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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Unanswered: help w MS Access *FOR PROGRAMMERS* book recommendation

    Can someone please recommend the best book for learning how to build business applications in MS Access *for a programmer*?

    I have put together a simple Access db to track my business, a little bit CRM, a little bit time tracking, invoicing, project management etc.
    Now I am at the point where I need to add some more complicated customizations and I am at a loss because I do not know MS Access very well.
    I am a programmer who knows SQL and several other programming languages very well, but not the MS Access environment.

    Every book or website I have looked at so far have either been:
    1) extremely basic for beginners explaining what can easily be figured out by spending a few seconds browsing the menus. I never want to see another book with an entire chapter devoted to creating a table.
    2) advanced, but explaining things a programmer already knows. I know how to write SQL, how to normalize my tables, how to write basic VB (but not Access specific)

    What I am looking for are things like:
    Q: What are the best practices for building a business app, main menus, etc?
    Q: How do I re-use a form with different parameters coming from different entry points (different buttons on other forms)?
    Q: How do I present information in a sub-form coming from a many-to-many relationship in a join-table?
    Q: How do I have a button open a new form each time it is used vs. reusing an existing open form?
    Q: How do I interact with MS Word, with the filesystem, etc.?

    Is there a consensus on what the best book or source of information is?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Provided Answers: 59
    The best Access book in my library is the Access Developers handbook. It aint cheap, it isnt 'perfect' its very dated but its a gem filled with information, tips, techniques
    http://www.amazon.com/Access-2002-De.../dp/0782140114
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    5,442
    Provided Answers: 14
    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Can someone please recommend the best book for learning how to build business applications in MS Access *for a programmer*?
    Healdem provided the references to one of the best books available. Among others, there are:
    SEUsing Microsoft Access 2003 (Roger Jennings, Campus Press, ISBN 0-7897-2952-0). One of the best book I know to understand DAO in depth (DAO is generally more efficient than AODDB, hence a better choice when working with MS-Access) is: Hitchhiker's Guide to Visual Basic & SQL Server (William R. Vaughn, Microsoft Press, ISBN 1-57231-567-9). It's an old book (1997) but still very accurate.

    But you can also (need to) open Access help and learn the Access object Model. You'll learn how to interect with the various Access objects and collections.

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Q: What are the best practices for building a business app, main menus, etc?
    In my books, a professional application has a strong error handler. Nothing worse than a so-called "professional application" that stops unexpectedly with a cryptic message such as "Error 13".

    Building such an error handler is not easy. You'll find a possible solution in one of the examples contained in the attached file (ErrorHandler.mdb).

    For the menus and toolbars you don't have many choices. Since Access 2007 upward the classical menus disappeared and were replaced by the "Ribbon". There are 3 ways left for building a ribbon: Create a specific XML-XAML file (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc295302.aspx), use VBA to build new ribbons, Menus and Popup Menus with the MS Obffice object Model (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/lib.../ff861484.aspx) or use Macros (generally speaking you should stay away from Macros).
    In Access 2003 there was an interface that allowed the building of new Menus and Toolbars. This is still very useful for building Popup (contextual) menus. If you can find a copy of Access 2003 somewhere, go forth and install it, would it be for this purpose only.

    You'll also need some basic knowledge on how to use several Windows API function. A good utility for this purpose is API-Guide, which is free (see: http://www.allapi.net/cgi-bin/redire...place=apiguide).

    While I'm at it, a useful tools too (also free) is MZ-Tools (http://www.mztools.com/).

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Q: How do I re-use a form with different parameters coming from different entry points (different buttons on other forms)?
    1. You can create Public Properties and Methods in the Class Module of a form. The calling (controlling) form must acquire a reference to the form it want to communicate with, which is rather easy (see: FormsInteracting.mdb in the attached file). For more complex interaction, you can create a communication oriented Class that will use events to send and retrieve information among several forms (see the Form1_Shuttle and Form2_Shuttle forms, also in FormsInteracting.mdb).

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Q: How do I present information in a sub-form coming from a many-to-many relationship in a join-table?
    Create Relationships among tables and use Queries. Access has built-in mechanisms to cope with this kind of problem. Of course, you can also control everything through VBA procedures.

    Speaking of VBA, refrain from using procedural code to handle data, use SQL whenever possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Q: How do I have a button open a new form each time it is used vs. reusing an existing open form?
    You'll find the answer here: http://allenbrowne.com/ser-35.html.

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Q: How do I interact with MS Word, with the filesystem, etc.?
    You use Automation (COM/COM+) which consists in creating an instance of another application within Access. To successfully interact with this other application, you'll need to know its Object Model too (See: AccessExcel.mdb in the attached file).

    Quote Originally Posted by simonbarsinister View Post
    Is there a consensus on what the best book or source of information is?
    Not as far as I know. My "consensus" would probably not be Healdem's one or Missinglink's one, although we usually agree on the essential.

    Do not forget to use Internet: there are many sites that provide tons of useful information and tips. Among many others:
    https://support.office.com/
    http://www.accessmvp.com/DJSteele/AccessIndex.html
    http://allenbrowne.com/tips.html
    http://access.mvps.org/access/
    http://www.helenfeddema.com/
    http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
    http://www.rogersaccesslibrary.com/f...046412037.html
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Have a nice day!

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