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I'm working on an Access database for work using Office 2007. This is probably the most painful thing I've had to do in a long, long time. Oh the things we do for money.

Do you want to know how to get Access to crash? Step 1: Add a label to a form. Step 2: Delete it. Step 3: Try to undo. Crash.

Here's another way. Step 1: Add a bunch of text fields. Step 2: Highlight them all. Step 3: Click this big "Control Padding" button. Step 4: Watch the applicaiton hang, then put it out of its misery.

Did you know in Vista when you crash an app, the "fatal error" popup dialog box gives you a helpful option to restart the app? See, Microsoft anticipated the problem of instability, and gave us a fix. What more could you want?

I added a bunch of fields to an Access form, and they all auto-appeared stacked directly on top of each other. I tried to auto-size some text fields via some cryptically named "To Fit" button, and it made them all 1000 pixels wide, with 1000 pixel wide labels beside them. I think they're trying to boost computer monitor sales.

I accidentally added too many columns while designing a table (there's a limit to how many columns can appear in a table, and it's not hard to hit). So Access wouldn't let me save the table. It started complaining about there being too many indexes on the table. Then it just complained about there being too many columns. I started deleting columns. It still wouldn't let me save because it thought some of the columns I deleted were still there. I deleted almost all the columns but it still wouldn't let me save it. I had to delete the whole table and start over.

There's this thing on the left that's supposed to list your tables and forms and queries. It took me 15 minutes to figure out how to get it to show all three of those things at once. The menu that lets you pick what to display is like some kind of sadistic logic puzzle with no answer. Picking one option suddenly makes a bunch of other options disappear or rearrange themselves. Some things in popup menus look exactly like options but are unclickable.

Really it's like every single minute part of the Access GUI was specially designed to behave differently than every other part. It's like they didn't have a widget toolset to pick from so everyone made up their own widgets. I honestly couldn't make something this hard to use if I tried. But Microsoft has billions of dollars of resources to throw at the problem I guess.

Buttons on the magic ribbon are sized according to how important they are, I guess:

The huge labeled "Logo" button on the left adds a pretty decorative icon to the top left corner of the form. The microscopic button last thing on the right lets you view and edit source code for the form.

I just noticed that my "Form Footer" actually appears ABOVE my form right now. ...I'm speechless. (I'm actually not speechless. I'm sitting here cackling madly, on the brink of losing my wits.)

Make it stop hurting. Why won't it stop hurting?

November 25, 2007 @ 11:05 AM PST
Cateogory: Rants

1 Comment

Microsoft Access has impressed someone « Ink and Whiskey
Quoth Microsoft Access has impressed someone « Ink and Whiskey on November 25, 2007 @ 11:41 AM PST

[...] Access has impressed someone But probably not in the way that MS might like. Database admins will probably giggle manically at a few parts in there. Dude can write [...]