Developing for any app can be time consuming and problematic. Access is no exception. These five best practices will help you create more stable and user friendly databases for your users.
Access developers certainly have their work cut out for them. Access has a reputation for being difficult to use. The truth is that Access can be just as effective and easy to use as more expensive databases. It’s all about how the databases are designed.
The following five best practices will help you develop an Access database that will run smoothly. Regardless of if you are working with an old database or creating a new one from scratch, implement these practices to help your users get the most out of the experience.
1. Know Your User
One of the biggest reasons people complain about Access is that databases are not designed with the end users in mind. You have to understand the process and how the database will be used. By understanding the end user’s needs, you can create a database that caters to the way they think and act when adding or working with data.
The best way to do this is to interact with the end users. Set up contacts with people who can provide you critiques that will help you develop a better database.
2. Work with VBA – Don’t Rely on Easy Macro Creation
It is incredibly easy to get accustomed to primarily using macros as they are created by recording and updating. This is not the best way to automate the process. VBA gives you all of the tools you need to automate everything in the simplest way possible. Recording macros is really only good for short fixes and people who do not understand how to develop them.
VBA is also a lot easier to use in later versions. It provides error trapping for easier reuse and maintenance, as well as providing a better solution for universal changes.
3. Develop and Maintain the Table Relationships
When you create a database from scratch, take the time to create the table relationships that will be used by end users. This will significantly simplify how users interact with the database. It also makes it a lot easier to maintain.
Make sure that you continue to update relationships over time. You will be adding tables, deleting others, and modifying existing ones. The relationships are what make the database work. Maintaining them is essential for ensuring the database works as it should.
4. Record and Track Errors and Changes
Whenever an end user reports a problem, create a log. Whenever you change the database (whether it is creating a table, adjusting relationships, or adding a new query), you need to have a log of everything you have done.
You can create a database for tracking changes, defects, and other updates. This will make it considerably easier for you to see what was done and when.
For errors, you should keep a separate log. Provide as many details as possible. Include the original error report and the solution you found to fix it. This does mean you will need to update the log over time. If you need to conduct a MDB data recovery, make sure this is included in a log of its own.
5. Know How to Work with Your MDB File
This includes everything from security to backup to working with a corrupted file. Write up directions and procedures for maintaining each MDB file. You need to know how sensitive the data is so you can establish procedures for working with the security. Database backups are just as important with the MDB file as they are with any other database. Data loss is easily one of the biggest fears of database users because it is nearly impossible to recover lost or corrupted data without a backup.
Victor Ren is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including Excel recovery software and word recovery software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com