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Microsoft has promised that Office 2010 will be released “sometime in the first half of 2010.” This seems reasonable since Microsoft has rolled out a moderately heavy marketing campaign discussing the changes users will see in Office 2010 from Office 2007.
Access is just one of the applications that are part of the Microsoft Office Suite of productivity software. However, unknown to many home users, Access is the backbone of many information systems including a high proportion of small and medium sized e-commerce sites and portals.
Whenever Microsoft announces a new version of Access, many database programmers brace themselves for devastating changes likely to affect the hundreds of person-hours that went into creating a database using one of Microsoft’s previous versions of Access. This article in a series of three discusses the changes users of will experience when migrating to Access 2010 from Access 2007. In addition, some caveats, recommendations, and solutions are discussed to make migrations as smooth as possible.
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What’s Changed in Microsoft Access 2010?
As mentioned in the previous article in this series, Access 2010 will share the same native file format as Access 2007. This means that we will likely refer to this file paradigm as the Access 2007/2010 file structure the same way we now discuss the Access 2002/2003 file structure. Consequently, most of the changes to Access 2010 from Access 2007 will be additional features rather than a paradigmatic change in storage, retrieval, or interfacing with data in the database.
The first question on most people’s minds when discussing migration is whether Access 2010 is backward compatible with Access 2007. The answer is yes but with a few caveats. Certainly, Access 2010 will have more features than Access 2007. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the release of another version of Access.
As can be expected, Access 2010 will introduce new features that are not compatible with Access 2007. For example, Access 2007 SP1 cannot open Access 2010 databases that take advantage of certain new features. However, Access 2007 SP2 will at least open the database and allow a limited amount of viewing and design of an Access 2010 database that uses these new features. Essentially, a bit of experimentation will likely be necessary to determine which features are backward compatible and which will require a complete migration to Access 2010.
One of the best features of Access 2007 over previous versions was the enhanced security initiatives introduced by Microsoft. Trusted locations allowed users to work with confidence that their databases were secure in designated folders. In addition, loading of Access 2007 databases with macros (and other code) disabled allowed users to work free from the dangers of viruses and other intrusions.
These security features have been further enhanced in Access 2010 with integration with Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010. With this feature integrated into the work process, you can keep track of revision histories, set access permissions, and even recover deleted data and information.
One useful new feature in Access 2010 is the addition of support for SQL Server 2008 data types. These new data types include: DATE, DATETIME2, DATETIMEOFFSET, TIME, GEOGRAPHY, GEOMETRY, and HIERARCHYID. However, the following SQL Server 2008 data types are not supported if the user is in Access 2010’s table or design mode: GEOGRAPHY, GEOMETRY, and HIERARCHYID.
Microsoft has already offered a workaround for this limitation that includes using SQL Server 2008 for designing and creating tables, views, and other areas where these data types need to be used. However, users can still use Access 2010 to design modules, forms, macros, and reports that refer to these three SQL Server 2008 data types.
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Truthfully, not a whole lot has changed from Access 2007 to Access 2010. Backward compatibility problems can always be expected between versions of any software so there is nothing here we haven’t seen before.
The enhanced security features of Access 2010 are more of a convenience than a necessity because there have always been alternatives to the increased security measures Microsoft promises to introduce in Access 2010. These alternatives include proper backing up of work, using third-party solutions for scheduling and permission allocation, and generally being careful about opening and using second-party macros and code.
Finally, support for the SQL Server 2008 data types is unlikely to make or break a database initiative. However, for those who find them useful, migration to Access 2010 from Access 2007 may make life easier by not forcing users to create or program workarounds. In the final article in this series of three, learn about what’s been removed from Access 2010.
Learn About What's Changed in Access 2010: Will Migration be Simple or Difficult?
The first article in this series discusses what’s new in Access 2010. The second article explores what’s changed from Access 2007. The third article in the series discusses what’s been removed from Access 2010 from Access 2007. Learn everything you need to know before you migrate to Access 2010.