All About Microsoft Access 2013 and Access 365

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Microsoft Access 2013 is the software that has progressed over the ages from Access 1.1 in 1992 until now.

Office Professional 2013 Software (which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access) will allow you to install and run Access 2013 as usual.

The Office 365 version is paid by monthly subscription and provides Web services to Office 2013. It includes the Office Professional 2013 software as well as Access 365 and Access 2013.

Access 365, besides the name “Access”, has little to nothing in common with Access 2013 or previous versions of Access.

What is Access 365 all about?

Access 365 is a tool for creating web apps that run within SharePoint 2013. The old .ACCDB format has been abandoned. New applications should use the Access 365 model, or stick with Access 2010.

Access 365 allows the rapid creation of small applications using the standard web technologies of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript in a simplified web development environment. One big feature is that Access Services can now store data to Microsoft SQL Server or an SQL Azure database.

The use of SQL Server overcomes the 2 Gigabyte size limitation of the previous Access databases. SQL Server also provides all the security and features essential for any strategic company business system.

And What about Access 2013?

The Access 2013 desktop version is much unchanged from previous versions – it still supports the Front-End and Back-End database model and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

But Access 2013 no longer supports:

  • The Microsoft Access project (ADP)
  • The Access 97.mdb database format
  • PivotCharts and PivotTables
  • The dBASE database
  • Smart Tags (Action Tags)
  • Access 2003 Toolbars and menus
  • The Microsoft SQL Server database Upsizing Wizard
  • The Developer Source Code Control

Apps for Office

There is a new feature of Access 365 – Apps for Office. This technology enables Office to be used as a service on the Cloud or Web. The webpage can be hosted in an Office application – that is Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint or Project.

An app is usually published to the Office Store for use.

JavaScript API for Office

Access 365 has a new JavaScript API that provides programmatic access to Microsoft Office documents. The API includes application-specific data types, objects, functions and events.

The JavaScript API is a great improvement on the crude JavaScript design capabilities within HTML.

SharePoint apps

Access 365 provides a simple way for SharePoint to host the Front-End of an app and have the data management capabilities of SQL Server on the Web. This simplifies web development.

Note that Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code is not compatible with SharePoint Access applications.

Access 365 Macro Editor

Templates can be used to create sophisticated looking apps – and without the need for code. However business rules and data manipulation can be implemented with a new macro language. The macros do not have the power of VBA, but are adequate for simple logic.

Microsoft’s Strategic Direction

Microsoft Access was never meant for corporate company databases. Many companies evolved the Access database software into their core administration systems. But with the limitations of network traffic, peak loads, reliability, rollback recovery, security, etc, etc – these systems eventually hit a brick wall.

The direction that Access 365 is now taking reverts to the original intention of Microsoft Access. That is, providing a rapid development environment for small Line of Business (LOB) applications.

Microsoft Access with VBA is at the end of the road. For mission critical administration systems, the best development platform is Visual Basic.Net with SQL Server.

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