Book Review: Access Solutions Tips, Tricks and Secrets


Microsoft Access 2010 is a significant release. It’s the version that developers will start to use in earnest and they’re going to benefit from a little guidance. Access Solutions Tips, Tricks and Secrets from Microsoft Access MVPs will help you get the most out of Microsoft Access 2010.

Honestly, I hadn’t wanted to do any more book
reviews but then came Access Solutions Tips, Tricks and Secrets from Microsoft Access
MVPs
and I realized I have to do at least one more. This book’s authors are
Arvin Meyer and Doug
Steele
with contributions from other well-known heavyweights in the
Microsoft Access community.

Access Solutions Tips, Tricks and Secrets from Microsoft Access MVPs

It’s the right time for the right authors on the right version of Access. As
I’ve said before in this column, Access 2010 is a significant release. It’s the
version that developers will start to use in earnest and they’re going to
benefit from a little guidance. Arvin and Doug are the MVPs who can help you
get the most out of Microsoft Access 2010. Like most tech books, this one sells
for $49.99. It’s well worth the money and I highly recommend it.

Book Format

The book is laid out in "parts" much like other Access tutorials. In
addition to sections on Tables, Forms and other Access objects, it includes
sections about Automation, Access and the Web, and some helpful utilities.

There are 43 "chapters" or as the authors label them, Tips. Each
tip explains the objective and scenario that applies to the tip and then
specifies how the tip is implemented through Access objects (Tables, Queries,
Forms, Reports, Macros and Modules). Each chapter concludes with a section
describing how to use the tip and finally a reference to additional
information, if any exists.

There is a nice, albeit brief, discussion of requirements analysis and table
that describes the naming conventions used. Most of us who’ve been around
Access for a decade or more learned our naming conventions from previous Access
handbooks so there’s usually only minor deviations. I was pleased to see that
the authors promote a naming schema more akin to what I’ve settled on based on
years of typing code. Maybe it’s self-gratifying but I find it comfortable and
I think you will too.

There are no appendices. The book is, in and of itself, one large appendix.
It’s not "How to Build an Access Application" or "The ABCs of
Access" or "Meet Access 2010". It is what it purports to be,
Tips, Tricks and Secrets from Access MVPs, solutions for your Access 2010
applications.

Access Solutions Tips, Tricks and Secrets Table of Contents

This is the part about book reviews I really hate. I can’t reproduce the entire
book here and it’s boring to sift through a table-of-contents listing of
topics. What I can do is highlight a few topics that impressed me, topics that
might make the book worth picking up. The entire TOC may be viewed at the Wiley
site for this book.

As someone who’s been around Access for a while, the technology behind some
tips was no surprise to me. Even so, the application of the technology
compelled me to read the tip closely. Tips like "A Singe Query to Do Both
Updates and Insertions" and "Using a Cartesian Product to Generate a
Calendar" are very specific applications of ideas I’m already familiar
with, but interesting to read and useful to keep in mind.

Other topics like "Creating Tables for Web Applications" and
"Building an Access Web Application" were of greater interest to me
because these are new features of Access 2010. There are also tips about
embedding a web control, RSS feeds and determining if you’ve got Internet
connectivity.

The authors included chapters for obscure topics like "Implementing
Soundex", "Document Management using Access" and
"Ultra-Fast Searching." All of these tips interested me and I came
away with specific ideas for problems I face in some of my applications. There
were a number of chapters that weren’t of interest to me at this time, but
might prove valuable to other readers. Things like implementing Drag-and-Drop,
Using the TreeView control, Relinking Tables and calendar-style reporting are
specific topics but the code supplied is invaluable if that’s what you need to
build at this time.

Probably the most interesting chapters were those on VBA: "Useful
String Functions" and "Useful Functions". They are the kind of
tools we developers keep around in all our applications but they supplied code
for things I hadn’t even thought of doing, like ReverseIt() and Encrypt().

Conclusion

I like the authors. I like the book.

»


See All Articles by Columnist

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.

Latest Articles