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Yes, Access Does Rock!

Microsoft Access has rocked for eighteen years (except for Access 95), still rocks, and will undoubtedly rock for some time to come. As of 2/6/2011 I noticed that the does-too/ does-not war continues. If details of such spats amuse you, these two (both from February 2010) are as good as any:

I can save you some time. If you change "freely available" to "widely available" in the still-rocks article, you eliminte the one actually valid criticism in the still-doesnt-rock rant. Still, they are both interesting as background.

Access is absolutely unbeatable for rapid application development where the total number of simultaneous users is ten or fewer.  In some cases, you could have a total number of users around fifty and never have more than ten simultaneous.

With a well written Microsoft Access application you can handle hundreds of megabytes of data easily.

If you couple Access with SQL Server, either to hold larger amounts of data, or to improve security or the speed of storing and retrieving, then the total number of users, practically speaking, is unlimited. You can get a free version of SQL Server that allows five simultaneous users. You need a paid license to have more than five users at the same time. Presumably, you would only use SQL Server in such a case if you already employ it and have the paid version in place.

Access is also far more object oriented than most developers understand.  It lacks some object oriented capabilities, such as inheritance and overriding, but guess what...for about 99% of custom corporate applications these limitations are simply irrelevant.

There is a lot of nonsense written and spoken about Access. It can be summarized roughly as "Access really sucks. You can't do a real database in it. You can only do sort of toy applications." There's more, but it's all equally ridiculous.

Access is not for all situations. It does not scale well to enterprise-wide applications, or to multi-gigabyte datasets. Let me go out on a limb and propose that your needs are not for world-wide distribution of an application for simultaneous use by 200 users logging 10,000 transactions per day. If you were in that league, you wouldn't even be looking at Access. Since you are looking at Access, let's talk about your needs.

I have been in Access since 2.0 and can do, or teach you how to do, anything it makes sense to do in Access. And that's a lot!

Call me at 713.376.1177 or use the Contact Me form to send an email.

Rick Wannall, MCP (10^6 years ago)