Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Inappropriate Language" in MS Access 2007 Templates

Okay, so I've been trying to figure out how to submit additional Access 2007 templates to the MS Access Template Site. For some time now, the MS Access team has been encouraging MVP's to participate in the template program.

Well, I tried, I really tried. A little over a year ago, I submitted a dead simple template that consists of the table schema and two forms. That one was accepted.

However, MS has a policy of not accepting "community submitted" templates which contain any VBA whatsoever. Embedded macros are permitted, but not VBA, so that first one is actually a pretty uninteresting template, as templates go.

Nonetheless, a few weeks ago, encouraged by seeing that simple little "template" go over 10,000 downloads, I decided to try again, with a slightly different approach. I created a demo accdb from a Project Work Tracking tool I first created for my own use a few years ago. (You can download the original from my website, here.)

Then I created a second copy of the accdb, from which I removed all code, macros and VBA. Then I turned it into a sanitized template so I could upload it to the MS template site.

It was rejected--three times! Yes, even without code it is not publishable. The reason given is "inappropriate language". Okay, I say, if "Project Budget", "Project Milestone" and "My Company Location" are inappropriate language, then I plead guilty. I used all three terms and several others, similar in content and scope, in many places in the template.

However, I strongly suspect the real reason this templete got rejected might be that, by offering a code-less, and therefore non-operational template, but WITH a link to the full working accdb on my site, I'm suggesting potential users could start with the "shell" template from the MS site and then go to my website for the full working version if they like the shell. Apparently that's not an acceptable alternative to a macro driven MS Template.

I could be wrong about that interpretation, of course, but I'm pretty discouraged by this latest experience anyway.

It's pretty hard for me to see a way to take advantage of the template opportunity MS has been promoting so hard for the last couple of years, unless I agree to abandon VBA entirely in favor of embedded macros.

Revising my little Tracking Tool around macros, of course, would make a simple sample accdb simpler still. Much as I would love to continue offering templates via the community submission route, I just can't see myself simplifying functionality with pure embedded macros simply to get them published by MS.

Here's a bit more "inapropriate language":

To me, MS community-submitted templates are beginning to look more and more like a terrific idea that is nonetheless doomed to failure because of the way it has been implemented. Oh well, it was fun trying, and you can download the full, working accdb (or mdb) version of the sample from my website. If you choose to do so, though, look out for the "inappropriate language" in it.