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Last post Author Topic: Automatic document creation. How?  (Read 11590 times)

Stoic Joker

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2011, 06:20:40 PM »
How's that?  I think that's a good solution in case access alone doesn't work.

Considering you mentioned the output quality was important (IIRC), it seems a good way to keep the bases all covered. And should make a later transition easier (by keeping things loosely coupled) should it be required.

wraith808

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2011, 06:32:38 PM »
I guess I've just never actually seen a good Access based application. *Shrug*

I've seen a couple of good ones.  The problem is, with any enterprise, once something is *good* they want *better*.  Which in most cases means *bigger*.  The road to hell, and all that...

Stoic Joker

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2011, 06:57:52 PM »
I guess I've just never actually seen a good Access based application. *Shrug*

I've seen a couple of good ones.  The problem is, with any enterprise, once something is *good* they want *better*.  Which in most cases means *bigger*.  The road to hell, and all that...

Agreed, it usually goes something like this:
Brass: This thing is great, but can we...
IT: oh shit.

...Been there. :)

JohnFredC

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2011, 08:05:52 PM »
I guess I've just never actually seen a good Access based application. *Shrug*

I've seen a couple of good ones.  The problem is, with any enterprise, once something is *good* they want *better*.  Which in most cases means *bigger*.  The road to hell, and all that...

Agreed, it usually goes something like this:
Brass: This thing is great, but can we...
IT: oh shit.

...Been there. :)

Unless told, a user would have a hard time detecting that any of my applications were written in Access... certain characteristics of how graphic controls are rendered and the occasional scrollbar appearance might tip off an expert, but mine run resolution-independently in full screen and look exactly like tools focused on specific tasks, not "databases".

And my answer to management requests such as described above was typically either, "it already does that, let me show you" or "is a week quick enough for you"?  To the same questions, DP usually responded with "can't do that, not possible" or "how about next year?" and "we'll have to add staff so your cost center better budget for it".  Those responses made my living, thank you very much.

However, the comments about database scaling are right on.  Many years ago I wrote/sold a telemarketing app in Access that pushed almost 2 million records per table but behaved quite properly, and that was in the days of 486s and 1Mb of RAM.  But even with today's incredible (from an old coot's perspective) PC hardware, beyond that scale, or for a distributed environment with hundreds of data entry clerks not geographically local to each other all sharing the same data, or for any real-time environment scaling larger than a small group, a server-based approach is the only responsible thing a consultant should recommend, not Access.

But there is (or used to be, at least) a middle (and lower) ground, especially for individual efforts, for small businesses, or for entrepreneurial groups within larger organizations, where the long term management of the data and processes is less important than an accurate, quick solution to an immediate need, one that requires no maintenance whatsoever and just "works".

My point is: don't blame Access the tool, but rather the person who uses it inappropriately (aka the non-professional tyro) or the inappropriate contexts it sometimes is offered for (bad consultant).

I might also add that anticipating the user's true needs (the ones he hasn't or can't express or, frequently, doesn't even understand yet) and addressing them "gratis" at the core of the app from the beginning saves much headache later.  This requires an understanding of systems in general, not just programming and data structures.

Always deliver an 11/10ths product, tolerate no less of yourself.

That's it from me.  Apologies again for being so long-winded.

Cheers, everyone.  :)


Stoic Joker

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2011, 10:27:01 PM »
Ya just gotta like ^this guy^...He does have some good/interesting points. But I still don't like Access. *Shrug*  :)

Renegade

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2011, 10:59:18 PM »
My point is: don't blame Access the tool, but rather the person who uses it inappropriately (aka the non-professional tyro) or the inappropriate contexts it sometimes is offered for (bad consultant).

+1

Access does very well what it does. It's the abuse of it, or using it for the wrong things that creates problems.

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superboyac

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2011, 08:48:45 AM »
Thanks John Fred!  Don't go anywhere!  I'm going to give Access a whirl with this, and I'm going to need you around... :up:

40hz

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2011, 09:51:55 AM »
I actually don't mind MSAccess for small group projects. It works very well in the contexts it was designed for.

I still much preferred FoxPro's development environment for small and mid-small database projects. But Microsoft never really seemed to know what to do with "the Fox" after they acquired it, other than make it as invisible as possible - and legally forbid the use of the fox runtime under Wine in Linux.

Now Fox is in phase-out mode (VFP-9) despite a very active developer/user community. I understand it's currently flagged 'end-of-life' and slated to become unsupported starting in 2015.

There's also been numerous requests for Microsoft to open source the code since they're abandoning their adopted baby on the mountainside. Unfortunately, last I heard, Microsoft (in their inimitable "dog in the hayloft" fashion) has refused to do so - and has given every indication it never will happen. Shame.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 09:54:16 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2011, 10:21:55 AM »
fox...dog...hayloft.  40, you are classic!

steeladept

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2011, 08:38:32 PM »
I am personally a big fan of "personal" databases such as Access.  Way too often, the likes of Oracle, et. al. are just too big and too cost prohibitive, not to mention too difficult for untrained people to bother.  MySQL is better in some respects, but still takes way too long to create a small database.  On the other hand, I do hate the SQL Query structure they use, simply because it is non-standard.  It is close, but doesn't work with anything else (well maybe T-SQL based systems, never tried those...).  If that were addressed in Access (or a competing product that was otherwise equal), I would find it ideal. 

Even so, my biggest problem with getting rid of Access is the simple fact that if you do, the already proliferate use of Excel as a database would multiply.  Even users who should know better (read DBA's) will create impossibly complex spreadsheets because it is still infinitely easier than creating a small database in their current structure.  They ignore that a simple small database solution already exists in Access. 

Getting back to the OP: If (and with VBA that is a BIG IF) you find Access does almost everything but can't, for some reason, do something that would otherwise make it perfect, you may want to check out a similar small database I have been playing around with lately.  It is Alpha Five.  I can't speak to if it is any good or not, I only started playing around with it, but it may do what you want.

Renegade

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2011, 10:50:20 PM »
Here's a good example of when to choose Access...

I just installed the latest version of the Infralution Licensing System, and it had an option to install with an Access database or MS SQL Server/Express.

Since this is only for my own use, SQL Server is massive overkill. Access also allows easier portability. Done.
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JavaJones

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2011, 07:01:22 PM »
Came across this list of InDesign/InCopy plugins earlier today and I thought it might help solve some of these issues:

http://www.adobe.com...end.displayTab3.html
In particular Em Software with their product InCatalog (DB integration with InDesign):
http://emsoftware.co.../products/emcatalog/

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2011, 09:25:29 AM »
Came across this list of InDesign/InCopy plugins earlier today and I thought it might help solve some of these issues:

http://www.adobe.com...end.displayTab3.html
In particular Em Software with their product InCatalog (DB integration with InDesign):
http://emsoftware.co.../products/emcatalog/

- Oshyan
Thanks Oshyan!  That emcatalog sounds just right.  Boy, it's expensive ($800), but may be well worth it.

JavaJones

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2011, 08:26:22 PM »
You're welcome. I immediately thought of your needs when I saw that. Check out their other plugins (EMSoft) as well as the others on that Adobe plugin page too. There are some other promising-sounding ones too. None of them cheap, but if they allow you to have a great workflow, then I'm sure it's worth it.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Automatic document creation. How?
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2011, 11:49:55 AM »
There's also another software called EasyCatalog.  I'm very happy to see these out there, for a while I felt like I was the first person to ask for such a thing, and I knew that was crazy.