Saturday, November 08, 2014

Office 365 Legal Framework

I recently listed to a talk on Office 365 security and privacy and it added to my belief that Microsoft has data management goals that are business focused from day 1.  Here is a link to the Office 365 Trust information, you be the judge.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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

Contact me here to be in the running to win 6 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 by the middle of November.


Winners names are


Garry Robinson
Access MVP since 2006

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two Things I Learnt Making My Second Access Web App

When making my first web app, I charged at the App like a bull in a china shop and didn’t really pay much attention to the whole App building experience.
With my second App I noticed two important things
Tip 1: Importing Auto-number Related Tables Make Life So Much Easier
Access Web databases love Autonumber fields so much that they will always add one for you. So if you want to save yourself a lot of time, make sure the Primary Key in the database you are converting is Autonumber and the Key in the Related table is Long Integer.  This is really important because the Web Forms Access creates for you relies on these features to set up the Automatic forms. So even if you don’t understand this concept now, be prepared to rewrite the parts of your online database to suit this model before you import. And believe me you will import your database a few times before you get it right.
Tip 2: A Desktop Database with Read-Write Linking Is Essential
The second thing I found I just had to have was a read-write connection to the Office365 tables to change and add data. This is explained in this video
To explain why this is important, consider this simple example. In the online Authors tab at, I was showing Authors that had written for Smart Access but there was no actual article online. This meant viewing that person drew a blank in the related articles list. So to solve this I am going to add Yes/No field called ArticleOnline in the Office365 database as in the picture below.

Now I need to populate that field and because I am an older mouse, I like to follow old paths to solve problems the same way as I am used to. So I open my Read-Write connected database and build a normal update query. In the picture below you can see the query on the right and on the left you see the World Icons in the linked fields. These are ODBC links to the Office 365 database. So as the simple linking of the tables fulfils my Yes/No test, I can run the query.

Now I can make a small change to my Access Web Form so that it filters on the Yes/No field as in the following picture
 If you don't think connecting using linked tables is important, try programming XML packets to transfer data, its 100 times more difficult.
Garry Robinson
Editor of

A Public Site Access Web App You Can Try

I was looking around my downloads the other day and I found the database that Peter Vogel wrote to manage Smart Access. Looking into it, I thought it could be a good way to further experiment with Access 2013 Web Apps. So I imported the data into a New Web App.
24 hours elapsed time including maybe 3 hours of programming and 6 hours of fiddling with data and here it is.
You do not need any permission to run the app, it is readonly. The purpose of it is to allow you to navigate to articles in the website in different ways than Good Old Search.
Here are some samples starting with the Articles View.
Then there is the Keyword search form which I quite like. This uses a datasheet sub view.
The important thing to remember when using this Web App for the first time is that you can quickly filter the list by entering a search term in the “Filter the List” box.
Enjoy this App and come back later to use it again to search

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Demonstration of the Slider Keyboard on Windows Mobile 8.1

Hello Readers.  With all the hype for iPhone 6, Windows Mobile 8.1 was released without dramas onto my Nokia 1020 phone.  Here is a demonstration of a feature that I have missed since I left my Google phone in the drawer, a slider keyboard entry system.  See the keyboard demonstration on YouTube here

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Windows 10 - the first demo

Windows 7 menus meet Windows 8 live tiles. That's Windows 10 and here is a good 40 minute video.  For ultra geeks, 27 minutes into the talk is a demo of new features in the cmd window (dos window).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Improve Your Buttons

Round, curved, shadows, these are the things you can do with Access button in Access 2010.  See samples on this page.

New Office Plans A-Coming

Office Blogs
In October the Office 365 plans will change names and structure and allow a lot more users. If you want to use Access web Apps, you need a plan with Sites - Team Collaboration/ SharePoint.  This means that you will need as a minimum Business Essentials as per my previous advice. Here is a Link to what is included in SharePoint in these plans

Note:  This advice is for programmers who are sitting on the fence wondering if / how they will get into Access Web Apps.

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 (Soon to be called Business Premium). Here is my tip, don't bother with the free trial, go with a one user licence of Small Business (Soon to be called Business Essentials) 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

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 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

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

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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stop Press: is now hosted by Office 365

A month ago I decided to see if I could transfer 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 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 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

I have created a page at 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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Talk On Access 2013 Web Apps Running at Office 365/

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  It shows what happens when you use the Table template.

Saturday, July 19, 2014