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Ken Getz at the Access User Group

Posted by workerthread on May 28, 2007

I attended the UK Access User Group National Seminar on 18 May.  Ken Getz was one of the main speakers, and gave presentations on new features  in Access 2007 and customising the Ribbon UI.  Ken is always an excellent speaker, and in the past I’ve made great use of the code samples in his various developers handbooks.  Ken often contributes MSDN articles, presents on a variety of developer-related products.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that he seems to have focused more on Office development with Visual Studio rather than Access.  This isn’t really surprising, as the new version of Access has little to offer application developers.  What it does have is a lot of new end-user and “list manager” features which are worth a look.  Having said that, there are a fair few reported and logged “issues” with Access 2007, as reported here.

During the seminar I got talking to a fair few Access developers who are disappointed with what Microsoft has done with Access – certainly it doesn’t seem to have a future as a development platform for applications in the same way as it has been in the past.  More likely it will go back to being a simple data/list manager and reporting tool, as well as an offline client for SharePoint lists

So what else should developers look at?  Well, maybe Ken is right to focus on Visual Studio Tools for Office.  There are a lot of possibilities here.  If it is possible to develop high quality add-ins for products such as Outlook, and connect to external data which can be surfaced in Outlook form regions I think this could be a winner.  I see that there is are a lot of new Office project types in the new Visual Studio Orcas beta, as well as an Office 2007 ribbon designer and click-once deployment support.  And If they can get the deployment side right with this release (which in VS2005 is still a big problem) then I think this could be something Access developers should take a good look at.  Certainly I will be trying this out, and will report back when I have.

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