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Introduction

Introduction

In this chapter

Who Should Read This Book

How This Book Is Organized

How This Book Is Designed

Typographic Conventions Used in This Book

System Requirements for Access 2003

Other Sources of Information for Access

Microsoft Office Access 2003 (version 11.0, called Access 2003 in this book) is a powerful, robust, and mature 32-bit relational database management system (RDBMS) for creating desktop and client/server database applications that run under Windows XP/2000+. As a component of the Professional and Professional Enterprise editions of Microsoft Office System 2003, Access 2003 has an upgraded user interface that’s consistent with the other members of the Office 2003 suite.

Access has vanquished all desktop relational database management system (RDBMS) rivals except Visual FoxPro and FileMaker Pro. The primary reasons for Access’s success are its inclusion in Microsoft’s productivity suite and its prowess as a rapid application development (RAD) environment for creating industrial-strength database applications. Another contributor to Access’s market share is the capability to duplicate on the PC desktop the features of client/server relational database systems, also called SQL databases. Client/server RDBMSs have led the way in transferring database applications from costly mainframes and Unix servers to modestly priced networked PCs. Despite Access’s power—and the claims of its erstwhile competitors—this desktop RDBMS is easy for nonprogrammers to use.

Like all members of Office 2003, Access 2003 offers a variety of Internet-related features for creating HTML and XML documents for use on intranets and the Internet. An important feature of Access 2003 is the upgraded version of data access pages (DAP), which is now ready for full deployment on your intranet and—with a few reservations—the Internet. Intranet and Internet users no longer need Office licenses to use the most important DAP features, but they do need to run Windows XP/2000+. You can redistribute the runtime version of the Office Web Components (OWC) 11, which enables full use of the Data Source Control and its navigation bar, plus view-only PivotTable and PivotChart pages. Internet users can automatically download OWC 11 from the Microsoft Web site.

Next in line on the feature list is the inclusion of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Edition (MSDE). Graphic table and query designers make creating and modifying SQL Server tables, views, functions, and stored procedures almost as easy as working with Jet tables and queries. Extended properties add lookup fields, subdatasheets, input masks, and other Access accouterments to SQL Server databases.

Microsoft’s rallying cry for Windows XP/2000+ and Office 2003 is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Ease of use is one of the primary requisites for reducing TCO; Access 2003 includes many wizards and other aids designed for first-time database users. If you’re still using Access 97 or 2000, Access 2003 and MSDE alone justify the cost of upgrading to Office 2003. If your goal is to use DAP for viewing and updating data in Internet Explorer 5+, make upgrading from Access 2000 your first priority.

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