Microsoft Access is a like a dirt bike

Posted by | March 01, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Volano is a pragmatic development group.  We are a Microsoft shop, but we are not religious about software or hardware choices. Wise technologists know that different groups have different needs at different times and have different preferences.

That being said, I recently had a client ask about the efficacy of using Microsoft Access to run a new business division for 18 months.  Here are my thoughts:

Microsoft Access has its place.  Refer to Microsoft for their thoughts.  You will note that this marketing material does not mention running your business or using Access as your software development platform. Rather, Access is for data manipulation, visualizing data on your desktop, and perhaps for sharing data with very small teams; but not much more.  Hey, I fully understand many businesses, states, and federal agencies have run 10+ years on Access.  However, it is time to relegate Access to its rightful place, and here is why…

It is better for one person than a team.

  • No intrinsic technique for deploying new versions to multiple users.
  • Source code is manifest as a single file.  It is hard to revision and share as a development team.

Not positioned for the future.

  • Access isn’t engineered for the web or the cloud.
  • From a data access technology standpoint, Access’s Jet is considered a deprecated technology.

It is not less expensive and the upgrade path is not simple.

  • Developers can use FREE enterprise toolsets:  Microsoft SQL Express and Visual Studio Express.
  • You will re-write the Access application later.  Paying twice is not less expensive.
  • The performance of Access upgraded to SQL is often worse because of the mixed database engines.

KTM 530

Bottom line – Microsoft Access is like a dirt bike; it can fun for one person that is out zipping around.  But if you’re running a business get something practical.