Book Review: Access 2002 VBA Step By Step
October 17, 2003
I want to explain how I came to be in possession of this book. Though I've been programming with MS Access for over 7 years, I only just recently joined my local Microsoft Access User Group . I finally rearranged my life so I could attend meetings and joined the group. The evening of my first meeting, my first visit to the group, I won a door prize: The Microsoft Press book, Access 2002 Visual Basic for Applications Step By Step by Evan Callahan.
What's in the book?
The author, Evan Callahan, begins by explaining how to use wizards to create a database, form and command button. If you need instruction on how to accomplish these tasks, you probably would not be buying a book with the words "Visual Basic for Applications" in the title. All the same, the chapter was not offensive and by the second chapter, we are already writing custom code.
In the author's defense, I should point out that the button click code generated by the wizard is used to explain and describe the anatomy of a procedure. This assumes, of course, that we consider the Microsoft Access wizard coding style to be the best template from which to learn programming. While that is, to a large degree, how I taught myself coding, I cannot say with a certainty that it is the best way.
The book's 15 chapters include instruction on the following topics:
How's it written?
In my opinion, the book is well written and it reads with little discomfort. Technical books have a tendency to get tiresome at times, but the author mixes up a good variety of explanatory text, code snippets and screen shots. Regularly placed "Tips" sections contain useful information and are not overdone.
Callahan's code examples are praiseworthy and they are included in the CD that comes with the book. The reader is walked through topics while creating a Newsletter Subscription Database Application, which, while simple, represents a real world business solution.
I typically read technical books with a red pen and a yellow highlighter. I use a red pen so that points I mark stand out when I am revisiting the book, months (or sometimes years) later. Flipping through the book as I prepared this article I noticed numerous paragraphs flagged with red ink, some even got the highly coveted "good tip" comment. Not that these points are earth-shattering revelations, mind you. They are, however, good, solid tips without which the book would be incomplete.
Tips and tricks found
What would a review be without a little preview of what you can expect? Following is a brief list of some of the 'Tips and Tricks' I uncovered.
off the animated Office Assistant
out the Immediate Window (Ctl + G)
Forms!frmMain.lstOut.RowSource = "SELECT * FROM tblIssue Where State='CO'"
While you can include a space in a button caption, its underlying control
name should NEVER
include a space.
4. Get the most out of Intellisense:
Procedure and Function naming and best practices.
Is it worth the $39.99?
That's a difficult question for me to answer. Remember, I won this book as a door prize. Over the last eight years I'd say I've read about 80% of all the Access books on the market With that much devotion to all things Access, I'm usually surprised when I stumble on genuinely new information, and I found nothing new in this book.
If, however, you are relatively new to Access and want a good start on becoming a power user, it is not a bad place to start. At just under $40 it's not the most expensive book on the bookstore shelf and its code examples and best practice suggestions are likely to save you more than a couple of hours of development time, which means this book might pay for itself.