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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Cleveland USA
    Posts
    184

    Question Unanswered: Replication IDs for non-replicated dbs?

    I've just been "given" a database that was started but not completed. There are some AutoNumber fields that are set to Replication ID. I'm not sure if the intention was to eventually replicate the database, but there doesn't seem to be a need for it since it'll just be accessible by a handful of users from a network. Is there a benefit to using a Replication ID instead of integers?

    As for replication in general, when is it a good idea? From the research I've done so far, it looks like it's used to give multiple users a copy of the database for remote, off-the-network usage, but looks like it may be pretty complicated and require a lot of maintenance. It seems to me that if you need that kind of complexity, you'd upgrade to a more robust database.

    Any words of wisdom you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I am pretty good with Access in general, but haven't worked with replication before. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Caldes de Malavella, Spain
    Posts
    244
    Firstly, there is no real advantage in using Replication IDs instead of Autonumber long integers if you are not going to replicate a database.

    As for replication itself......stay clear.

    Replication was introdued into Access in order to give Access sime of the funcionality of programs like Lotus Notes. But in my experience it's a nightmare. Why? It's not stable. Data gets corrupted. Yes, users can work offline. But there is a catch....record conflicts during replication.

    Let's say that a user A, working offline, edits record 15 in a table. So there are two different versions of the same record - the user's and the original in the master table they are going to replicate with. When the user replicates, Access tells them that their version of the record is different to the one in the table. It asks which version they want to keep - theirs or the original. Now, you'd think that the user's record would automatically update the one in the master table, wouldn't you? No. For every record that has been edited so that it's different to the original, the Conflict Wizard pops up and asks the user what to do. Can you imagine if the user has edited 500 records?

    And you cannot configure Access to do anything other than ask the user what to do about conflicts. I am talking here, incidentally, about replication as it was in Access 97/2000 - I haven't looked at it since and don't particularly want to. But I suspect it hasn't changed.

    You can, additionally and theoretically, replicate over the Net, but setting the process up is a nightmare. I wrote a system where users could replicate over a phone line using a Microsoft protocol whose name escapes me, but it was unbearably slow and would often fail altogether.

    Lastly, you can also replicate objects in the database, so any design changes to the Design Master get replicated as well as the data, but you should never, ever do this as those objects get corrupted on a regular basis.

    I am sorry to be so downbeat about replication, but in my experience it was something that Microsoft tried to implement in Access, made a very poor job of it and then couldn't back out.

    I hope this helps.
    Andy Briggs
    Elmhurst Solutions Limited
    Database Development and Consultancy
    http://www.elmhurstsolutions.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Caldes de Malavella, Spain
    Posts
    244
    Firstly, there is no real advantage in using Replication IDs instead of Autonumber long integers if you are not going to replicate a database.

    As for replication itself......stay clear.

    Replication was introduced into Access in order to give Access some of the funcionality of programs like Lotus Notes. But in my experience it's a nightmare. Why? It's not stable. Data gets corrupted. Yes, users can work offline. But there is a catch....record conflicts during replication.

    Let's say that a user A, working offline, edits record 15 in a table. So there are two different versions of the same record - the user's and the original in the master table they are going to replicate with. When the user replicates, Access tells them that their version of the record is different to the one in the table. It asks which version they want to keep - theirs or the original. Now, you'd think that the user's record would automatically update the one in the master table, wouldn't you? No. For every record that has been edited so that it's different to the original, the Conflict Wizard pops up and asks the user what to do. Can you imagine if the user has edited 500 records?

    And you cannot configure Access to do anything other than ask the user what to do about conflicts. I am talking here, incidentally, about replication as it was in Access 97/2000 - I haven't looked at it since and don't particularly want to. But I suspect it hasn't changed.

    You can, additionally and theoretically, replicate over the Net, but setting the process up is a nightmare. I wrote a system where users could replicate over a phone line using a Microsoft protocol whose name escapes me, but it was unbearably slow and would often fail altogether.

    Lastly, you can also replicate objects in the database, so any design changes to the Design Master get replicated as well as the data, but you should never, ever do this as those objects get corrupted on a regular basis.

    I am sorry to be so downbeat about replication, but in my experience it was something that Microsoft tried to implement in Access, made a very poor job of it and then couldn't back out.

    I hope this helps.
    Andy Briggs
    Elmhurst Solutions Limited
    Database Development and Consultancy
    http://www.elmhurstsolutions.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Caldes de Malavella, Spain
    Posts
    244
    Firstly, there is no real advantage in using Replication IDs instead of Autonumber long integers if you are not going to replicate a database.

    As for replication itself......stay clear.

    Replication was introduced into Access in order to give Access some of the functionality of programs like Lotus Notes. But in my experience it's a nightmare. Why? It's not stable. Data gets corrupted. Yes, users can work offline. But there is a catch....record conflicts during replication.

    Let's say that a user A, working offline, edits record 15 in a table. So there are two different versions of the same record - the user's and the original in the master table they are going to replicate with. When the user replicates, Access tells them that their version of the record is different to the one in the table. It asks which version they want to keep - theirs or the original. Now, you'd think that the user's record would automatically update the one in the master table, wouldn't you? No. For every record that has been edited so that it's different to the original, the Conflict Wizard pops up and asks the user what to do. Can you imagine if the user has edited 500 records?

    And you cannot configure Access to do anything other than ask the user what to do about conflicts. I am talking here, incidentally, about replication as it was in Access 97/2000 - I haven't looked at it since and don't particularly want to. But I suspect it hasn't changed.

    You can, additionally and theoretically, replicate over the Net, but setting the process up is a nightmare. I wrote a system where users could replicate over a phone line using a Microsoft protocol whose name escapes me, but it was unbearably slow and would often fail altogether.

    Lastly, you can also replicate objects in the database, so any design changes to the Design Master get replicated as well as the data, but you should never, ever do this as those objects get corrupted on a regular basis.

    I am sorry to be so downbeat about replication, but in my experience it was something that Microsoft tried to implement in Access, made a very poor job of it and then couldn't back out.

    I hope this helps.
    Andy Briggs
    Elmhurst Solutions Limited
    Database Development and Consultancy
    http://www.elmhurstsolutions.com

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