Book Review: Access 2010 Programmer’s Reference

WroxAccessProgRef.jpg
Access 2010 Programmer’s Reference

Teresa Hennig, Rob Cooper, Geoffrey L. Griffith, Jerry Dennison
ISBN: 978-0-470-59166-6
Paperback
1272 pages
August 2010


Back in June we evaluated four great Access 2010 books that had just been
released. There’s now another volume available written especially for
programmers. Danny Lesandrini peeks inside to see if this book lives up to its
name.

It’s probably not realistic to say I’ve read 100 books on Microsoft Access
but sometimes it feels like it. I haven’t read that many books on SQL Server or
Visual Basic, and I’m sure I won’t put that much effort into MVC or
Silverlight. So why is it I never tire of reading books about Access? I don’t
honestly know the reason but it might have something to do with the possibility
I’m going to uncover some obscure jewel that will ultimately save me time or
allow me to do something wiz-bang. Oddly enough, I’m only ever disappointed
with the most basic of books and the Microsoft Access 2010 Programmer’s Reference is anything but
basic.

In a previous article about books to get you up to speed with Access 2010 I spoke about
getting started with Access 2010 and described my first project, a bookkeeping
application. The simplicity of that program lent itself to features described
in the basic Access 2010 books like Teach Yourself Visually and the Dummies
series. I think Microsoft has worked hard to simplify complex tasks in
Access 2010 so that little programming is necessary to accomplish a lot. Still,
books like Mike Groh’s Access 2010 Bible and the Access 2010
Programmer’s Reference
are necessary to deliver complex solutions. In
short, the $44.99 you spend on this book will be well spent if you need to
develop applications with Access 2010.

Does it Deliver on Depth?

I perform this little ritual in the bookstore when I’m considering a
purchase: open the book to the halfway point and read. If I could have written
the page, then the book probably doesn’t have enough to offer me and is not
worth my limited training dollars. If, however, I learn something new, then I’m
usually impressed enough to make the purchase. The Wrox Access 2010
Programmer’s Reference passed the test. I opened the book halfway and found a
chapter titled Creating a Ribbon from Scratch. Not only could
I not have written this chapter, it is one of the things I was looking for in
an Access 2010 book.

The next thing I often look at is the table of contents and particularly the
appendixes. Even though I’m familiar with Access 2010 I was anxious to read the
chapters on New Features and Upgrading to Access 2010.
Then there are the requisite chapters about VBA, DAO, ADO and SQL, which gets
us through chapter 15, about half way through the book. From this point on, the
book lives up to its name as a reference for even seasoned Access developers
and there’s even an appendix for 64-Bit Access, one for Source Control and a
Tips and Tricks appendix. Yes, it delivers on depth.

Obscure Jewels Uncovered?

Working with 64-bit machines posed a problem with my API calls. I could have
Googled the answer but there was no pressing need to get this resolved before I
stumbled across the solution in the Reference. One API call I used a lot
was the GetUserName function. It failed on my 64-bit computer but it appears
the solution is simply to add PtrSafe after the Declare keyword but before the
Function keyword.

Private Declare PtrSafe Function apiGetUserName Lib "advapi32.dll" Alias _
"GetUserNameA" (ByVal lpbuffer As String, nsize As Long) As Long

In fact, there’s an entire chapter on extending VBA with API calls that is
very valuable, if this topic is new to you. Another on working with the Windows
registry is also important, if it’s not in your toolbox already.

If you’re interested in the new Web Database features of Access 2010 then
the chapter on SharePont Integration will be of great interest to you. Fifty
pages are devoted to explaining how to create web tables, web forms, other
objects and the "glue" that affixes them to SharePoint. Personally, I
couldn’t get into this topic because it’s just not an avenue I see in my
future, but from what I read, it’s very comprehensive.

The chapter on .Net was of greater interest to me since I’m doing more work
in Visual Studio 2010 with MVC these days. It’s a nice starting point for
Access developers who want to learn how to write C# code for accessing MDB
data.

Other complex subjects considered include:

  • Deploying Access Runtime
  • Access File Security
  • Application Security Features

Less complex but well worth considering are the many suggestions in the Tips
and Tricks appendix. The authors give great suggestions about making your UI
more professional. Suggestions and code are provided to help you create an
Audit Trail. My favorite snippet was one named fn_TransactSQLScripts that
outputs the table structure into scripts that can be run for creating tables
and indexes:

CurrentProject.Connection.Execute "CREATE TABLE ... "

Yes, I’ve read a lot of Access books but I keep only a few on my shelf. I
have to admit that I’m impressed with this one. The Microsoft Access
Programmer’s Reference
by Wrox is one that I’ll be keeping.

WroxAccessProgRef.jpg
Access 2010 Programmer’s Reference

Teresa Hennig, Rob Cooper, Geoffrey L. Griffith, Jerry Dennison
ISBN: 978-0-470-59166-6
Paperback
1272 pages
August 2010

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Danny Lesandrini

Danny Lesandrini
Danny Lesandrini
Danny J. Lesandrini currently works as the IT Director for Pharmatech Oncology Inc. at http://www.pharmatechoncology.com/. He holds Microsoft Certifications in Access, Visual Basic and SQL Server and has been programming with Microsoft development tools since 1995.

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