Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Access Web Apps - Cough up 50$ and get on with it

Ok, I know I have been banging on about Access Web Apps and I really haven't told you how to get started. In Office 365 there is currently the offer of a 10 users free trial of Small Business Premium. Here is my tip, don't bother with the free trial, go with a one user licence of Small Business and cough up the 5-6$ a month for a year.


  1. Its going to take more than a month before you really get a hang of it unless you are a 24/7 sort of person.
  2. If you get the Small Business Premium 10 user licence, you probably will need to contact a technician to turn it back into a Small Business licence.
  3. There is a chance when switching between the Small Business products that you will lose the SharePoint sub-domain name that you started with and the data that went with it. I nearly did because of my procrastination :(
  1. I did quite a bit of work with adding domain names and setting up Public Facing SharePoint sites. As some of this was hard to get right, I had to call both the technicians at Telstra T-Suite Australia and Microsoft. Both organisations provided fantastic support.
  2. I found it really useful to use a second domain name whilst setting up the website. SharePoint allows you to switch between domains whilst you are working on your public website.
Garry Robinson

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Win More Copies Of Professional Access 2013 Programming in eBook form

Back in July I gave away a couple of free copies of the really good book called Professional Access 2013 Programming in eBook form. Well I have more copies to win and your challenge is to connect from your place to 5 articles that you like at the new www.vb123.com.

To be in the running, in Twitter or Facebook or Linked-In or Blogger or a good old fashioned website, add your 5 favourite articles at vb123.com and add a little description on those articles.  Then send me details on where those links are or ping me with Facebook or Twitter.  Upto 3 people will win, those that don't will be in the draw with those that didn't win in July for yet more copies of Teresa, Ben, George and Dagi's book. No correspondence entered into. Don't enter unless you intend keeping the links.

Examples of links to articles at vb123.com

The Trouble with Normal by Peter Vogel
Queries Queries by John Veiscas
or maybe even my very first article
Exploring Data Visually with MS Access

Idea: Go for a theme using the great SharePoint search tool at vb123.com

Happy Linking
Garry Robinson
See my Twitter and Facebook links at the top of every page.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stop Press: www.vb123.com is now hosted by Office 365

A month ago I decided to see if I could transfer www.vb123.com from a traditional ftp hosted site to SharePoint. You know the story, looks like it will be over in a few days but instead it blows out.  Finally most of the heavy lifting is over and the SharePoint version of www.vb123.com is live. 300 articles, 150 pdf articles, 1000's of pictures and many links. 

Summary:  Works pretty good on a mobile phone, search is way better and now includes the pdf files and  I am building my skills in SharePoint.

The job was undertaken with the Metalogix Content Matrix Console - Web Edition

Screen capture of www.vb123.com on Win Mobile 8

Monday, August 04, 2014

Access Web App technology is important as demonstated in this talk.

In this talk at SharePoint 2014 USA, the very important topic (to SP people) of what is happening to InfoPath and Forms in SharePoint 2013+ featured a lot of Access technology. To be more precise, Access forms were displayed in the great Excel Web Surveys (Available now), List Forms (Later 2014 and displayed in the talk) and there was even a good demo of Access 2013 at the 33rd minute of the talk.  This happened in front of a big audience of over a 1000.  In slide 1, a green tick shows where the Access web form technology is used and in slide 2, you will see where the Access web app is demonstrated in the video. If there are InfoPath users reading this, don't panic, its still being supported for many years to come according to the talk.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Access Web Apps Home Page at vb123.com

I have created a page at vb123.com where I will put most of the links and detail pages on the Access 2013 Web apps technology.  If anyone has a resource page or video they would like to share, post it here

In last weeks competition, Jeff Pye and Robb Wait won copies of Professional Access 2013 Programming ebook.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Forget the lamp posts - glow in the dark trees


A really great story (unless you don't like tampering with nature) about an invention that has managed to pass the glow in the dark properties of jellyfish into plants.

See an Access Desktop App running normally using cloud data and more

This edition I have some more videos on Access Web Apps from my talk at the Aussie SharePoint conference. 

Video 4 describes what you get when you start a Web App from scratch. Its a bit different to ordinary Access desktop so its worth reviewing the features. Video 5 shows a desktop running with all the data in the cloud.  This totally rocks and speaking of which, its rock solid with SQL Server on Azure and ODBC connections. Video 6 explains how you setup the ODBC so you can connect your desktop with a read/write connection to SQL Server in the cloud.

If you followed last weeks newsletter and watched the videos, you are now up to video 4.  Here is the full deck of Access Web App videos on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Win a copy of Professional Access 2013 Programming by Teresa, George, Ben and Dagi

In one of my YouTube videos on Access Web Apps, I discuss a "Click on a New Macro Button" that transfers the current Task into what table ?  Tell me here the name of that table and you will be in the running to win one of two copies of Professional Access 2013 Programming in eBook form.

Correct entries will be drawn by using the rand() function in Excel and those with highest random value will win and I will announce the winners here and by email a the end of July.

Prize was won by Jeff Pye and Robb Wait

Garry Robinson
Access MVP since 2006

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Talk On Access 2013 Web Apps Running at Office 365/SharePoint.com

Last week I gave a talk at a big Australian SharePoint conference about Access 2013 Web Apps. This was remarkable in itself as no SharePoint person has ever listened to me before. To get tuned up for the presentation, I made some YouTube videos.  You can watch the first three of those Access Web App videos here

Video 1 -  Introduction to Access Web Apps and your humble scribe (me)
Video 2 - This is probably the first movie ever made on an iPad that shows an Access Web App. You would watch this just to get a feel of what a good Web App would look like.  I am not trying to sell the App I wrote, just demonstrate the tool.
Video 3 - Here is my take on setting up a Web App from scratch on SharePoint.com.  It shows what happens when you use the Table template.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Monday, July 07, 2014

Making The Grade

Its good to have look at challenging query situations every now and again as most Access problems are solved by queries, not code.  Doug Steele wrote an article on how to classify student marks into Grades A to F.  Have a look and see if you can follow the logic. Even if you can't, if you are a database programmer, you may need to one day.


You will find many challenging articles on queries on the LHS of Doug's article.  Read one query article a week and you will be a much better programmer as a result.

Free Ticket to ShareThePoint conference in Sydney


You need to be able to attend the conference for at least one day. It runs for 2 days at the Hilton in Sydney.

Links to Sydney details here

Garry Robinson
Access MVP 2006-2015

Friday, June 27, 2014

Read this to feel PtrSafe about Office 64 Bit compatibility

If you write Microsoft Access databases with basic VBA code and no fancy Windows calls, you will find your database will run with Office 32 bit and Office 64 bit with no problems. But if you have used fancy windows library calls, you are likely to get this bug

Compile error 
The code in this project must be updated for use on 64-bit Visual Basic VBA7. Please review and update Declare statements and then mark them with the PrtSafe attribute.

This issue is discussed in detail here at Microsoft and Conditional Compilation is discussed here

Better still, here is some code that now works with both Office 32 bit and Office 64 bit VBA

'Office 64 Bit Code - Conditional Compile

#If VBA7 Then
  '64 Bit code
  Public Declare PtrSafe Function etc etc

  '32 Bit code

  Public Declare Function etc etc
#End If

and the full code looks like this picture

Thursday, June 12, 2014

19 mod 5 <<< Does this ring a bell

If I typed

ival = 19 mod 5
msgbox "The answer is " & ival

or what would I get for

 22 mod 10

Read about the mod operator here     Sorry no clues, this is good to work out.

If you head to vb123.com, choose the Index words Key (see picture), and type Mod, you will find a few articles where Mod is used.

Sydney SharePoint Conference in July

I am speaking at the Sydney ShareThePoint conference on July 15th. The Agenda for the conference is here

My 1hr talk is advertised as follows

Access MVP Garry Robinson now collects billing and to-do items from 5 sub-contractors across 30 projects in Sharepoint.com using an Access 2013 Web App. It's secure, contractors only see the projects they are assigned to and it runs well in all browsers and even on iPads.

In this session, Garry will address these points:
What have I learnt in the short time that I have been developing the system ?
How would an Access Web App fit into a SharePoint world?
What about Office 365, do Access Web apps have a future in the cloud?
And where does the legacy desktop database fit in ?

Hope to see you there   

Garry Robinson
Microsoft Office Access MVP

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Use Your Skills as A Database Developer to create a Web/Sharepoint App

In my blog post entitled Impress the Head Of the IT Department For the First Time,  I said that I had adopted a new development tool for collecting data in the cloud. That tool is the spanking new 2013 Microsoft Access Web App environment.

Access Web Apps are new and powerful edition to SharePoint 2013. They provide you with a rapid way to generate an interface that runs on PC's, iPads and Android and can be viewed in Firefox, Opera, IE and Chrome. But its what the interface sits on that is most impressive, clean crisp screens that use SharePoint security fronting SQL Server both on-premise and in the cloud. Even the macro environment, much despised in desktop Access, produces SQL Server stored procedures.  But who cares about all that, does it work?   YES.

If you click here, you can see some screens from the Access Web App that we are running to manage task lists and timesheets (for billing) on Office 365.

But as you probably want to find out what Access Web Apps are all about, I strongly recommend this presentation from Jeff Conrad and Chris Usher entitled Anyone can build a SharePoint App with Microsoft Access.  It goes for a full hour so settle back with a beer and some nachos and enjoy.

Happy Garry
Before you get worried that everyone will be developing Access Web Apps, I am of the belief that Access desktop developers with patience and a good knowledge of what Web Apps can do will be very well suited to this "Totally Different Development Environment". The exception to this will be those who expect the same old Access Desktop in the web. That ain't happening any time soon.

I am a happy man, this new environment could well become one of the most productive environments in the cloud just like Access still is on the desktop and on file servers.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Impress the Head Of the IT Department For the First Time

If you tell the head of IT in a large company that you are thinking of writing an Access Desktop database running on a file server, he/she would probably ban it.  I know that you would probably be successful but the IT manager would probably not be happy. Most of my business in big companies has been with technical managers who haven’t involved the IT department. Please don’t tell them

If you were to tell the same head of IT that you were going to write a database that was secured by SharePoint, hosted in SQL Server, very efficient in how it used SQL Server and that it ran on any HTML5 ready browser, he/she would probably be a happy person.

In a similar vein, if you told a manager of a company that ran its businesses across multiple locations around the country that you could write a database that used SharePoint security, SQL Server and HTML 5. If you then said the database could be running in Office 365 anytime, I think you may have an interested boss.

This brings me to my story. I am now running my company’s important time sheets collections in the cloud.  For the last 7 years, Basecamphq.com provided us with simple html screens where each contractor that works for me would only see the projects that they were assigned to at that time. Entering timesheets was very easy and could be done from any browser. I downloaded the information from BaseCamphq and produced invoices and management reports in an offline Access database.
We are now doing our data collection in an App that I wrote for the Cloud in 3 weeks part time. I have configured the App to work securely like BasecampHq did. I have also set it up so that all our desktop billing software works the same as before. Can you guess what program I used to build the online HTML5 interface to SQL Server hosted in Office365  ?  Stay tuned  …

This was posted as a youtube video here

Garry Robinson - Manager of a handful of very good Access developers in Australia