Looking at Access 2007

I’ve been playing with Microsoft Access 2007, the beta, and so far it seems to have improved to a certain extent. The rational and discussion of the development has been well described on Erik Rucker’s blog over at MSDN. Don’t know if this will stay up, because Microsoft has released Office 2007 to manufacturing. But it makes interesting reading, especially if you start from the first posts from October of last year, and work forward.

The development team for Access 12 is about 7 times as large as the one for Access 2003, and this has allowed us to do a lot of work weÂ?ve wanted to do for a long time. Our goals for Access 12 are to make new users more successful, to make existing users more productive, and to enable a whole new type of database application built around Windows SharePoint Services.

A couple items of interest so far.
1. It is backward compatible with Access files for Access 2003 and earlier
2. It has a new file extension for Access 2007 files
3. It will not allow replication if you use a 2007 version of the database file.
4. It has extensive connections to Sharepoint. It allows you to connect to a SharePoint, cache a data table from Sharepoint, and then reconnect and upload your changes. So this is ‘sorta, kinda’ like replication.
5. You can still replicate files that are stored as Access 2003 mdbs.
6. Forms are more attractive in their default state. No more pinched 8 point text.

The one thing holding me back from moving directly is that lack of the runtime, or the Office Extensions, which allow distribution of Access applications to computers which don’t have Access. This customarily appears some months after the release of the parent product. Since general release of Office 2007 isn’t scheduled before January, it could be awhile before developers can transition to 2007.

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