Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One Size Fits All, Or All For One. NOT!

One of the most valuable aspects of Access Database development is that it is almost entirely custom.
That means nearly every new Access application is different in some non-trivial way from every one that preceded it--ever.

Need a database to track family addresses and phone numbers? Great. You'll find templates all over for that. But no two will be exactly alike and that's a good thing, IMO.

However, for a lot of new Access developers, that turns out to be a stumbling block to getting off the ground. If all you want to do is copy out a template and go to work, it's almost never possible to do so. Naming conventions, at the very least, are those chosen by the template designer. They may or may not be the same as those used in your organization.

And that’s just the trivial part.

You want to track one or more phone numbers for each contact. No problem, that’s a job for a related table of Phone Numbers. But what if the template maker decided every contact can have three Phone Numbers (Home, Work and Mobile)? That’s a limitation you’ll have to accept as a compromise. Or, you can modify the template.

At some point, such trade-offs and compromises become more of a hindrance to getting on with the task than simply starting out from scratch with your own design. And the more complex the business process, the more likely it will be that any template you find won’t stretch to fit it.

All of that can be summed up in the saying which is the title of this post. One Size Does Not Fit All.

You’ve been warned.