Nov 15

Total Access Analyzer Product Review

Microsoft Access 2010Microsoft Access Database DocumentationMicrosoft Access Database DocumentationMicrosoft Access Documenter

Geoff Hollander of Northwest Database Services and the Portland Access User Group wrote a review of our Total Access Analyzer product. He provides a nice discussion of how it finds ways to improve his Access applications:

"I always thought that I was thorough about going through an application and cleaning up loose ends, but Total Access Analyzer proved: I was wrong and I probably won't call another application complete until Total Access Analyzer gives it the OK."

He also suggests how the documentation it generates and its reports are a business opportunity:

"Selling a documentation package generated by Total Access Analyzer for your application is a great way to add a training-free, trouble-free and reasonably priced profit center to the work you are already performing!….Total Access Analyzer is a solid product that any Access developer should have in their toolbox; and one that will pay for itself in short order."

Read the complete review

Jun 24

Microsoft Access Database System Administration

Many people deploy Microsoft Access database applications and neglect to provide the system administration necessary to properly support and maintain them over time. This becomes critical as the data it contains grows and becomes mission critical. Often, when something goes wrong, IT “professionals” are brought in to discover basic system administration are not in place. Rather than blaming the people involved, the Microsoft Access technology is considered at fault. We can do better.

Here’s a response I recently provided related to this issue:

First, I hope you have a disaster recovery plan in place. You may want to read my paper for what we consider best practices:Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications.

Second, Access/Jet databases need to be periodically compacted to minimize corruption and bloat, and for optimal performance. The back-end database with the data is what needs to be compacted. You can do that manually. We created a commercial program Total Visual Agent: that does it on a schedule with auditing and email notification if something goes wrong.

Third, if you are experiencing corruption after regular database maintenance, it’s often caused by a suspect connection/user who disconnects in an improper manner. That can be very difficult to detect and replicate. We have a commercial product, Total Access Admin, that monitors the people going in and out of an Access database, logs that activity, and flags the people who exit improperly. If it’s happening with the same person, there may be a hardware or network problem causing the corruption.

Finally, it may be possible that the corruption and performance problems are due to the front-end application. Bad code and techniques, corrupt objects, and other issues may be causing crashes and problems that lead to corruption. We address this in a few ways:

  1. We adopt, implement, and detect/fix deviations recommended by Total Access Analyzer: Microsoft Access Best Practices Techniques
  2. We implement global error handling that records crashes by users to text files so we have evidence of what failed. In addition to the procedure call stack, current procedure, error number and description, we also want the line number: http://www.fmsinc.com/free/NewTips/VBA/ErrorHandling/LineNumber.html This makes it significantly easier and quicker to reproduce and fix bugs.

Overall, it’s about having a solid and repeatable process and checklist in place that evolves over time as new experiences are encountered.

Feb 15

Luke Chung Speaking at Portland Access User Group Conference in May

FMS President Luke Chung will be attending and speaking at the three day Microsoft Access conference sponsored by the Portland Oregon Access User Group.  Join him and other guest speakers including Alison Balter from InfoTech Services Group Inc., Armen Stein from J Street Technology, and Kevin Bell from Microsoft.

Luke will be speaking on the following topics:

  • FMS Products for Microsoft Access Developers and How they Make You Money
  • Microsoft Access and Azure: Working in the Cloud
  • Microsoft Access Disaster Recovery Plans

For complete details visit PAUG 2011 Database Designer Conference and see you there May 14-16

Apr 02

Update Patch for Total Access Analyzer 2002

Microsoft Access Database DocumentationMicrosoft Access Database DocumentationMicrosoft Access Documenter

Total Access Analyzer examines all your database objects to provide extensive documentation, cross-reference, and application and flow diagrams, with over 350 presentation-quality reports. It detects 280+ types of errors, suggestions, and performance tips, so you can learn and apply Best Practices to improve and speed up your Microsoft Access applications.

As part of our commitment to quality, we are pleased to announce that we have released a new update for Total Access Analyzer 2002, version 10.8. This update resolves all known issues since their original release.

The updates are available free of charge to registered owners who were notified via email. If you did not receive instructions, please contact us so we can update your information. 

Mar 16

Latest Product Updates from FMS

As part of our commitment to quality software, FMS regularly releases product update patches to add new enhancements and resolve known issues. Most recently, we have released updates for Total Access Emailer, Total Access Analyzer 2007, and Total Visual CodeTools. Updates have been sent to all registered owners—contact us if you did not receive your update.

You can check for updates in most FMS products by using the built-in Update Wizard. From the Windows Start menu, select All Programs, FMS, Program Name, Update Wizard. Follow the wizard prompts to check for updates.