Over the years MS Access has not changed much in terms of it’s interface and the basic building blocks it contains. I started off using Access version 2. This was a good version in many respects, but was prone to being unstable when handling large amounts of data or users. The Jet database engine has always suffered from these problems. You could still accomplish a lot and build rather nice systems.
Access version 2 was the version that really established Access as the new great tool on the block. Competitors around at the time were Paradox, DBase, Dataease, Lotus Approach etc. MS Access had the big name of Microsoft behind, was part of the MS Office suite and quickly established itself in the marketplace. Many companies advertised for Access developers to develop systems.
Access 95 was a version that seemed to come and go. It was part of Office 95 and was not seen as being much of an improvement on Access 2.
Access 97 came next and this was a vast improvement on all previous versions. In fact this was my favourite version so far. Even though I have Access 2000 I feel more comfortable using Access 97. I find it less bloated and contains only what I need. It was certainly more stable than Access 2.
Access 2000 is a good robust version that carries on and enhances the great Access legacy. I found it to be faster than previous versions. It introduced the ability to write native SQL queries and pass them through to a more professional database such as SQL Server or Oracle.
Access 2003 – again not much has changed. It seems slightly buggy, but no doubt the service packs have overcome any issues.
Access 2007 – I have only started to look at this and my initial impressions are not favorable. The file format is no longer MDB and the interface is a complete overhaul. I believe it is too much too soon. For anyone new to an Access Database it will pose few problems, but for others who have used previous versions it will take some getting used to.
There is no more database window – it has been replaced by what is known as the ‘Navigation Pane’.
The menu bars are now replaced by the new MS Office standard of a Ribbon. You will either love or hate this at first.
There are some nice touches though. I particularly like the fact that you no longer have to worry about creating or implementing a calendar. Simply create a date field in your table and Access will create a small calendar icon next to it on your form. When you click this you will get a pop up calendar. No coding needed.
Security is no more. This may or may not be an issue. Security was always a problem in previous versions and an Access Database could never really be defined as being secure. You could connect to a secured Access Database from another database system. Not only that, but implementing what security there was could never be described as straightforward.
If you want a secure Access 2007 database now it is recommended you move to SQL Server Express or higher.
The Access Database has come a long way since it first took the world by storm in 1992.
1992 Access 1.1
1993 Access 2.0
1995 Access 95
1997 Access 97
1999 Access 2000
2001 Access 2002
2003 Access 2003
2007 Access 2007