Excel v.s. Access



  • I've been tracking the gas mileage on my car since I bought the thing about 15 months ago, and thought this would be a nice way to play around with Pivot Tables in Excel, using data retrieved from Access. So I get a quick 'n dirty table designed, transfer over the mileage info (date of fillup, car mileage, amount paid, liters pumped) into Access, and start working on the data imports in Excel.

    Forgot I still had the table open in Design mode in Access, so Excel spit out the following:

    Excel error

    What a fun message. Instead of "the file is locked by user X", it's just 'not found'. Microsoft must have bought into the true/false/file_not_found logic paradigm... Oh, and asking "I can't find what you wanted, would you like to use what you wanted instead?" seems kinda redundant...
     



  • It seems kinda redundant



  • I've always thought that, secretly, Access isn't really a database at all. It's just some bad VB scripting, written around Excel, which usually can go  a week between needing to rebuild the "database" due to self-inflicted corruption.



  • The WTF I see here is the fact that you have a little black box's assigned as your computer user name.  What wingdings font charater font is that?



  • @RichardNeill said:

    I've always thought that, secretly, Access isn't really a database at all. It's just some bad VB scripting, written around Excel, which usually can go  a week between needing to rebuild the "database" due to self-inflicted corruption.

     

    Yeah, I'd have to agree. Access-the-application is IMHO the largest steaming pile of warmed leavings of a male cow Microsoft has ever produced. The interface designers, I believe, should be sent to live with the marketing department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation... and take priority to a space on the wall when the revolution comes.

    Honestly... how long has Access been available? 15 years? 20? In all that time, they haven't been able to make the app remember window positions, or come up with a better query designer.

    Excel, on the other hand, is about the one Office app I actually like using. To be sure, I've got minor quibbles with some bits of the interface, but overall, it does exactly what it should, and doesn't spend most of its existence doing its best to make sure you don't accomplish anything, like, say, Word...

     



  • @morgano said:

    The WTF I see here is the fact that you have a little black box's assigned as your computer user name.  What wingdings font charater font is that?

    That would be the 'brush' function in PaintBrush, Microsoft's ultimate answer to Photoshop.
     



  • @MarcB said:

    @RichardNeill said:

    I've always thought that, secretly, Access isn't really a database at all. It's just some bad VB scripting, written around Excel, which usually can go  a week between needing to rebuild the "database" due to self-inflicted corruption.

     

    Yeah, I'd have to agree. Access-the-application is IMHO the largest steaming pile of warmed leavings of a male cow Microsoft has ever produced. The interface designers, I believe, should be sent to live with the marketing department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation... and take priority to a space on the wall when the revolution comes.

    Honestly... how long has Access been available? 15 years? 20? In all that time, they haven't been able to make the app remember window positions, or come up with a better query designer.

    Excel, on the other hand, is about the one Office app I actually like using. To be sure, I've got minor quibbles with some bits of the interface, but overall, it does exactly what it should, and doesn't spend most of its existence doing its best to make sure you don't accomplish anything, like, say, Word...
     

    You both should really learn how to use Access, you might like it.  If you feel that it is just Excel wrapped up in scripting, then you should really look a little closer.  It's a relational database.  Not a database server, of course, but it is an honest-to-goodness relational database application. primary keys, indexes, check constraints, foreign keys, data types, set-based sql support, derived queries, correlated sub-queries, aggregates, execution plans, views, parameterized commands, an excellent rdbms reporting tool with conditional formatting, sub-reports,  etc. -- it's pretty much all there.  Again, it is not an enterprise database server, of course, but it is a great little package for what it does.   As for the UI, I am not sure specifically what problems you have with it, but I suspect that, again, it is because you expect it to act like a spreadsheet and not a relational database application.  try using it like a database and not a spreadsheet, you might be surprised what happens!



  • @Jeff S said:

    You both should really learn how to use Access, you might like it.  If you feel that it is just Excel wrapped up in scripting, then you should really look a little closer.  It's a relational database.  Not a database server, of course, but it is an honest-to-goodness relational database application. primary keys, indexes, check constraints, foreign keys, data types, set-based sql support, derived queries, correlated sub-queries, aggregates, execution plans, views, parameterized commands, an excellent rdbms reporting tool with conditional formatting, sub-reports,  etc. -- it's pretty much all there.  Again, it is not an enterprise database server, of course, but it is a great little package for what it does.   As for the UI, I am not sure specifically what problems you have with it, but I suspect that, again, it is because you expect it to act like a spreadsheet and not a relational database application.  try using it like a database and not a spreadsheet, you might be surprised what happens!

     

    Don't confuse my complaints about Access as being about Access-the-database. I don't have any major complains about the underlying DB engine, whatever it's being
    called these days. It could stand a few sprinkles of syntactic sugar to make queries easier to write, but in general it does what it's supposed to with minimal fuss. I've never confused it with being a glorified spreadsheet... anytime I've done in Access has been a true database, with keys, referential integrity, normalization, blah blah blah. But using Access-the-program to interface with Access-the-database is where the pain begins.

    What I hate is Access-the-program, the front-end of it all.

    Can you honestly say you don't mind having to resize a window 200 times in the course of designing something, because Access-the-program won't remember how it was sized and positioned? Open a large-ish table, get it sized just right to be able to refer to other windows, switch to design view, hop back to table view, and... boom, you're back to that magical 90%-of-the-desktop-coverage sizing/position layout again.

    It's one thing for an app to suggest a layout or something, it's another one entirely to outright ignore your desires and continually impose its stupidity on you.

     

    As for the syntactic sugar, let's take a query like the following (this is purely an example, don't yell about syntax errors and the like):

    select field1, field2, some_very_ugly_and_hideous_formula(with, lots, of, parameters, to, make, [life interesting]) as aliasX
    from tableY
    left join tableZ on blahblahblahblah
    order by aliasX;

    Most my work is done with MySQL, where this query is allowed. Once you define an alias for something in a query, you can use that alias elsewhere in the query to saving having to retype whatever that alias represents. Jet doesn't. You can't use the alias in the order by clause without getting syntax errors. You have to repeat the entire chunk of text in two places.

    Switching between the query designer (in graphical or SQL) mode and the results window will also lose any formatting you've done in the SQL view. So your nicely indented query with brackets properly aligned is now reduced to a horrible blob of garbage each time. 

    As well, when you do have a syntax error in a query, it just tells you there's a syntax error. It won't point out where the error is, leaving you to have rummage around on your own to figure it out. MySQL's CLI at least will quote a short bit of the query to show where it thinks the error is. very "oh, you KNOW what you did"... thanks, but I get enough of that from my wife. I don't need Access doing it to me too. Access is a graphical interface. Pop open the SQL view and highlight the section where the error supposedly is. Don't just spam me with a popup to report the error, which means you can't refer to the error text while looking through the query... You have to screencap or otherwise copy the error to keep it handy.

    Bah. 8 or more major revisions of Access and they still can't build an interface to save their lives. 



  • @MarcB said:

    Excel error

    What a fun message. Instead of "the file is locked by user X", it's just 'not found'. Microsoft must have bought into the true/false/file_not_found logic paradigm... Oh, and asking "I can't find what you wanted, would you like to use what you wanted instead?" seems kinda redundant...


    Actually, I think that the last line is asking if you want to use the document path as a network address.



  • @Carnildo said:


    Actually, I think that the last line is asking if you want to use the document path as a network address.

    Then wouldn't it be \server\share\Documents and .....? Nope. No networks involved in this one. All local C: drive stuff. 


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