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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    4

    Lightbulb Unanswered: Want to make a database but don't know what to use

    Hi, this is my first post so don't dig in my ass if it's not totally in the right place.

    So I want to make a database but I'm not sure which type/program would be ideal for me. I want to create a simple (maybe not) program similar to Excel in that it does calculations based on input in columns and rows. I want to be able to select a variable from an entire collection of variables (via a search bar or drop down menu) and have it's numerical attributes plugged into Excel-like cells for automatic calculations. I'm pretty sure this is possible to make, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about creating it. I'm kinda leaning towards using Access and Excel to make this happen, but that's only because it's all I've been exposed to. And I'd rather not use a cheesy Microsoft certified template. If anyone can provide me with some insight or point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    3,926
    Welcome to dbforums studweiser83.

    Asking about what type of program to use in an MSAccess forum usually yields only 1 answer.

    If you're familiar with Excel and the expressions/calculations it uses, MSAccess uses the same types of expressions/calculations.

    The Northwinds database example that ships with MSAccess is a good start along with the MSAccess Developers books by Sybex. MSAccess 2007 has supposedly gotten much better with database templates to do just about anything.
    Last edited by pkstormy; 10-19-09 at 20:49.
    Expert Database Programming
    MSAccess since 1.0, SQL Server since 6.5, Visual Basic (5.0, 6.0)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    Yea I guess I set myself up for failure with that one. Kinda like going into an AA meeting and asking everyone's favorite beer and then acting shocked by all the dirty looks.

    But really thanks for the info. Are Access databases exportable so that they can used in a stand alone program or does MSAccess need to be installed? I guess what I'm asking is if the database could be used as a backend to a simple VB program or something of the likes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    Provided Answers: 59
    it can be a wee bit confusing in the access world
    access itself isn't a database per se, its a way creating a front end to get 'access' to the data. it can talk to many datastores, hwoever the default datastore is JET, which is a freely available data engine available to many front end tools such as excel, .NET, VB.

    however you cannot run an Access app unless you have a copy of Access or Access runtime installed.

    you can run .NET, VB and other traditional languages without any other licencing issues (except the development machine).


    if you are concerned about licencing costs then an option my be to look at open office which has a free spreadsheet, database and word processor and so on. but open office isn't as capable as Microsoft Office. think of it as pareto's law, open office does something like 80..90% of MS Office, but they woudl argue that the missing 10..20% is rarely used by most users.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    I was toying with the idea of using Open Office as well, but it would still require the end user to install most of, if not all of the suite, only to use one of the apps. It's not a matter of licensing but more of convenience.

    Heldem,
    I'm going to sit down and get familiar with Access and database mechanics but you mentioned Access can be a bit confusing, is there another program that you think would better suit me?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    369
    I would use Access for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, as healdem has already mentioned you can use Access Runtime if a computer does not have Access. It can be downloaded for free from Microsoft. What is downloaded is 2007 but it runs DBs made in early versions of Access. I use 2007 Runtime to run DBs made in 2003. This an ideal solution for a computer that has MS Office Standard, that is, Excel, Word and Outlook but not Access. Of course if the computer does not have MS Office standard you are missing Excel and Word and in my opinion working Access together with Word and Excel adds another very large dimension.

    Secondly, since Access is so widely used by professional developers, power users, hobbyists etc, there is just about always an answer for any problem. And because Word and Excel use VBA that even expands the tank full of potential solutions. I have been using Access since A95 and at a fairly advanced level sicne about 2004 and so far I have never had a problem that I could not get solved with 24/48hours. Of course that might have meant a combination of forums or just about wearing out Google

    Not only do you have all the third party software additions available but there are numerous solutions to Access shortfalls provided by very advanced users. For example, Steven Leban's code to convert 2003 Reports to PDF files.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the info Mike375, from what I gather on here Access will do close to, if not everything that I'm looking for. Now it's time to lock myself in the house for the next week and read, read, read

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