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Food for Thought: Access Used Properly


September 21, 2009 by Mike Hillwig

The DBA community is going to have a fit with this, but I wonder if Access is as bad of an application as we make it out to be. I know I made a case for giving Access a seat at the table in the past, and I don’t want people to think I’m a fan. Not. Even. Close.

I’m not a fan of Microsoft Access. I avoid it as much as possible. But as someone who has a major voice in my company’s technology decisions, I absolutely must be fair.

In my experience with Access applications, it’s always been “developed” by someone who wasn’t a professional application developer. My previous company had a “Master Schedule” that pulled data from their finance/accounting system. It was written by the corporate controller. My current company has an application that pulls testing data from our manufacturing QA system. It was written by a test engineer in our manufacturing unit. Notice that neither of these were written by database professionals.

What if these HAD been written by actual developers. What if the data was properly normalized. What if the right data types were used? I doubt it will ever be as good as SQL server. But could we build a good application?

I’m not advocating it. But it might be worth some investigation.