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Chapter 5. Working with Jet Databases an... > Understanding Jet Database Files

Understanding Jet Database Files

The traditional name for an .mdb file that stores Access application, data objects, or both is Access database. As other database programming tools, such as Visual Basic, began using data-only .mdb files, Jet database became the preferred designation for files containing only tables and queries. Access is only one of many Microsoft applications and programming tools that take advantage of the Jet database engine. Jet 4.0, which Access 2000 also uses, is the latest and last Jet version. Access 2002 is the first Access upgrade that doesn't introduce a new Jet version or require converting existing .mdb files into a new format to enable changing the design of database objects.

Microsoft's determination to make SQL Server the database engine of choice for Access 2002 and all future Access versions is another reason for changing from Access to Jet terminology for applications that use .mdb and related files. Access 2000 and 2002 store application objects—forms, reports, macros, and modules—in a new compound file format called a DocFile. Conventional Access applications store the application object DocFile within the .mdb file. Access Data Projects (ADP), which now represent the preferred approach to designing Access applications that connect to SQL Server databases, store the DocFile directly on disk as an .adp file. Combining ADP front ends with SQL Server back-end databases eliminates the need to periodically compact .mdb files and occasionally repair corrupted Jet databases. The chapters of Part V, “Upgrading to SQL Server 2000 Databases,” cover designing ADP and SQL Server databases.


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