Jun 24

FMS Offers Custom Microsoft SQL Server Database Consulting Services

Consulting Services for Microsoft SQL Server As you may know, our Professional Solutions Group offers custom Microsoft ASP.NET solutions, but we are also known for providing Microsoft SQL Server consulting services for a variety of clients in the private and public sectors.

We encourage you to read more about our SQL Server database development services. Please contact us for a free assessment of your organization's requirements.

Jun 10

FMS Offers Custom Microsoft ASP.NET Website Development Services

Consulting Services for Microsoft ASP.NET Over the past year our Professional Solutions Group has delivered some notable ASP.NET web projects, including The HotMommas Project, a case study competition website for women entrepreneurs that has received a lot of press, and a competency and courseware management system for the DoD's Defense Acquisition University

We encourage you to read more about our ASP.NET web development services. If you need a quality website, we have an experienced group of business consultants, web developers and database experts that would love to help. Please contact us for a free assessment of your organization's requirements.

Jun 10

Video: Migrating Your Data Tier to SQL Server: Strategies for Survival

Panel Discussion on Migrating Data to SQL Server

I participated on this panel at the Microsoft TechEd Conference to explore the different reasons and approaches for migrating applications to Microsoft SQL Server. In addition to moving the data to SQL Server, ideas are presented for transforming applications to offer additional features while maintaining budgets. (43 minutes)

Jun 10

Video on the History of FMS: Surviving Uncertain Times

Video: Surviving Uncertain Times: History of FMSAt the Microsoft TechEd conference. Microsoft’s Mary Chipman conducted a one-on-one interview about the history of FMS and how we’ve survived the economic and technical cycles over our 23 years of existence. Learn more about FMS, our successes and challenges over the years and today. (28 minutes)

Jun 03

Video: The World Turned Upside Down: Development Strategies for Lean Times

Worried about your job or career?  Uncertain about what to do to protect your future?  

Watch this video from my panel discussion at the Microsoft TechEd Conference. Hear me share my experiences at FMS with fiver other developers, and different ways we've survived over our careers. Entitled The World Turned Upside Down: Development Strategies for Lean Times, the video is 51 minutes.

May 11

Microsoft Access Queries: “Unique Values” (DISTINCT) vs. “Unique Records” (DISTINCTROW)

When creating queries in Access, you may have noticed the query properties “Unique Values” and “Unique Records”. Are you familiar with the difference between these properties?

“Unique Values” and “Unique Records” correspond with the DISTINCT and DISTINCTROW statements (respectively) in the query’s SQL. Although they sometimes provide the same results, there are significant differences in how they work:

  • DISTINCT checks for unique values only in the fields selected for output, and eliminates duplicate rows. Results are not updatable, since they do not necessarily correspond with a unique record.
  • DISTINCTROW checks for unique values in all fields in the table that you are querying, not just the fields listed for output. If the table is keyed, the results are updatable, since they correspond with a single record in the underlying data.

Learn more and view an example of the differences in our new paper on Microsoft Access Queries: Distinct versus DistinctRow.

Visit our Microsoft Access Query Help Center for more query tips.

May 06

Speaking at Microsoft TechEd in Los Angeles

Microsoft's annual TechEd conference is being held in Los Angeles next week.  Microsoft has invited me to participate on a few panels including:

  • Let's Talk about Software Consulting as a Business
  • Migrating Your Data Tier to SQL Server: Strategies for Survival
  • The World Turned Upside Down: Development Strategies for Lean Times

For more information, times and rooms, please visit our Upcoming Events page.  Be sure to find me up if you are there.

Mar 06

New Video on Microsoft Access and SQL Server Migration Challenges

Over the years, I have had an ongoing discussion about how Microsoft Access best fits in an organization's database strategy. Similar to how some Excel files evolve beyond the capabilities of a spreadsheet and move to Access, some Access applications grow beyond the features of Access.  Recently, I was interviewed by Microsoft’s Architect Evangelist Dr. Zhiming Xue on dealing with Access Database based solutions and the challenges of migrating them to SQL Server. Watch the 22 minute video and read more about Migrating Microsoft Access Databases to SQL Server. Let me know what you think.

Jan 29

Taking Advantage of Emailing Microsoft Access Data and Reports

Microsoft Access Email BlasterTotal Access EmailerMicrosoft Access Email Microsoft Access

One of the most powerful ways to increase productivity is automating the distribution of personalized data to your contacts. Whether they are customers, prospects, or internal people, simplifying communications is a wonderful result of all your efforts collecting and analyzing data. With our Total Access Emailer program, we are helping thousands of people leverage the power of emails and their Microsoft Access data.  Easily send HTML emails with references to your data fields to personalize each message.  You can even add filtered data from a table or query, or email Microsoft Access reports either as attachments or as your HTML email.  Total Access Emailer makes it easy to do on a one time basis or continuously. It runs as an Access add-in with a Wizard interface, and also has a programmatic interface with runtime library to launch emails from VBA code.

Recently, we’ve helped several organizations create Access applications where email was a critical part of the solution. For Harvard College, we developed a system to manage the assignment of interviewers and candidates. An Access database on SQL Server is used by an administrator to match the two parties, then an email sent out to the interviewer. The Interviewer then visits an ASP.NET web site to record whether they accepted or declined the assignment, and upload their results. Reminders are automatically sent if no response is received by a certain time. It’s running hot and heavy now as interviewing season comes to a close for this year’s applicants.

Similarly, we created a solution for a national firm in the customer loyalty business to improve their partners’ communications with the customers they’ve signed up. The main application is a web-based ASP.NET and SQL Server solution, but we decided to build the communications part in Access. This separated it from the transactional load on the web site and simplified its development. The marketing people could design their emails in HTML and use Total Access Emailer to replace the fields in the message with the data downloaded from SQL Server. After tweaking their message, previewing sample emails, and getting it perfect, they could launch the blast on their own. The result was a personalized email to each participant with a custom letterhead with graphics for each affinity partner as if the message came directly from them. We’ve created monthly statements, a campaign for Toys for Tots, and other notifications to drive build a closer relationship between the partners and their customers.

So if you want to send emails from database, learn more about Total Access Emailer.  A free 30 day trial version to send emails from Access is available. If you’d like us to help you create a custom solution in Access or .NET with email, please contact our Professional Solutions Group.

Jan 05

FMS Offers Access to SQL Server Migration Services

FMS has offered Access to SQL Server "upsizing" (aka conversion or migration) services for a number of years. We have been working with Microsoft to help customers convert their database applications from Access-based systems to (most typically) SQL Server and ASP.NET websites and web applications. We are one of the few companies in the world who are recognized by Microsoft as being experts at Access to SQL Server migration (see our whitepaper and partner link at the bottom of that page on the Microsoft website).

To kick off 2009, we are offering special rates on these services. Please contact us or give us a call at 703-356-4700 to find out how we can help your organization take the next step.