Product Review: AccessUI
July 15, 2005
Simplifying Microsoft Access Development
"It looks great, but can you change it so that it doesn't look so much like an Access database?"
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that in the last year, from both readers and clients alike. Let's face it, we love Access, but its "look" hasn't changed significantly in a decade. If you want to do anything really clever, you have to purchase 3rd party controls, learn how to use them, work out the bugs and possibly pay the distribution royalties. That has been such a big enough impediment for me that I have never used a third party control in nearly 10 years of developing applications with Microsoft Access. Suddenly, all that has changed, now that AccessUI is on the market.
What is AccessUI?
Its web site describes theinterface product as follows:
Recently, I was asked to create acustomer relationship management (CRM) tool for one of my clients. The client was looking for something fresh andsnazzy, something they would be proud to pull out and show to their clients. I converted their existing data from Excel spreadsheets to Access tables and used AccessUI as my menu system. In less thanfour hours I had a professional looking application consisting of the following:
Four hours was all it took to produce a prototype good enough to show the client. They were blown away and quickly awarded me the contract. It was just what they wanted and was much more than I could ever have created, even if I had a hundred hours to devote to the project. Moreover, what they saw was just the beginning. As I learned more about how to use the tool, I became aware of its great power.
How AccessUI Works
While I do not want to bore you with all the minute details of every option and feature, you need to understand how the UI is implemented and what is required of you. What follows is a brief outline of the steps I followed to create my four-hour miracle: