Another video – Splitting an Access database

When I’m making something I sometimes learn new things. They say “you should never stop learning”. I agree with “them”, whoever they may be.

While I was working on the SOPAG project, I investigated “splitting” the Access database into:

  • Logic and presentation, and
  • Data (database definitions and data values)

Components. I knew this could be done, but I had not spent much effort on it before.

The splitting itself was a straightforward enough exercise. Most of the work is done by Access itself. However, you might want to confirm that all the decisions it has made are sensible!

I decided to document the results for my own benefit, and then decided to convert a scrappy Powerpoint presentation into something a little more presentable to upload to YouTube.

Here it is: Splitting an Access database

I had fun doing the work to find out how it worked, and fun making the video. I hope you get something from watching it.

Collaboration software and badgers on the internet

A little earlier this week I attended a Webinar on PBWorks ProjectHub product.

Here is a link to a recording of the webinar:

I have used PB Works’ wiki product for years (anyone who remembers me from LCCH may¬†remember me setting up a reference site which was based on PBWiki).

Right now, I’m using the “Freemium” version of ProjectHub to manage a small project I’m running. The project team is split across two countries (Ireland and Wales), so the opportunities of meeting face to face are limited, but thankfully we’re all in the same timezone and all speak more-or-less the same language!

It’s all going reasonably well, and I started to ask myself “why?”

I’ve used various bits of collaboration software on various different platforms for years now. Sometimes it works well for the project, sometimes it works less well.

With ProjectHub, I like the way that I can switch between a top-level view, to a short term ¬†“what is the next focus” view, to an individual task view quickly.

One of the things which helps my team, is that we’ve known one another for quite a while and we’ve agreed:

  • the way that we are going to use the tool,
  • what our roles are, and
  • what our individual responsibilities are.

In order to keep things running smoothly, we have a role which I call “the badger”. The badger’s job is to spot when people have forgotten to complete updates (usually because they’ve been doing something more important and more interesting) and remind them. The good thing about something like ProjectHub is that the actual effort of adding a couple of line comment on a task, or ticking the “complete box” is easier than arguing, so things remain reasonably up to date. The badger doesn’t have to be the PM (right now it is me though), in fact, it’s better if it is someone else, because even the PM needs to be badgered sometimes!

Almost my first video on Youtube

Sometimes things don’t go quite as I intend. A little while ago, someone approached me with a potential project. Unfortunately I was too busy at the time to take it on.

The idea had tickled my fancy. It bubbled away in the back of my mind and as I had odd moments I created bits of it, as what I would describe as a proof of concept. It was a useful exercise in that it has reminded me of a few things, taught me some things about what Microsoft Access is good at and some things it is not so good at. Inevitably, there are some things I would do differently if I did it again. That’s all right, because after all it was only a proof of concept, and there was no real input in the form of “requirements” anyway.

Having produced the thing, then I wanted to show it to an acquaintance. I messed about with a few things and after a couple of iterations, produced this:
SOPAG – A simple Access Application

Having produced the video, and decided to write a “business related blog” it seemed appropriate to share it here.

I wouldn’t claim either SOPAG, or the video are marvelous, but I’ve learned a lot from both of them. In fact, I have set up a little project to take them both a little further.

But that is for the next instalment!