MS Access perspectives

What would you say are the reasons you WOULD use Access for some applications
And what would be reasons you would NOT use it

Thanks !

I have written some conversion program to get data from sqlite data file and transfer to ms access mdb.

Also we have connected sqlite data through ODBC and using it on MS-Access

Programmed a couple of years in it for a specific client project.


  1. really RAD. Fast prototyping on which you can build further on.
  2. probably the best Report and Query Builder I’ve worked with
  3. Live debugging and hot code swapping


  1. Deployment can be a hassle if users have their own runtimes
  2. Not really suitable for multi-user. You will need to use e.g. a MSSQL behind it to be safe.
  3. I found the UI design possibilities limited. All is perfectly functional, just doesn’t always look great.


I’ve done development in Access for 20 years. But never user facing and only for reporting. Designing UI in Access sucks majorly. More or less multi-user.

No exceptions, no nothing. Everything is done with variants. I have done a lot of crimes against mankind with Access.

“on error resume next” FOR EVER!!!

I could use Dims as String, As long, As Integer etc.

On Error Goto was something one had to get used to indeed

Debugging is so nice in MS Access.
The possibility to go back in the source and continue from that point is awesome.
When you find something wrong in the source while debugging, change the code, set the next step before or on the change and continue the debugging.
Also hovering the cursor over a field/variable and the content is shown.
Debugging in Xojo is very poor compared to debugging in MS Access.
For the rest is developing in MS Access very outdated.
(I work at a company since almost 2 years and have to maintain MS Access software :blush:)

Realbasic used to have that a long time ago. That was before it compiled for debugging.

You could do that. However, the first line of code usually betrayed the beginner:

dim a, b, c as integer

b and c then were variants. But no, I meant simple stuff like sorting. It’s now 3 years but I remember having to implement some simple sort by heavy use of variants.

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we only use that for error handling in MS Access

development in access is “different” - no question
And there are things to like & hate

In addition to everything said so far what I was seeking was what sort of uses would you make of Access ?
In this case Access would NOT be used with its own stand alone or shared db - it would be used more as a front end for an existing MS SQL database

So would you built whole applications with it ? (I’m getting the very clear sense thats a NO)
Or would you only use it as an ad-hoc query tool and maybe develop some canned reports with it and any other custom data input apps be created in “something else” (yes Xojo is ONE option here)

Does that kind of mix make sense to you folks who DO still use it or have used it more recently than I have ?

I get Richard to reply since he is expert and still using Ms Access. I have not use Ms Access since 2005… I using it since 1992-2005

I’m asking specifically because I havent used it a lot since about 2002 :stuck_out_tongue:

The language and the IDE haven’t changed much since 2002.

Access is a swiss army knife
I find it better than Excel for lookups
Built in reporting tool
Built in charting tools
Builds stand alone apps
Connects to other databases via ODBC
VBA is easy to write and understand.

If only IT departments didnt treat it like the spawn of Satan’s bottom…

I inherited MS Access at one smaller company of about 100 employees where all of the payables, accounts, and inventory was in the database. Usually about 20 staff had permission to use portions of the database.

The database was divided into a frontend and backend. MS Access was heavily used and using and creating reports was fantastic. Backups were really easy, since it was on a shared drive. All work was performed locally.

It was a really inexpensive way to grow the company and it worked well.

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Yeah this client probably wont be use Access as a database at all - more just for ad-hoc reporting

I’ve done a lot in Access. Much faster developing than Xojo or other compiled languages. Multi-user is no problem if you have a back-end MS SQL database, and each user has their own copy of the front-end. I’ve created some VBA and DOS scripts to do automatic updates of the front-end.

But Xojo wins big on runtime performance. You can’t control the queries Access throws at the database.

And for users that run multiple applications, multiple Access databases open at the same time can be confusing to users and can use a lot of resources. Other trouble spots with Access are its external references and the way it handles printers - usually workable in a single office where everyone runs the same software and shares the same printers, otherwise a big mess.