Changes

THERE are a number of technology changes in the wind for Access developers, and they can be summed up in two phases: ADO.NET and Access 2002. It’s important to remember that none of these technologies make your current tools obsolete. You don’t have to upgrade to Access 2002, and you don’t have to install ADO.NET.

That might not sound like the typical advice from the editor of a technology-driven newsletter. However, technology should be your servant, not your master. For any particular technology, you should move to the tool only if it offers you real benefits in your current and future applications. The benefits are relatively easy to enumerate: increased developer productivity, greater stability, and more functionality for your clients. What does drive you to change technology, more often than not, are changes in the business that you support. Continue reading

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Bugs and Quality

I have to admit that I don’t pay much attention to bug reports. Most bug reports that I hear about are either so obscure (witness some of the problems in the Excel calculation engine) or so easy to avoid (like not using DESC at the end of a field name in Access) that it doesn’t seem important to me. As this month’s lead article points out, that attitude isn’t always viable (see “An Access Nightmare”). Continue reading

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Bad News

I’VE been flying a considerable amount lately and have developed an unhealthy interest in the safety movie that’s shown at the start of every flight. Currently, my favorite part of the show is when the stewardess (and it’s always an “ess”) shows you how to use the life vest when the plane augers into the freezing cold North Atlantic at 2,000 miles per hour. After telling you that your life vest is under your seat (I’ve never looked, but I’m willing to believe them), the video concentrates on when to blow the thing up. You’re not supposed to do it, apparently, until you’re right at the door, ready to leave. Continue reading

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Architecture

Its probably no secret that I’m suspicious of too much preparation time. While I teach a number of courses for Learning Tree International (including four that I’ve written for the company), they won’t let me teach the system design courses. I assume that’s because, back when I had a job, my boss once asked me if I’d tested a program and I responded with, “It compiled, didn’t it?” In addition to explaining why I’m now a consultant, it also explains why I’m not teaching any courses on testing and software quality (though I have taken those courses, much in the same way that someone who visits San Francisco tours Alcatraz—nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there). Continue reading

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And The Good News Is …

IN the rush to build Web applications, Access developers may have felt left behind. While it’s certainly possible to access your data in a Jet or SQLServer database from a Web application, and while there are certainly ways to move ADO data back and forth over the Internet, Access isn’t a Web development tool. The closest that you get to Web development with Access is Data Access Pages—at best, a tool for distributing reports across the Internet. Continue reading

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