We are very pleased to announce the creation of our new (and free) Microsoft Access Developer Help Center. It contains our many popular papers with tips and techniques for becoming a better Microsoft Access developer, programmer, and administrator. It covers the whole life cycle from strategic planning of how MS Access fits, database and table design, form and report tips, programming do's and don'ts, deployment, best practices, performance tips, etc.
In Access 2010 and 2007 databases (ACCDBs), the Attachment field type lets you attach files (documents, files, etc.) to records in your database. When you open the table in Datasheet view, the attachment fields display a paperclip as the column header.
Microsoft released service pack 1 (SP1) of Office 2010 late June 2011. Information on the update and download instructions are in their Knowledgebase article 2460049. The KB article was last updated yesterday.
Unfortunately, we and some of our customers have encountered problems after installing the update. While we haven’t had exhaustive testing with SP1 and tentatively believe everything is okay with the 32 bit version, there are definitely compatibility problems with the 64 bit version of Access 2010. In particular, ACCDE files created in the original release of Access 2010 64 bit no longer run under SP1. This error message appears:
The database cannot be opened because the VBA project contained in it cannot be read. The database can be opened only if the VBA project is first deleted. Deleting the VBA project removes all code from modules, forms and reports. You should back up your database before attempting to open the database and delete the VBA project.
Obviously, with an ACCDE file, unlike an ACCDB file, you can’t modify the VBA project. It requires rebuilding the ACCDE from SP1.
So far, we have not experienced problems with our 32-bit ACCDE files between the original and SP1 Access 2010 versions. Some of these issues have been noted in these articles:
This is a Microsoft KB article discussing the problem which impacts ACCDE, MDE, and ADE files created with Access 2010, 64-bit. For us, when we create MDE and ADE files for use across multiple versions of Access, we’ve used Access 2003 so that still works fine. The only time we use Access 2010 64-bit version is when we’re creating an ACCDE specifically for Access 2010 64-bit users.
This issue impacts two of our products’ Access 2010 64 bit versions:
We have created new builds of these products and are undergoing internal testing and QA to verify they work with SP1. When ready, we’ll release free updates of these products to existing customers. If you need it earlier, please contact our support team. Note that this does not impact the Access 2010 32 bit version.
Regardless of whether you are using our products or not, please be aware of the compatibility issues if you’re using the 64-bit version of Access and deploying ACCDE files. You will need to make sure your Access version is in sync with your users’ version. Unfortunately, this bug occurs before any of your code can run to provide instructions to your users or offer a graceful exit.
Not sure what version you have installed? Run Access, select the File menu, and click on Help. The version informing is shown on the right side and will show (SP1).
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:
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:
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. Read our paper on Pinpointing the Exact Line Where a Crash Occurs in VB6 or VBA. 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.
Download the free preview of Total Visual CodeTools 2010 for Microsoft Office/Access 2010. The Preview Version is fully functional through the end of July 2011. Take advantage of this opportunity to see how Total Visual CodeTools can cleanup the code in your existing projects, let you deliver more robust solutions, and simplify your daily coding chores.
Integrated directly into the Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Total Visual CodeTools gives you a rich set of tools to help you create, cleanup, and deliver better solutions. The latest version is enhanced for MS Office/Access 2010 and has many new features:
Supports Microsoft Access/Office 2010, 32-bit version
VBA Code Parsing Supports Access/Office 2010
Code Cleanup and Code Delivery Allow Immediate Overwrite
Code Cleanup Error Enabler and Handler Tags are Customizable
Copy Control Builder Supports Multiple Target Controls
Long Text/SQL Builder Supports Query Retrieval and Converts Tabs and Spaces
Select Case Builder Supports Text Blocks and Numeric Ranges
Recordset Builder Defaults to Current Database and Simplifies Selections
Three Locations for Total Visual CodeTools on Your Menus
Tools Available During Debugging
Default ‘Send To’ is Remembered
Screens are Resizable
Redesigned Storage of Standards for Improved International Support
Here’s an article by FMS President Luke Chung that was recently published on the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Washington DC web site discussing the need for small business owners to Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Your IT System. Luke has been a member of EO for over a decade and previously served as the Washington DC chapter president.
The article covers our experiences working with people running small to medium sized organizations, and the challenges they face to address business process continuation issues. An overview of the basic steps are covered.
As someone running a small organization, it’s easy to be consumed by day-to-day needs and neglect the importance of disaster recovery. Not only is it awful to think about, it requires detailed planning and thought to implement properly. Over the years, we’ve seen organizations run into problems because of inadequate planning and testing, so here are some pointers we’ve learned.
Unfortunately, bad things happen. You may have business insurance to pay for replacing your hardware, but for most organizations the value is in the data. Customer lists and purchase histories, accounting, inventory, operational reports and processes, management decision making systems, and even simple Word and Excel files can be critical to the success of your organization. Making sure these are accessible in the event of an emergency is worth considering before a disaster strikes.
Disasters can be on many levels. Certainly, there’s the chance of your whole building burning down but the more common situation is hardware failure or human error. All hardware eventually dies and a hard disk containing critical corporate information could just fail. Similarly, someone could make a mistake and accidentally delete data or files that need to be recovered. It may not threaten the whole organization but could be expensive and time consuming to recover.
The purpose of the SQL UNION query is to combine the results of two or more queries into a single result set. The list contains all the rows belonging to all the queries in the union. This applies to queries in SQL Server or Microsoft Access. A common question is whether to use the UNION or UNION ALL syntax.
The main difference between UNION ALL and UNION is that, UNION only selects distinct values and sorts the results, while UNION ALL selects all values (including duplicates) without sorting. Read our revised paper on UNION versus UNION ALL SQL Syntax to learn more about the differences, see some examples, and understand why you would use one versus the other.
Since our beginning in 1986, we’ve served large organizations with our leading-edge solutions designed to help people make better data-based decisions. Whether it’s on PC desktops, networks, the Internet, and more recently mobile devices, we recognize you need to have the data you need, where and when you need it, in a format that helps you make decisions and avoid mistakes. We also understand the challenges of balancing application functionality with the cost and requirements of regulators, auditors, and enterprise IT.
Our general philosophy is to quickly create sophisticated solutions built on a solid database foundation. Designed to scale and expand, our solutions evolve as your business demands it. Sometimes we can anticipate future needs in our design, but more often, the application evolves based on unforeseen events such as changes in the economy, regulations, new products and customers, or competitive pressure. With our staff of experienced developers, we can quickly adapt our solutions to meet your needs. Rapid development and deployment, fail quickly and cheaply, and water and nurture the seeds that grow and justify additional investment.
We understand the needs of large organizations and deliver the quality you demand. FMS products are used by tens of thousands of customers in over 100 countries including 90 of the Fortune 100.
He discusses the dynamics of IT departments in large organizations and their natural conflict with the needs and budgets of information worker. He also shows how organizations that understand the strengths and weaknesses of Microsoft Access can leverage its power for competitive advantage, and how to structure service levels to do so.