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  1. #1
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    Question Unanswered: What do YOU want to see in the Microsoft Access forum?

    Hiya everyone:

    As many of you know, the idea of creating a FAQ and codebank for the MS Access form has been kicked around for some time now. Whereas the general concensus has been positive regarding these additions, I'm going to begin the process of implementing them.

    I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

    I have a few ideas in my head about what type of content and layout to use for the FAQ and codebank, but I don't own the joint. I'm just another user like you guys, except I have a snazzy orange title and you don't.

    With that in mind, I have created this thread as an open forum to voice any ideas/questions/comments that you may have to improve the MS Access forum.

    Ok guys, fire away!


    +++++++++++++++++++++

    This section lists suggestions thus far, I will keep it updated as more feedback is supplied:

    Last edited by Teddy; 02-11-06 at 01:16.
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy
    I'm going to begin the process of implementing them.
    Yay for Teddy!

    100% support from this member.
    To help kick things off some of my musings:
    Code bank to be fully moderated and a definitive set of minimum requirements clearly posted (e.g. annotated code, summary of what the thing actually does perhaps also mentioning some of the techniques that might be of interest e.g. "included in this code is an example of dimensioning an object using WithEvents", some minimum level of usefullness (remember my table DDL generator? )). Also a thread level announcement that any code is free for use in the users project if credited to the author (probably with the old commented out code header to be left intact trick) and that submission of code is an agreement to this philosophy.

    I have also thought, in my idle moments, how best to link to resources (be it a code bank or FAQ). We have all seen great long lists at the top of other forums i.e. the index and the detail in a single post. Dunno about you but if I can't locate something pretty quickly (maybe using Ctrl+F if I feel conscientious) I usually ignore them.
    Would having a directory structure kind of set up (no more than 2-3 layers deep) be an idea? E.g. the FAQ sticky has about 10-15 broad topics, all hot linked. Each hotlink (e.g. for example off the top of my head - Autonumbers) links to another post. This post contains a detailed list of actual Autonumber topics (e.g. my autonumbers are not continuous, how do I reseed my autonumbers, I have set an autonumber on the FK and PK but it doesn't work etc), each hot linked to the actual answer (perhaps another post, perhaps a KB article etc).

    Also - how do we submit stuff to you? Should we have a special subject that flags the submission, PM you, reply to the sticky and then you delete\ move code\ attachments\ links as you see fit?

    And finally (gasp...gulp...ahurr....ahhhhuurrrr) perhaps something like Brett's sticky in SQL Server forum specifying the sort of info we need to help people (i.e. no more "DAO doesn't work when I execute my SQL - what's wrong?"). On the other hand, 20 stickies at the top aren't desirable either

    Isn't it all terribly exciting?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pootle flump
    We have all seen great long lists at the top of other forums i.e. the index and the detail in a single post.
    Just thought - are we able to do the old linking-to something-on-the-same-web-page thing on this site? Can't remember the name but where you put a "tag" (wrong word I know) in your page and then link to it. I think you include the # symbol in the link or something....

    Oh blast
    Last edited by pootle flump; 02-09-06 at 12:30.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pootle flump
    Just thought - are we able to do the old linking-to something-on-the-same-web-page thing on this site? Can't remember the name but where you put a "tag" (wrong word I know) in your page and then link to it. I think you include the # symbol in the link for something....

    Oh blast
    Yes, you can. That's along the lines I was thinking of for navigation and organization. My idea is to keep all of the FAQ's in one thread and the code snippets in another. The first post would act as an "index" of sorts with "hotlinks" to different posts within the thread. I think it would work out well because everything is self contained in a central repository. This means less searching all over the place and easier maintenance for me (and healdem if he jumps in).

    The reason I propose a seperate thread for code bank is mainly for the benefit of more advanced users. It makes more sense to me to seperate the "advanced" code snippets that we can pilfer for difficult questions from the "HOW I RUNN3D SQL" questions. This means that in the code snippets thread, we could reasonably make a baseline assumption about the competency of the reader and trim down the "fluff" required to present our code snippets. Also, I could include a few basic 'README' grabbers in the faq such as: "O HAY, GOOGLE!" and "SQL <> MSSQL, the sql specification and you!" and of course "This is the homework forum rite?"

    I'm open to ideas though, anything at all...
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  5. #5
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    One thing that I would like to see is a template for initally asking a question. Too often users post questions with not enough information. I would like to see a pre-defined template for a user to fill out if they are posting a question. Helps to have the complete picture of the issue that they are encountering, and it would cut down on the size of the threads.

    Thoughts?

  6. #6
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    Not a terrible idea. One of the most pressing issues in the FAQ was going to be "How to ask a question". I wouldn't be opposed to some sort of template but I don't know how well it would be followed. In theory, if someone posts out of format, I guess we could just refer them to a relevant portion of the faq...
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  7. #7
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    Lightbulb Search Idea

    Hey Teddy,

    A simple idea (which usually means it's a pain to implement) would be to make the Quick Search function for the threads keyed to whatever forum the user is in when they do the search. So if you're in Oracle it would search Oracle, Access to Acess...you get the idea.

    Then if you're on the main page it would search all forums and the advanced search would allow cross forum searching as well as the other advanced functions.

    Just a thought....and thanks for helping out on improving a great site.

    Chris

  8. #8
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    That's probably more of a question for SWF, I'll bring it up to him. You are aware that you can narrow your search to one forum in the "advanced" section of the current search function right?
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  9. #9
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    I would like to see some more "access to sql server" and/or "sql server to access" solutions.

    This is my favorite forum all around, but sometimes I'm not sure if I should search the client (access) side or the server (SQL server) side. There is a line betwieen VBA and T-SQL, but I think it's quite wide and very grey to many developers.
    Last edited by Monk010100; 02-10-06 at 23:22.
    Monk
    The person who confesses ignorance shows it once; the person who conceals it shows it many times.

  10. #10
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    An FAQ on how to work with forms would be helpful. I'd love to be able to code a UI that is both usable and stable.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk010100
    I would like to see some more "access to sql server" and/or "sql server to access" solutions.

    This is my favorite forum all around, but sometimes I'm not sure if I should search the client (access) side or the server (SQL server) side. There is a line betwieen VBA and T-SQL, but I think it's quite wide and very grey to many developers.
    Perhaps that could be a section of the FAQ? Basically we could describe a few troubleshooting procedures to assist in determining whether the issue lies with the front end or the back end.
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sco08y
    An FAQ on how to work with forms would be helpful. I'd love to be able to code a UI that is both usable and stable.
    An Access FAQ wouldn't be much of a FAQ if we didn't cover form design...
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  13. #13
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    Did a wee bit of scouting around. Looked at some FAQs elsewhere. Just thought it might help with ideas on what does and doesn't work. The main criterion appears to be someone actually putting some effort in to get a comprehensive and broad selection together. Then a clean, well grouped presentation. I think the very best ones are where all these are present in a dedicated FAQ section but we don't have that option - a decent and clean design doesn't appear to suffer too much from not having that nice compartmentalisation.

    Another differentiation appears to be links to real threads vs dedicated articles. Both have their merits but my two penneth worth is the dedicated articles - more thorough and generic but clearly much more effort if you start down the road of writing your own.

    Pat in SQL Server:
    http://www.dbforums.com/showthread.php?t=1212450
    http://www.dbforums.com/showthread.php?t=1212452

    VBForums FAQ
    http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?t=348141
    and how to submit an FAQ
    http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?t=335583

    SQL Team:
    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=55210

    Quite thorough Tek-Tips FAQ:
    http://www.tek-tips.com/faq.cfm?pid=702

    Quite a poor FAQ at UtterAccess:
    http://www.utteraccess.com/forums/po...?Cat=&Board=53

    non existant at access-programmer:
    http://www.access-programmers.co.uk/...splay.php?f=23

    Nice one at accessvba:
    http://www.accessvba.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2577
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  14. #14
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    Another thought (final paragraph) - more about DBF than the Access forum. But it kind of ties in well with your "please don't delete your original question if you figure out the solution on your own" post.
    Testimonial:
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  15. #15
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    What I would like to see for this forum:

    I think many would agree that the most important aspect and/or benefit of this forum is the education aspect. Education as in the concept of helping others learn the craft. The passing on of the hard earned/learned secrets of Access development.

    I think I can speak for many beginners (of which I consider myself) when I say I think there is a need for more educational references. References such as a section for complete details educating those who care to read a little about various subjects that are posted as questions frequently in the forum. I see a lot of great code on this forum that could be utilized by more non-experienced users if it would only contain more ‘comments, and or references to its use. Many of the responses I have seen seem to do a great job at addressing the posters immediate question, but do little to educate the beginner who is reading also. I am amazed at the number of Views posts get. I would suggest that many of these Views are people like myself that are trying to learn from the situations and answers that others are asking for help on. I know I read many many threads just looking for concepts and or useful ideas that I can adapt to my personal situation. Without the general implementation concepts and instructions many of these posts only benefit the poster.

    I would like to see a comprehensive resource area explaining some of the more commonly used aspects of Access. The “secrets” if you will of the experienced developers. I think that if there were an area that not only listed code or code concepts, but an explanation of how to implement such and/or its likely uses, explained in beginner format, you could both educate and limit repetitive questions, or at lease shorten the response necessary by pointing to the referenced material.

    I will use myself as an example… recently I posted a question to the forum regarding security in the form of a Logon ID routine. I searched the previous threads using the search function, however although I was able to find many posts regarding the function, I was unable to find one that talked me through implementation of the function, at least not at my experience level. By the number of posts on this subject it appears to be a frequently discussed topic yet no one thread covered the complete topic such that I was able to get it working. Yes, there were several different code modules available, and I came to find out that the one I chose to implement needed work (of which I was incapable of doing, not knowing VBA yet). I figured that if it was posted as a solution to a question/problem, it must be right. I saw many posts indicating and urging the use of the API function, however my experience level prohibited me from implementing that one due to no detailed instructions included. I would have liked to see a “security” link pointing to an article which contained specific instructions to implement the function, including where to put the code, how to call it, how to make it work on a form. Some may hold an opinion that if detailed instructions are necessary, the user would need to go back to class, however I have seen questions posted on the forum that indicate no matter the experience level, sometimes detailed instructions are necessary. After all, isn’t experience level relative? Wasn’t everyone an inexperienced user at some point? There is always someone who knows more.

    There are many more concepts that I think could be better explained in a base document format. Having base documents, I feel, would lessen the load of the ones who I see frequently answering the same questions over and over, and the document could be vetted as useful and accurate. A compressive base document on the various subjects (including the use and design of VBA code) would be extremely helpful. If a more experienced user did not need the level of detail given, they could simply skim over such, however low level detail would be extremely helpful to educate the inexperienced user. Simply making references to previous posts, which in my opinion many times lack specificity, are of little use to the inexperienced user, and do not benefit the “Viewers”.

    Just my 2-cents, from an inexperienced user. I hope other inexperienced users (perhaps the 275 who have viewed this thread) would submit their views also.

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