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Using Microsoft ACCESS to develop small to medium applications on campus. Agenda. Review various applications used on campus Discuss briefly a typical application Review the TAMS (Time and Materials System) used in IST Review the pros and cons to building an application versus buying one

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Presentation Transcript
agenda
Agenda
  • Review various applications used on campus
  • Discuss briefly a typical application
  • Review the TAMS (Time and Materials System) used in IST
  • Review the pros and cons to building an application versus buying one
  • Build a simple application using ACCESS 2010
  • Questions?
systems used on campus
Systems used on campus
  • Over 200 applications on campus (according to 2007 IST survey)
  • Some applications are for storing stats, inventory, tracking expenses, maintaining lists
  • Approximately 30 applications using some form of ACCESS
a typical application
A Typical Application
  • Logon screen
  • Menus
  • Data Entry and Validation
  • Data lookup, edit and delete
  • Reports
  • Batch Interface (Macros, VisualBasic for Access)
  • Advanced features:
    • Data Import/Export from multiple sources
    • Integrate to other systems (i.e. email, Sharepoint)
tams demo
TAMS demo
  • Login
  • Create a request
  • Show lists
  • Show reports
  • Display an invoice
  • Show documentation
buy versus build
Buy versus Build ?
  • Not simple
  • Many factors to consider besides price and time
    • Important to understand short term versus long term benefits and challenges
    • Training, customization, documentation, upgrades, cost
buying software
ProsBuying software
  • ‘Faster’ and ‘easier’ to deploy
  • The vendor is an ‘expert’
  • May belong to user groups to share information
  • Vendor assumes most responsibility. No need to employ technical staff
  • Vendor stays on top of changes such as new taxes or government requirements (where applicable)
buying software1
ConsBuying software
  • Cost, initially, ongoing maintenance, additional licenses and requested changes
  • Dependent on vendor’s expertise
  • Sometimes must customize software to fit your needs. This introduces other issues with the vendor as you become ‘unique’ and forces you to become really dependent on vendor support
  • May need to spend time up front to help the vendor ‘understand’ your system and requirements
  • Software may be ‘proprietary’
  • Software versions must be in sync with your environment. (i.e. you may be forced to upgrade your environment in order to keep using software)
  • You may be forced to continually upgrade or lose support from the vendor
building software
ProsBuilding software
  • You can build an application exactly how you want it
  • You are in complete control of the application and future changes
  • Cheaper solution as there are no license or maintenance fees.
  • Local support of the environment from end-to-end (hardware, operating system, data warehouse).
  • Changes based upon all users input.
building software1
ConsBuilding software
  • May take longer to develop and deploy
  • May initially cost more to build than to buy
  • You are responsible for all problems
  • You may need to staff some technical expertise and skills to support
microsoft access
ProsMicrosoft ACCESS
  • Cheaper. The university has an enterprise license. No extra fees.
  • It’s easy and fast to learn, use and deploy new applications. Manual is online at:

http://testtube.uwaterloo.ca/trellis/safari.cfm

  • You can use existing applications to build new ones
  • You can integrate to other Microsoft applications such as Outlook and Sharepoint
  • You can use a SQL database (unlimited space)
  • Supported by Microsoft. Less chance that they will discontinue support or go out of business
  • Potentially, we can share information on campus and help each other
  • The technical staff just need to understand ACCESS. It doesn’t really matter what the application is for.
  • Supports batch processing
microsoft access1
ConsMicrosoft ACCESS
  • Does not support more than 20 users very well
  • 2Gb limit on ACCESS table sizes
  • Some ACCESS queries do not work with SQL databases. Only with ACCESS databases.
  • Microsoft could change or discontinue the product (similar to VB 6 to VB .Net)
  • Requires a technical person to support
typical access architecture
Typical Access Architecture

Single Access Database

- 1 File

Split Access Database

- 2 Files

typical access architecture1
Typical Access Architecture

Single Access Database

Split Access Database

2 GB file size limitation

Data and Interface are split into two Access files and are linked together

Provides data security so users cannot manipulate data file without proper access

Easier to make updates to interface without impacting the data structure

  • 2 GB file size limitation
  • Data and Interface stored in 1 file
  • Good for simple databases with non-mission critical data
  • Updates require no one to be in the database at that time
reliable access architecture
Reliable Access Architecture

Data

Access Files

  • Single data source that can be utilized by multiple interfaces
  • Provides better data security
  • SQL managed by IST
  • No limitations with storage
  • Updates are easier as each user is required to run their own copy of the interface, but does make it difficult to keep track of versions being used
setting up an application in access
Setting up an application in ACCESS
  • Templates
  • Charitable donations
  • Blank database