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Access and VB
Which One Should You Use for
Database Application Development?
A Presentation for the
Application Developer Issues SIG
of the North Texas PC User Group
by Larry Linson
© Copyright 2001 by L.M. Linson, all rights reserved
Our “assignment”
Strengths and Weaknesses
When to use VB – When Access
 Why we prefer one over the other
What is Access?
A Database Management System
 A Database Development Tool
– Standalone Applications
– Multi-user Applications
– Client Application to Server Databases
What is Visual Basic?
An Application Generator with
Database Capabilities
 A Database Development Tool
Standalone Applications
Multi-user Applications
Client Application to Server Databases
Enterprise Distributed Applications
Databases for Both
Jet Database Engine (.MDB)
– Included
MSDE (stripped-down SQL Server)
– Included, “Optimized for five users”
SQL Server Developer Edition
– Comes with Office SR-1
Server Databases, various
– via ODBC or ADO data providers or RDO
Creating an Application
Point and Click a User Interface
 Use Bound or Unbound Controls
 Add Code
– To make it work
– To make it work smoothly
Test, Fix, and Release
So Far, More . . .
Strengths of Access
User-friendly Query Builder
 Native Bound Controls
 Some More-Capable Native Controls
– ComboBox with AutoExpand and Multiple Fields
Richer DB Event Model
– BeforeUpdate, BeforeInsert, AfterUpdate
 Access
 Auto-Keys Macro Capability
Strengths of VB
Close control over User Interface
 Smaller memory, disk footprint
 Compile to machine executable
 Better for COM Components
 More Custom Controls available
 Better known and accepted
Both are strong,
just different
of course )
Database Continuum
Visual Basic
Straight Client-Server
Simple UI
Normal Business DB
Complex UI
Data Intensive
Calculation Intensive
You Know Access
(Know Both)
You Know VB
Time and Effort
Size and Polish
Client says “Access”
Client says “VB”
Why I * Use Access
 Apps
in the Access Zone
 Apps in the Overlap Zone
 I know Access better
 Clients come to me for Access *
* mostly
The Future
Jet is “in maintenance”
 No more ADO development for Jet
 Licensing model changes
 XML Everywhere
 VB’s future = VB.NET
 Access XP < > Access.NET
 Crystal Ball is CLOUDY