LIFE keeps getting more complicated for the editor ofa Microsoft newsletter. To begin with, there’s my obligation to meet the needsof a diverse group ofAccess developers (intermediate to advanced, lonedevelopers, members of a programming team, consultants, and corporatedevelopers). Then there’s the issue of supporting the two to four differentversions of Access (95/97, 2000/2002)—with a new version on the way. While manydevelopers are very happy with Jet/ MDB development, others have moved on toclient/ server development using SQL Server/MSDE or other database managementsystems (say, Oracle). On top of that there’s the variety of packages thatAccess developers may want to integrate with: Outlook, Microsoft Office, VisualBasic, .NET Framework, among other third- arty packages. Finally, of course,there’s always the Web (I shouldn’t say finally—there’s probably lots of otherthings that you want to know about that I haven’t listed here). It’s tough.
When I build an application, I need two pieces ofinformation first: a database design and a list of user scenarios. You’reprobably pretty clear on what a database design is but may be unfamiliar withwhat a user scenario is. A user scenario is some activity that’s important tothe user and that will require the use of my application. A scenario is not“Updating the sales order header”; a scenario is “Creating a sales order.”
Two of this month’s articles deal with something that,I have to admit, I don’t give attention to: Precision. Working mostly inbusiness applications, I use VBA’s Currency datatype frequently. Currency isreally a misnamed datatype, as you don’t have to restrict its use to workingwith money. urrency is for any number that can get very large but requires, atmost, four decimal points of precision. This allows you to round to threedecimal places (something some of my business clients want) based on the numberin the fourth decimal point.
THE title for this month’s editorialis appropriate for an issue with a review of a translation package for Access.Translated into proper English, the complete phrase is “The more things change,the more things remain the same.” Or, to put it another way, my mother-in-lawis on the Internet. She’s still my mother-in-law, but now she sends e-mail.Every day.
As i’m writing this, i’m sitting in the back of theroom of the united kingdom’s national access user group’s seminar. I wasinvited over to give the keynote address of the conference, along with twotechnical talks (“scenario-based design” and “service oriented access”). Atthis point, i’ve already given my keynote speech and one of my talks (my secondpresentation is scheduled for after lunch). To say that i was pleased to beinvited is an understatement. It would also be an understatement to say thateveryone has been unbelievably friendly. I managed to get my schedule mixed upat the start of the day, for instance, and gave my second technical talk first,but everyone seemed to roll with the change. The conference organizers (robgordon and margaret chamberlain) were unfailingly supportive. If the rest ofthe attendees end up reading this in a few months: thanks for a great time!