Author: Roger Jennings
Publisher: Que, 2010
Pages: 1200 + 300 online/pdf
Aimed at: Intermediate users
Pros: The author knows what he’s talking about and writes well.
Cons: Some of the most interesting material is in the online-only section
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank
This big book is designed to tell you everything about using Access 2010. In fact, it’s such a big book that a third of it is only available online or as a PDF.
The first section of the book takes you through what’s new in Access 2010 if you’ve been using Access 2007, it then goes on to using the online templates and the new Office interface. Part II of the book covers fundamentals - relational database theory, tables and working with data. The details are explained well, though I personally find it strange the way the In Depth titles mix quite complex topics with ‘press this key, then this one, and you’ll see this appear on the screen’. If you need the latter in terms of hand-holding, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to cope with the former. The section on queries takes up the next 180 pages and covers everything about Access queries, including topics such as cross-tab queries, different join types, and both Access and SQL Server SQL.
The section on forms and reports starts with the use of auto-generated forms and reports, and goes through to topics such as grouping with subgroups, using subreports and unlinked reports. There’s a nice chapter on using Microsoft Graph to add graphs and pivot-charts to your forms and reports.
So far, everything makes logical sense in terms of what’s being covered, but the paper element of the book finishes with chapters that are chosen for other reasons. As Access 2010 has a revamped macro interface and Microsoft is ‘de-emphasizing’ Visual Basic for Applications for Access 2010, macro programming gets a chapter in the paper part of the book, while the chapter on VBA is only available online. Then come chapters on collaborating with Windows SharePoint Foundation Server, and sharing web databases with SharePoint Server 2010. It would be interesting to see statistics on how many companies are using Access with SharePoint - I suspect the figure is lower than Microsoft would like. However, the material is useful if you’re going to have to work with SharePoint - I’d just have preferred to see those chapters in the online section rather than the VBA chapters and the chapters on using Access with SQL Server.
That’s it for the paper part of the book. The online part kicks off with working with HTML and XML documents, importing and exporting web pages, integrating with XML and InfoPath. There’s a good description of analysing and using HTML data and how to use utilities such as HTML Tidy. The coverage of SQL Server with Access gets a couple of hundred pages with a short section on linking Access applications to SQL Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of SQL Server.
The final section covers programming with VBA, and starts from the basics of what’s a module, program flow, and error handling. From there onwards the material is well organized in terms of how you’re likely to actually use code in Access - event handling, programming combo and list boxes, understanding DAO, OLE DB and ADO, and upgrading older VBA applications to work with 2010.
Overall, this is a good book, and I’m happy to have it on my bookshelf. I’d have been even happier if it had all been there, but as it gives you arm ache holding it anyway, I do see why they made some of it online only. What seems really strange is the fact that so far as I can see, the Kindle version is identical in that you still have to download the extra pages.