Microsoft Access 2003 doesn’t have to be intimidating. The authors of Access 2003 Bible have come up with a masterful approach to teaching it. Invest some time with them, and you’ll be rewarded with deep enough mastery to accomplish virtually anything.
The authors have updated this book’s organization and content with great care. You’ll first learn the core database development techniques that apply regardless of your environment -- beginning with a top-down, seven-step design process covering everything from overall system design to menus.
In this context, the authors introduce a sample application, Access Auto Auctions, which serves as a framework for everything that follows.
Later, once you’ve systematically learned the key techniques of desktop database development, the authors show how to “upsize” your application for enterprise environments that require industrial-strength performance...and after that, how to extend your applications onto the Web.
That’s the high-level plan -- now for the details. The authors begin with essential definitions and questions: What’s a database? What are tables? Records? Fields? Values? Datasheets? Dynasets? Queries? What’s involved in designing a database? What happens if you don’t do it well? Why is it usually helpful to have multiple tables in your database?
Next, you’ll take a close look at each step you’ll need to follow to get from “idea” to efficient database. The authors offer examples of defining what your database must do (for example, maintain contact info, produce mailing labels); designing reports; organizing data; designing tables and relationships; providing for data entry and validation; and creating a Switchboard that helps users navigate your application.
Throughout the rest of Part I, you’ll walk through every aspect of data tables, from data entry through basic queries and using external data. Next, the authors truly systematic coverage of forms and reports, from the basics (building forms with Wizards) through subforms, calculations, summaries, special report types, ActiveX controls, graphs, and Pivot Objects.
There’s a nine-chapter section on automating your applications -- covering everything from VBA to ADO and SQL, even programmed error routines.
Once you’ve got a pretty solid application, the authors show how to upsize it. You’ll walk through creating an Access Data Project that leverages the front end you’ve already created, while using a more powerful, scalable back-end -- either the pricey SQL Server or the freebie Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE). There’s even a chapter on stored procedures and triggers.
When you’re ready to move your application to the Web, three chapters give you a strong grounding in Microsoft’s Data Access Pages (DAP), as well as Access 2003’s enhanced XML support. The book wraps up with wide-ranging advanced coverage -- everything from security to performance optimization, help systems to Access Developer’s Edition.
All the sample files you need are on the accompanying CD-ROM, along with a bundle of bonus content, including sample chapters from each of Wiley’s new Office 2003 Bibles, plus bonus third-party software. (A bonus for Excel users: John Walkenbach’s Power Utility Pak.) Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.