The Microsoft Office Product That Refuses to Die

Several of you have sent me an article on asking my thoughts on it:

Microsoft Access: The Database Software That Won’t Die

I agree with some points and am amazed that the author completely missed one point in particular.

Access is sooo easy to use that…

I agree with his point that it’s hard NOT to get an Access database to work, and I take it step further: It’s absolutely mind blowing someone with ZERO relational database training can create mission critical database applications that endure for years.

At IT Impact we constantly get calls from firms looking to upgrade or fix their Access app that’s been working non-stop until the employee who created it left or it’s too old to work with Windows 10, (Access 2007 and prior no longer do).

Readers of this blog already know, here are some of the reasons why Access just works:

  • No need for primary keys to edit data
  • Large selection of templates
  • Auto creation of secondary keys when the field name ens in “ID”
  • Wizards to quickly create forms and reports
  • Easy to use Macro builder
  • A wealth of online articles on how to fix, do or improve upon your database

Another wrong point: Microsoft is NOT trying to kill Access

The issue here is Microsoft considers Access a mature product and it’s not going to get the love other Office products such as Outlook or Excel receives. But that doesn’t mean the product is stagnant or by the wayside.

Quite the contrary, for the last three years I’ve noticed a renewed renaissance of Access led by the former Access product manager Michal Bar, who did an outstanding job introducing great features and communicating well at conferences and user groups. This track record belies the theme Microsoft is trying to kill Access.

Our new product manager, Ebo  Quansah, who has started just a few months ago has made some promising moves and I look forward to his vision and road map soon.

dBase IS supported, but what happened to ADPs?

The article mentions how the “evil” minions at Microsoft tried to sideline Access by removing dBase support, but neglects to mention how the community uproar that followed forced Microsoft’s hand to include it again. If Microsoft wanted to kill Access why bring back support for dBase?

He also mentions how the super easy upgrade path to SQL Server was removed, along with Access Data Projects, (ADPs), but truth be told we have a great tool in SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access that does a bang up job and the ADP feature was too much to maintain in keeping up with the rapid succession of SQL Server versions, which was a shame.

SQL Server: The best thing to happen to Access

The author mentions SQL Server in comparison to Access, which totally misses the point on how the two co-exist quite well. He goes so far to suggest people would, “gasp”, use Visual Studio Enterprise:

“Consider — for a moment — what’s involved setting up a professional database solution. To assemble the SQL Server Express [solution]...Choose a programming language, database library, and development environment. Maybe you’ll pick something like

Visual Studio Community


Not ONCE mentioning that Access is a great, and much less expensive, programming language for SQL Server and awesome frontend:

  1. It takes HALF the time to develop in Access with SQL Server, I know because we do Visual Studio development as well as Access and it’s always twice as expensive with the latter.
  2. You can’t beat how easy it is to create reports with the wizards and native functionality. With VS? Good luck trying to learn SQL Server reporting services in the time it would take you to learn Access.
  3. Leveraging the POWER of Microsoft Office: Creating PDF’s, emails, Excel spreadsheets and charts is laughably easy. All this awesome Office technology allows an Access developer to create rich solutions with minimum effort.
  4. Service large groups of users, up to 100! We’ve designed entire mission critical apps for insurance, medical and manufacturing industries that allow clients to do more with the same amount of people, improve customer service and in some cases even allow the company to grow 100% a year. With Access we can have a great solution up in 3 months. Visual Studio? Try at least 6 months to a year, if you’re lucky.

Learn more about Access with SQL Server Tuesday November 12th, 2019

Every year I host three sessions of Access with SQL Server academy: easy, intermediate and advanced. Join me this Tuesday November 12th, 2019 as we continue with intermediate discussion:
– Link views back to Access
SQL Server Security
– Configuring SQL Server Surface Exposure
– SQL Server vs. Domain Security, which one is more secure?
– Your questions answered during the Q&A with me

To connect please see the link here: