liverpool, etc etc etc... Now unless you're interested in stats this is al
l very dull and boring, but when you ally it to the possibilities of using Access to build an automated application, you can quickly see the possibilities. In the right hands, Access can be an amazing tool - you can build an accounting system, a holiday booking system, records of Dooyoo ops, you name it you can do it. I was astounded by the possibilities when I really got into Access about three years ago - at first it had felt extremely complicated and fiddly, but I've become more comfortable with it now and consider myself a VERY gifted amateur. I'll regularly and quickly use Access to manage all sorts of problems, both business and pleasure, and once you've got something up and running it can save you hours of work. Now in my younger days I sued to swear by Borland's Paradox and got very annoyed when people tried to get me to move onto Access - it felt too fiddly and difficult to grasp. However, a gap of using any database of about 18 months allowed me to come afresh to Access and I was absolutely delighted by it. When you've got a problem or an application that really suits the facilities of a relational database management system, then you'll know that Access is undeniably THE ONE - the absolute pick of the bunch, a tool so powerful you could easily be marching into Poland with it...
What is MS Access 2000? It’s a database, and it is included in the more comprehensive versions of Office 2000. Therefore, although you may be quite familiar with MS Word, and probably even write your opinions on it, and you may even dabble with MS Excel, MS Access is still somewhat more peripheral to MS Office, and definitely a product only for those that need a database. The major problem confronting anyone tempted to have look at Access out of curiosity is the lack of clues given by loading it. With Word you get a white piece of “paper” and a flashing cursor, so there’s a bit of a hint! With Excel, you get what appears to be a grid, and it doesn’t take too much experimentation to see that you can enter “stuff” into the squares. So what do you get with Access? A blank stare from a menu, that’s what. So – no clues there, and this is why, in my opinion, few people will be tempted into a “dabble” which is a shame because it’s a very powerful package. So what could an amateur use a database for? Well, here’s a couple of suggestions. 1.Surprise, surprise, that old chestnut, the name and address list. 2.Then there’s the CD collection – one tip here. If you have any CD writing software like Adaptec Easy CD Creator, or you have the deluxe version of CD player on your PC, these create a database in MS Access format – look for *.mdb files on your c:\drive. 3.How about a home itinerary. We were burgled once and robbed of 300 CD’s plus cameras etc. I’m sure my computerised catalogue of CD’s and serial numbers of practically everything we owned, which helped when it came to being paid out to our satisfaction. Before I start walking you through the process of creating a database of your own, I would just like to mention the word “relational”, which gets bandied around in phrases li
ke “ah yes, but this database, is it relational?” without the enquirer being challenged as to whether he even knows what the question is!” I’ll explain. Previous databases, for example, those for name and address or customer details, used to have “tables” of data assembled as you would expect to write them on paper, with columns for Mr/Mrs/Ms, First Name, Surname, 1st Line of Address, Postcode and so. Someone noticed that it was very wasteful of typing effort AND disk space to have to enter “Middlesex” or where ever, whenever someone who lived there was entered onto the system. Now text is a bulky thing to store compared to numbers. So the idea of a separate table for the repetitive data, in this case “Counties” was evolved. This meant that there was only one mention of Middlesex on the whole database, numbered in an adjacent column for the sake of argument, as “1” (– not just because I live there, but historically it was known as First County). The other table, with the rest of the address data, would be set up to have a column called, for example “Link To County”. Anyone living in Hounslow or Uxbridge would then have a “1” in that column. All that remains is to create a permanent “Many Addresses To One County” link, or “relationship”, and Access is one such database capable of doing this. This would have been useful years ago when Slough was moved from Bucks to Berks. With a relational database, all you would have had to do to update your records was to find all records with a mention of Slough, and change their county number to that for Berks. Heh presto, relational databases demystified in seconds! So, back to basics. MS Access has done its best to help you make a simple database using our old friends, wizards. Most databases can be split down into the following components (I’v
e used Microsoft’s terminology here) 1.Tables – lists of detail that you want to store 2.Forms – An on-screen input area for laying down new data, or editing existing data within a table. 3.Queries – There’s no point having all this lovely detail stored if you can’t extract it to suit your own parameters. Here’s an example of what I mean. From a table of all your e-pinions, with details like Title, Subject, Members Reads, Rating, Crowned? *, you could assemble a list of how many ops were nice little earners by creating a query that sought to count up all surveys where the “Crowned?” column had a Yes in it. * Wishful thinking! There are other aspects such as Reports, Macros, Pages and Modules, but these don’t really rate a mention in a “cat’s lick” of a description like this. The Access wizard can be used to get you through stages 1,2, and 3 without too much pain using templates of some of the most common types of database needs. TABLES - Basically, to construct a table, you need to sketch out what your data input needs are in terms of column formats. Don’t be afraid to use the back of a fag packet. No one said it’s all got to be done on-screen. Data types can range from pure text, to dates, currency, Y/N? etc. Having decided this, you can create a table in “Design View” with your Column Headings and Data Types completed, which might look something like this:- FIELD NAME - DATA TYPE First Name = Text Surname = Text Member Since = Date (dd/mmm/yyyy) Paid Up? = Y/N? Subscription Rate p.a. = Currency (£) Don’t forget to save the table with a memorable name. You may end up with a lot more within the same *.mdb file before you are finished. FORMS - Now to create in input form. The easy way is to follow the wizard. It will ask you to identify whic
h table it relates to – now do you see what the meaningful table name was for? You get the opportunity to include or exclude columns from the table before saving the form (with a good name, of course). A completed form will enable you to input new records to the table, or by scrolling through them, editing an existing one. QUERIES - You can only really get to grips with queries once you have data to manipulate, otherwise you won’t know if they are really finding nothing or just not working, so I would suggest that you input a variety of entries via the form to the table. Using the dummy table layout above, you could, for instance list all members whose “subs” were overdue, who were also over 80 years old! To my mind, queries are the engine of a good database. Without them, it’s just a bloody great list! Being a Microsoft product, it’s very easy to integrate Access with Excel and even Word. Lists within Excel can be either imported or remotely linked as tables. Data listed in queries can be linked back to fill in the blanks in Word documents. Let me give you an example that I’m quite proud of. Where I previously worked as a performance measurement manager, we were responsible for polling customers at the end of a lengthy project as to what they thought of our Project Manager. The Project manager would give us all the usual customer details, which would be input by my staff on a database form. At the bottom of the form was a “button” programmed to load MS Word, open a specific document and, using the data in a query designed to pull out the latest record’s details, fill in all the blanks in the document so that a covering letter could be sent to the customer asking if he would be kind enough to complete our survey. It also printed the survey with all its respective blanks filled in. On its return, the survey scores and remarks were input, and the collated
scores were then assembled in queries, which formed the basis of management reports linked into Excel so that they could be easily e-mailed to senior managers. Phew, not bad for a lad with language A-levels, eh? Of course, you don’t have to get this complex, but just because it’s not obvious what you do with it, don’t be put off. Give Access a try. Who knows, if you use it as a repository of “good phrases”, you could get it to write opinions for you! My major criticism of Access comes from having had to delve deeper, pushing past the limits of what is possible with the basic process, only to find that I also had to learn to write Visual Basic just to make Modules work, which were only there to overcome the shortcomings of Access in the first place. Well, I know what I mean anyway. At most users level, Access will give them plenty of growing room, so don’t be put off by this.
I have read some of the other opinions about Microsoft Access 2000. And I agree that Microsoft has made real head way in the development of a home user/ Small Business user data solution. Access 2000 has had a revamp, it looks and feels more like an Office App, and more importantly It has more support for programmer, you just need to use the jet 4.0 DBEngine and MDAC TYP 2.5. But a bit like Access 97, 2000 has a date bug! If you are using Access to hold date, or you have experience of using date in Access, you will know that it really like holding Date in all format (Yeah right), Access like the American date format (mm/dd/yyyy), I my self as a Visual Basic programmer who uses Access as my Data storage media know the problem to do with storing Date in Access. I don't confess to be a guru, but be warned there are some problem, but knowing Microsoft they will release a Service PAck that will correct the problem.
Like the rest of Office, Access has been reworked with the aims of ease of use, collaborative working on the Net and powerful data analysis. In the case of Access, however, a lot of effort has gone into facilities for power users and developers, probably because Access has such a stranglehold on the desktop database market that Microsoft sees the need to push for the developer database market as more important. Looked at another way, Access had previously been a product that was weaker on the developer side than on the end-user side, so that was the part that needed most improvement. CHANGE OF VIEW The first thing you notice about Access is that the database window has been revamped. It now looks more like the other Office elements - more like Outlook than anything else. There's a split-pane view with all the object types in your database organised in a list in the left-hand pane, and the specific examples of that particular object in the right-hand pane. One addition to the overall facilities to make Office match your way of working is the ability to create groups of objects. For example, in your order-processing database you could set up a Product group, into which you put all the tables, queries, forms and so on that have anything to do with products. The links are really shortcuts - the objects still show up within their 'natural' sets, so that the forms still appear when you're looking at all the forms. However, when you want a quick view of everything to do with products, you can be sure you're not missing anything. EASE OF USE While other Office applications focus on AutoCorrect and automatic completion of lists, the Access version of ease of use takes a rather different approach. One excellent change is an automatic name change facility, so if you rename a column in a table, all references to it are changed automatically. You can save a database in the format of a previous version of Access, great for excha
nging data, although you need to check that everything works before blithely assuming that it's OK. You can also drag and drop tables and queries into Excel, and they show up complete with column headings and relevant formatting. If your recipient wants a picture rather than the data, you can take a snapshot of a report, then send it out on disk, to a Web page or as an e-mail attachment, without any particular fuss. More general improvements can be seen in the wizards, with improvements to the Database, Query and Performance Analyser Wizards. The Query Wizards, and in particular the Simple Query Wizard, now work out which columns you could use as the basis for numeric summaries, and the Cross-tab Wizard lets you drag and drop the columns onto the grid in a more natural way. Performance analysis has been improved, with a more intelligent analysis of which tables should be split, and where you might want to add an index. The data you can work on now includes SQL Server tables. The Excel PivotTable improvements also come across into Access, with the added charting support and improved handling of large data sets that have appeared in Excel 2000 DATA ACCESS PAGES Data Access Pages, Web pages that you can use to view and edit data from an Access database or a SQL Server table, are new in this version of Access. While you could export pages from reports and forms in HTML format in Access 97, Data Access Pages let the visitor to the Web page enter and edit the data, and search for specific data. You can create Data Access Pages that show grouped records as they'd appear in your Access reports, and the Web visitor can sort and filter the data, and can expand and collapse the groups. When you're designing data to show on the Web, you can store HTML codes in your database fields, and have those codes obeyed when the data appears in your Web pages, so that you could define a particular entry to appear bold and underlined, for example
. You can set up grouped data access pages to ensure that related information stays together. Data in grouped pages shows in a hierarchal collapsed outline when you're working on the pages. There's a new toolbox for creating the Data Access Pages. This has controls like a drag-and-drop field list and hyperlink editor. VIEWING THE DATA There are some small but nice changes to reports and forms in this release, such as the ability to make changes to form design without opening the form designer, easier ways to add conditional formats to your reports and forms, and the ability to group controls on your forms for ease of editing. Another option lets you send reports to non-users of Access, using a Snapshot format that shows the data in a mini-viewer. Subdatasheets are new in this release, and as you might guess from the name, give you a way to show your data in a hierarchical view when looking at a datasheet. This gives a simple way to view data tables that are related using a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship, so that if you're viewing a customer table that has a one-to-many relationship to Orders, you see all the orders for a particular customer as you move to their row in the datasheet. If the Orders table has a one-to-many relationship defined to Order Details, and you move onto the Orders, you'll see all the Order Detail lines for that Order. It's similar to the form and subform, but without the hard work. BIG DATA If your aim in life is to use Access as a front end to large corporate databases, there are lots of facilities in there to aid you in your desire, so long as you're thinking Microsoft SQL Server, that is. At the basic level is a new kind of Access database called a project, which gives you native-mode access to SQL Server data tables using OLE DB. You use the same Access tools to create your forms, reports, queries and so on, and unlike earlier versions where you just ha
d a somewhat static view onto your SQL data, Access projects give you the ability to view, create, modify and delete tables, to create stored procedures, to set up views and to manipulate data diagrams. You can also choose to use the Microsoft Data Engine, an addition that gives you local data storage that's compatible with SQL Server 7. The best analogy for the Data Engine is that it's a client/server alternative to the standard Microsoft Jet database engine. If you decide that what you really need to do is to move to SQL Server, the Access Upsizing Wizard will take your Access database and create either an Access project, or a straightforward SQL Server 6.5 or 7.0 format database with the same data, database objects and data definitions as the original. ADVANCED OPTIONS Many of the best improvements to this version of Access are those for the developer or power user. For example, you now have a user-level Security Wizard that gives a simple way to define who can use your database, and which items any user or group of users can view, edit or modify. You can add password protection to your Visual Basic for Applications modules, and even choose to have all the source code removed from the runtime version of your database to prevent any unauthorised editing of the modules. This also prevents anyone from seeing how you achieved your masterpiece. One issue with previous versions of Access was the fact that only page-level locking was supported. This meant that if you opened a record for editing, all the other records on the same 4K page were also locked, and other users couldn't use those records until you'd finished your editing. You can now choose to use row-level locking, so that only the record you're actually working on is locked - much more colleague friendly. REPLICATION The need to replicate databases increases with the rise of remote users, and this version has a range of improvements to the Acce
ss replication facilities. You can create replicas of both MDBs and the new ADPs, with on-demand synchronisation while you're working. You can also replicate using publish and subscribe, and new in this version is support from the Jet database engine in terms of extra methods and properties that developers can use to write code to handle the synchronisation and replication of the data. A conflict viewer lets you see any cases where more than one change has been made to a record. Access 2000 has a choice of looking for conflicts at row or column level - essentially, the older-style row-level tracking worries if two people have made changes to the same record. Column-level tracking only reports problems if two or more people have changed data in the same column in the same record. On a larger scale, you can set up replica priorities to say whose changes should be used if there's a synchronisation conflict, and you can set a deletion prevention option to stop your users ditching important data. Access 2000 has some good facilities for the beginner, but most of the improvements will be experienced by power users and developers, especially users who want to work with SQL data. DEVELOPER FACILITIES There are two aspects to the developer facilities in Office 2000. First of all, there are those that you get whichever version of Office you choose, courtesy of Visual Basic for Applications and the forms designer in Outlook. If you're looking on a more professional basis, however, you can go for Office Premium Edition. This has extras, such as a Com ADD-IN DESIGNER, ERROR-HANDLING AND SUPPORT FOR Visual SourceSafe. Many developers will be working with the Standard or Professional editions of Office, however, so what are the improvements on offer to those users? By now you should be able to guess that the changes start with new objects added to VBA for handling the Web; you can find out and set who is the author, work w
ith e-mail messages and Web pages. There are also facilities for handling multiple languages, so your macros and modules can deal just as transparently with your multi-lingual users as does the rest of Office. More general changes include support for modeless user forms, and better handling of ActiveX controls. ADO support has been added to Excel and Access, with the intention that you use it in preference to the old DAO and RDO data formats. You can also work with OLAP data sources via OLE DB. VBA is more standard across the applications, although there are still some annoying differences between the versions. One excellent addition is that of digital signatures on VBA projects, so you can pass your modules to other users who have security in place that requires checks on who created the code - Melissa has made many IT managers a tad nervous. PREMIUM EDITION If you need more than the basics of VBA, then Premium Edition is what you need. This has a COM add-in designer so you can create your own extensions to Office. As you might guess, VBA now supports COM add-ins, so your work won't be wasted. The COM add-in will appear in Visual Basic as well as any other VBA host applications on your PC, so your wonderful COM objects would show up in Visio, for example. You can execute your Add-in code for testing and debugging without the need to build the DLL each time, and edit the code in the Add-in while running it, and run individual procedures without the need to restart the entire Add-in. One of the greatest benefits to developing solutions with VBA is the ability to debug working code inside the host application. VBA 6.0 provides a new feature - Run Project Mode - to enable code to execute for debugging and testing, without requiring a DLL to be built. Visual Sourcesafe is integrated in Premium Edition, so you can check code in and out when working with other developers, and there's a code librarian for modules and code sn
ippets you want to re-use. It comes with a set of code samples to get you started, and you can customise them or add your own as necessary. There's a code commentator that adds structured headings to your procedures, telling other developers what's going on. The way it works is to merge a user-supplied template with the code, so it doesn't actually write the comments for you, it just makes the process a little more formalised. An error handler has been added, so you can design and use a standard error handler for use throughout a project. There's an HTML Help Workshop that you can use to create Help systems written in HTML, complete with screenshots and graphics. You also get access to the Answer Wizard SDK, so you can write your own extensions to the Answer Wizard to handle users' requests for help about your application. Even more frightening, you get access to programming the Assistants via the Agent SDK. This means you can animate the character to look at the part of your application where the user should be paying attention, get them to ask questions of your users, and, in the words of the developer's guide, provide a social interface to your application so that users find it fun to use. Fun? Office applications shouldn't be fun. They'll want colour next. DATA SUPPORT As mentioned earlier, Universal Data Access support means you can use OLE DB and ODBC, via ADO. New in the Premium Edition are a Data Environment Designer and a Data Report Designer. The Data Environment Designer gives you a design time interface to your ADO-based COM objects, and can be used to visually create your data access components - no need to get to grips with the complexities of SQL. You can use the Data Environment Designer to define hierarchical views showing how your database objects fit in terms of parent-child relations, grouped recordsets and so on, thanks to the FlexiGrid control that's integrated with the Data En
vironment Designer. The Data Report Designer lets you create reports outside Access, based on the fields from the Data Environment Object. You can drag and drop data fields or entire recordsets to create the report, and use code to manage formatting, calculations and so on if you want a closer level of control. You can also make use of Data-bound ActiveX controls to display your hierarchical data from the Data Environment Designer on the screen. There's also a new Data Repeater control that gives a simple way to repeat any data-aware ActiveX controls so your user has an easy way to scroll through records and data, no matter what control is used to display them. Overall, the Developer version gives you simpler control over your data sources, but more importantly, the facilities to create really polished, professional-looking applications. Well worth the money for the time and trouble it'll save you in user support.
Access 2000 is a very good database package that allows you to either create your own databases for storing information or import information from external sources. Each database is made up of tables and each table can contain fields which may contain strings, numbers, dates and text fields. Creating the tables is a very simple process, once your have created a table you can enter data into using a linear (spreadsheet style) of entry or you can create a nice looking (windows style) form that allow you to input the data, it is best to use a form as this can then be distributed to allow other users to enter data. Once you have the data in your tables you can create queries and reports on the data, queries basically allow you to perform selections on your data (these can get very complex). The report formatter is a very good tool that allows you to create a very good/professional looking reports. I would recommend this product to anyone wishing to store information that they wish to manipulate and produce reports from.
No doubts, Microsoft Access is one of the answers for database management, because it is very user friendly. Yet, it is only suitable for medium and small size database, because it is relatively unstable compare with Oracle and other unix base database managements. Microsoft Access 2000 has a lot of new features but it cannot work properly with ASP which I hope this problem has been solved now. The other problem is, the database which is created under Microsoft Access 2000 environment, cannot be opened from Microsoft Access 97. This the common problem of Microsoft Access, it happened on Microsoft Access 95 when Microsoft Access 97 was launched.
With an impeccable implementation of SQL under the bonnet with the e-beauty and connection to every database type you can think of thorugh ODBC you'll be laughing all the way to the data-warehouse... which, coincidentally, you've got a symbolic database link to. As every MS have complile a superb DB application allowing you to create and manage it's proprietary MDB file format as well as a plethora of other formats. With it's extensive VB support plugins are readily available which build on it's superb architecture and interface to get you hooked-up to many many DB types. My particular favourite is a free plugin which let's me control, manage and audit mySQL database I run on commercial website on the 'net. Another cracker MS, keep up the good work!
Access is Microsoft’s answer to a database. Although there are other database programs on the market, Microsoft probably wins the race for the small office user. With the wizards a template database can be set up within minutes. You can create your own database if you are computer literate, with relative ease. If you are a professional, it also has functions for visual basic which can help you customise. It has good integration with Word where you can employ mail merging, but I have had problems trying it to work with Excel, Microsoft’s spreadsheet package. Apart from that I would suggest this is a good package for any beginner in databases, especially because you probably could get lots of books from the library about this one.