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Chapter 8. Linking, Importing, and Expor... > In the Real World—Microsoft Giveth a...

In the Real World—Microsoft Giveth and Microsoft Taketh Away

Microsoft bundles a raft of no-additional-charge features in Windows XP/2000+ but there’s no free lunch at the export/import counter when you upgrade from Access 97 to Access 2003. The most controversial issue is restriction of Office 2003 to running under Windows XP, 2000 Professional or Server, or Server 2003. Long-standing dBASE and Paradox import, export, and linking features disappeared in Access 2000, and even Microsoft’s Visual FoxPro was slighted by losing its ISAM driver, while gaining limited import/export support with an ODBC driver that has known defects. These defects weren’t corrected in Access 2003 and, because VFPODBC.dll is officially in Microsoft “maintenance” mode, never will be fixed.

Microsoft taketh away Windows 9x/Me compatibility and desktop database connectivity features, but giveth links to Outlook and Exchange folders, Windows Sharepoint Services, and InfoPath 2003 plus enhanced XML import/export operations. Fair bargain? Probably, because it’s a good bet that more Access users are interested in Outlook/Exchange features than full xBase/Paradox/FoxPro support. These early desktop databases are on their way out. If Jet, in Microsoft’s terms, is “not strategic,” support for other desktop RDBMSs must be even lower on Microsoft’s database totem pole. Unlike Visual Basic 6.0, Visual Basic .NET, and C#, Visual FoxPro’s xBase dialect isn’t a general-purpose Windows programming language.


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