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Access Web App Primer

Posted in Access Web Apps by Jack D. Leach on January 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm (View complete post)

I've been late getting on board with Microsoft's latest renditions of Access. Not only Access even, but the entire Microsoft Suite. It just isn't what it used to be. When I first found Access, looked at it and said to myself oh yeaa, I can use that for all SORTS of awesome stuff! Access Web Apps though? Not so much... I mainly disregarded 2010 Web Databases and when I was getting involved in 2013 Web Apps - even through the MVP program at Microsoft and having a lot of insight - I still wasn't really buying it. It's just hard for me to look at this new thing and envision people finding real, practical uses for it.

Ok, well maybe that's not quite right either. I suppose it's easy enough to think of uses for a cloud-based database application. That's not really the problem. The problem really is that when you go to make one... to be blunt, it's a nightmare. It's nothing at all like traditional Access desktop development. The greatest thing about client... (read more)

A Lesson in Code Patterns

Posted in VBA by Jack D. Leach on January 18, 2014 at 3:44 am (View complete post)

When I started typing this blog, it had a title of "VBA Class Module Use Case" and was intended to be an extension of the When to Use Class Modules post from earlier last year. After completing it though, I decided to change the name as the ultimate lesson in here is far more important than "when to use a class module."

A couple of days ago I was working on an Access/VBA project, and the task at hand called for an excellent use of a class module. Also recently, I had been working on my blog and thus I had my "When to Use Class Modules" blog post from last year in mind. It occurred to me that I hadn't mentioned this specific type of use case for a class module in the previous entry, and it's a great case example, so I figured I'd jot something up on it quickly and link the two together.

The task is to build an emailer that will run on a daily basis as the tail end of a larger batch import/analyzation process. For the emailer... (read more)

To Do Something Right (ranting on COTS)

Posted in Software by Jack D. Leach on December 29, 2013 at 9:29 am (View complete post)

Many years ago, before I was much involved in computer programming and was doing machine shop management, I saw the need for some management software that was more customizable and streamlined. After a lot of investigation in various options, I talked the two owners of the company that I managed into a purchase of such Commercial Off-The-Shelf software (COTS). It cost around $16,000, and it turned out to be near-useless. To date, it's one of the few things I look back on and really cringe at, because 16k is certainly a lot of money, but on the other hand, this event ultimately led me down a path that I don't regret in the least.

This software was beyond terrible, though I have to admit that their marketing team was superb (I was duped, even after weeks of research on options). They told me everything I wanted to hear and made promises of their product that it simply didn't live up to in the least.

The whole idea behind this new software was to make things more... (read more)

Dynamic Filters - Find as you Type and Multi-Select Listboxes

Posted in Access Forms by Jack D. Leach on November 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm (View complete post)

Demo File: DynamicFilters.zip (accdb format)

This article gives a brief overview of how to implement a filter on a datasheet that updates automatically as you enter information into various search fields. We'll use eateries as examples - restaurants stored with the Location, Category of food a brief description, and a flag that we can use to mark something as a favorite.

demo

There's a few examples of "search as you type" filtering out there, which is included here also, but I don't recall many that demonstrate how to build a dynamic filter based on a multi-value list box, so I've included a few in here as well.

There's four fields we'll be able to search on:

  • Description: type characters into the search box and it will filter the list on what you're typing, as you're typing
  • Flagged Entries Only: a simple... (read more)

Put Stuff Where it Belongs

Posted in Normalization by Jack D. Leach on November 12, 2013 at 11:09 am (View complete post)

Some time ago I came across this while reading a book - SQL Server 2008 Step by Step (Mike Hotek, Microsoft Press) - and to date I think it's the best description of normalization that I've ever seen... it just took me this long to get around to obtaining permission to post the excerpt!

I don't have much further to say on it, other than many thanks to the O'Reilly permissions people, so without further ado...

Entire books have been written and multi-week courses taught about database design. In all of this material, you will find discussions of first, second, and third normal forms along with building logical and physical data models. You could spend significant amounts of time learning about metadata and data modeling tools. Lost in all of this material is the simple fact that tables have to be created to support an application and the people creating the tables have more important things to worry about than which normal form a database is in or... (read more)