How does it all started and where are we headed?

Back in 1994 when we were writing database application on DOS operating system using Clipper language, users clamor for a better user interface, a windows interface, where they could use the mouse instead of a keyboard to execute a task, Microsoft Access was the nearest substitute, and the rest was history.

Microsoft Access provides all the necessary tools for us to build database application without having to code our buttons, menus and other piping task a developer would normally write.  In effect, as a software developer, we are more focus on the business logic and functional requirements of the users, the result was that the users and functional experts, e.g, accountants, doctors sometimes becomes the developer.  And for the past 18 years I could not count how many applications we installed and deployed using Microsoft Access.

Now in the advent of wireless technology and the proliferation of the Internet through cellphones/smartphones and tablets/pads users demands that their application should be ubiquitous.  In fact every time we sell a Human Resource System, they demanded an on-line leave application, etc., etc., every time we sell a Warehouse System, they demanded an online view of the inventory, etc. etc..  In other words the users now clamor for a new and better user interface.  Microsoft Access database application has yet to adapt.

The answer may lies in Microsoft Lightswitch.  Microsoft Lightswitch is similar to Microsoft Access in terms of removing the piping task from the developer.  The main difference is the data connectivity and query.  Microsoft Lightswitch uses Entity Framework, a light weight data connectivity and converts the tables in your database to a class, in effect removing the developers ability to query and warp the data directly using SQL syntax.  SQL is the key why non developers were so successful making database application using Microsoft Access.

The replacement of SQL is LINQ.  To tell you honestly I am new to LINQ and I find it more easy to create and cleaner to maintain than SQL.  It is just basically a paradigm shift and change of ways of thinking.

With this I can conclude that Microsoft Access = Microsoft Lightswitch + LINQ = ubiquitous database application = the future.   Furthermore, Microsoft is changing its user interface paradigm, from mouse to hand.


6 thoughts on “How does it all started and where are we headed?

  1. Nice blog Bai! Why MSTF did not adopt and improve or migrate access form and report model to lightswitch? is it for business or political reason? just your 2 cents here. Ive been also developing access apps since version 2, it’s the only rad db dev’t. tools next to none. Many software company try to clone access but so far only alpha five is the ligitimate contender. Access 15 web app is very expensive to implement, so i doubt if small to medium businesses will bite for it.

    1. I really don’t know, and there is really a heated argument between the users in LinkedIn Access Guru and Microsoft about this. I believe it is technology related, desktop application is totally different from web application, and microsoft doesn’t want to spend converting VBA and other desktop technology to use Entity Framework, they rather create a new development environment, e.g., lightswitch, to replace it, this might be cheaper for them because it use three products already made by them, e.g., Visual Studio, .NET and Silverlight. Access 15 web apps that uses IIS + Sharepoint + MSSQL accumulates so much man hours, cost and support, thus, it is not feasible as of the moment. But I am still hopeful though.

  2. I will watch LS evolution, as of this time Access is the RADest DB front-end tools. We have no problem accessing Access Apps on the cloud, we are maximizing TS remoteapp. Also we run our Access Apps in-browser using ThinVNC.

  3. Thanks for responding, yes Glenn. What apps did you deployed in GenSan? as of this time I’m out of town and be back on tuesday Feb 5. I had also busy sched doing new development and maintaining Access apps. See you soon and have a nice stay in GenSan.

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