We have a MS Access 97 replicated and synchronized database running in our office which I created 10 years ago and contains a huge amount of data, forms and reports and which essentially runs our business. The "master" .mdb sits on a small cheap computer in a corner of our office and never crashes or needs much maintenance other than an automatic daily back-up. We have several users who run a local copy of access and a replicated backend which they synchronize periodically with the server. A small neat set-up that works great.
For the rest of our software we have switched to OpenOffice now that it has all its little bugs and issues ironed out and Firefox of course. Actually we are very impressed with what we are using. We use "The Bat" email client and a VPOP3 mail server running on the same little computer in the corner. All very good and dandy. We have the usual firewalls, Adaware, Spybot, Avast and AntiSpamSniper running in various places on our system.
All the clients run windows XP which we bought with each computer as we have acquired or replaced our machines over the years. We must have dozens of WinXP licences by now which have gone dormant.
So.. On Monday this week my laptop dies (it is now Thursday). I rush out and buy a beautiful little ACER which I think I am going to like a lot. And then the software installation started..
I soon discover that Access 97 will not run on the installed Windows 7 and I need to spend more money and that "XP Mode" would be my solution. After paying €190 for an "Ultimate" upgrade and about 10 hours of fiddling about with XP Mode I have concluded that Access 97 may well run in XP mode BUT my database files will not. I have reinstalled, updated, service packed the application to death and it simply will not work without crashing or giving strange error messages that we never had on the virgin WinXP platforms. I have basically given up.
Seeing as my laptop needs Win7 drivers etc. I have been reluctant to install WinXP but I may now have no choice.. This is now June 2010 and Microsoft have announced that XP will not be supported any more so my reluctance is obvious.
Late last night I downloaded a trial copy of Access 2010 and here are my conclusions and experience:
1. Man, is the interface ugly. The ribbon takes up so much space and what is the idea behind the "Navigation Pane". Yuck! I guess one can get used to anything, but I am not impressed so far.
2. Seems I must run my files in .mdb mode for the synchronization to still be possible but whatever I try I get meaningless error messages and it looks like even if I could get it to work the "Master" needs to be updated as well. After hours and hours or fixing and reading forum posts I have come to the conclusion that the backwards compatibility of using the format .mdb simply does not work reliably and even if I could eventually get it to work I would need to update every computer in the office to Access 2010 to be able to synchronize with the same "Master". WTF !!
3. I have concluded that the only way I can get the set-up to work is to move to the new access .accdb format. And this is where the fun really starts.. it will only work with a SharePoint server. A SharePoint server will only work with a Windows Server and all of this now requires licensing and hardware upgrades etc etc. I spent about an hour on the microsoft web site to try to figure out what this would all cost and simply could not find out any pricing... Apparently I need to apply for a "quote". This can only mean one thing! It will cost me a lot of money and time. Anyway, I do not want a "server". We are slowly moving towards cloud computing and I see this as a step backwards.
4. I do not really have a problem to buy a bunch of Access 2010 licences and move to the new version of Access.. But I have no desire to build a SharePoint server to simply get what I have today.. With no new features. And also, do not forget, I do not need to use a SharePoint server for anything else other than run store the Access master backend. I simply do not need any of its other features.
Anyway, this is a long post to simply ask one question:
What would you recommend we do? Is it time to abandon Access and move to another DB? In which case which one? It means a lot of work, but maybe I am cornered now and need to fight my way out of my microsoft trap. Maybe it is getting close to a time where we can abandon microsoft completely. The ONLY other reason we use windows is the for our printer drivers and "The Bat" email client.
The way Office 2010 seems to be developing I have less and less interest in getting to grips with it.
I have not found a single benefit within Windows 7 other than the fact that the operating system seems even more intrusive. All we want to do is use applications and I hate the way Windows 7 takes up so much time to get to grips with. For me an operating system should be hidden in the background and simply get on with it. I have to repeat.. What does Win7 do for me that WinXP did not? I have not found a single reason in my daily use to upgrade other than the fact that future drivers may not work anymore. I think Win7 is an industry wide conspiracy to get us all to spend more money for little or no benefit for the user.
Any ideas guys.. Specifically the database issue..
You milked Access97 for a long time - and that is fundamentally the issue. It is overdue for an upgrade, and in a way you are going to pay a little price in the hassle because you waited so long.
Yes the interface change that occurred at Office2007 (not 2010! and not just Access) is a big deal and a temporary productivity set back - - - but once you get to know it, it is ok.
You do not need sharepoint. Replication still exists in the .mdb format of Access2007 - but NOT in the .accdb format. I have not yet looked at 2010 to see if this is still true. If not, since replication is a big point for you, only upgrade to 2007 version.
First; convert your Access97 to Access2003. This half step is the price you pay for waiting so long. It is as simple as opening up the Access2003 and having it do the conversion. If you don't have 2003 find a local Access developer to do that for you - he/she will surely have it....this takes about 1 minute unless something bombs....i.e. custom code for which references can't be found...in which case your developer should be able to fix.
Then you will have the .mdb file that Access2007/2010 can read. Is it possible there are some issues opening in 2007/2010? yes, there are many posts of people moving from 2003 to 2007 where some code simply does not behave the same, and so the same is true here. Also you need to understand the new Trust Center that was introduced in 2007. Buy a textbook.
You will not be able to avoid the new Access 2007/2010 Ribbon for long...
Rennaisance: Ribbon-style interface (3.3)
When the Microsoft Office suite moved to the Ribbon interface, most people had a lot of difficulty getting used to it. But as usual, everyone did get used to it. Now a lot of end users prefer the Ribbon interface to the standard interface. This has caused OpenOffice to seem outdated even the latest release. This will change as the new Renaissance Interface arrives in the upcoming releases.
You guys are really great !! Thank you for taking so much time to help me.
I have been reading up on my problem and have been looking at the differences between Access 2000/2003/2007/2010 I even downloaded a trial version of Access 2010 from Microsoft and concluded that it is truelly horrible. The nuts and bolts under the hood may be fine, but the ribbon bar and side bar are complete killers. There appears to be complete confusion about what feature belongs where. I showed it to a couple of work collegues and they also do not like it. One said that at home they switched back to Office 2003 from Office 2007 due to all the nonsense going on in the interface in Office 2007. 2010 seems to be even more surreal. The biggest issue one collegue pointed out is that the Ribbon takes up valuabe vertical relestate on a wide screen monitor and as such is a no-no for him.
I will now try to go to Access 2003 first and see if this is enough for us. It works under widows 7 and XP so it should be sufficient.
I looked on Ebay to try to get some extra copies as I do not have enough licences for Office 2003. I was amazed but not surprised that Office 2003 is getting more money than Office 2007...!!!
So guys, is there really any serious reason not to stay with Access 2003? At least until MS comes to it's senses and calms the interface back down a bit or they introduce some killer features I cannot live without. Having run-time versions of our program would save on licences, but these are cheap for Access 2003.
In fact, HigTechCoach, Azure may well be the killer application. For me it is a little too new and will need maturing, but I will keep an eye on it. Thanks for the tip.
Did you see that your "loved" Open Office is going to use the Ribbon now!
Originally Posted by thomasdahl
There appears to be complete confusion about what feature belongs where.
When I first used 2007/2010, I felt the same way, but not for long. Actually I found it just the opposite. What the really problem was is that I had just development a lot of habits with the old way.
The new Ribbon is truly better for the end user.
Originally Posted by thomasdahl
The biggest issue one collegue pointed out is that the Ribbon takes up valuabe vertical relestate on a wide screen monitor and as such is a no-no for him.
<????confused???> The Ribbon is horizontal, not vertical. It is also collapsible.
None of the new stuff has to waste any space. They are collapsible.
I would suggest that you learn how the new Ui stuff really works and how it can benefit the UI before you continue your bashing.
Something to think about: If the Ribbon is so bad, why does OpenOffice feel they need to add?
This has reminded me about some of the debates I saw in a computer magazines years ago: Do we really need something as fast as 33mhz 386? and Do we need more that dual floppy drives for storage?, and A 10meg hard drive will be more than we will ever need.
As you all know OpenOffice.org users complain about its cumbersome and outdated graphical user interface GUI). A great deal of functionality is hidden in many overstuffed toolbars, poorly structured menus and complex dialogs Functions are thus difficult to access for novice users or too inefficient to use for expert users In addition, the GUI offers an antiquated look & feel which is hardly capable to communicate innovation and to create joy of use.
Since recently, our major rival started to seek for experience-based differentiation by focusing on usage efficiency and a visually appealing interface. With an inefficient and visually unattractive graphical user interface, it will be hard to motivate users of competitive offerings to switch to OpenOffice.org. In addition, we will face difficulties entering and growing in market segments with users who value a fresh look & feel and an easy to access and use functionality.
What has to Change?
OpenOffice.org needs to provide an User interface that OpenOffice.org becomes the users' choice not only out of need but also out of desire.
Open Office users see the old UI/menus (pre-Ribbon) as "not practically useful". So does that mean "it's practically useless"?