|Access 2019 Bible
Author: Michael Alexander and Dick Kusleika
This brick of a book has been updated for Access 2019, and while it isn't specifically aimed at developers, it does have 300 pages on programming with Access.
The book starts with an introduction to database development in general, including a five-step method for designing a database. This is all useful stuff, but probably lost on novice database developers. The authors then move on to getting started with Access and its interface.
By page 29, the scene setting it out of the way and there's the first of three chapters on tables - creating tables. This is followed by a detailed chapter on understanding table relationships that explains normalization, integrity rules and keys. The third chapter on tables looks at working with Access tables. Chapters on importing and exporting data, and linking to external data bring the tables section to a close.
Access queries are the topic for the next part of the book. The chapters on this seemed well written, with chapters covering selecting data, using operators and expressions, and going beyond Select queries with aggregate, action, and crosstab queries. There was also a useful section on optimizing query performance.
Chapters on analyzing data in Access come next, though some of the topics aren't quite what you'd consider classic analysis. The first chapter in this part of the book is on transforming data - tasks such as finding and removing duplicate records, filling in blank fields, concatenating fields - in other words more data cleansing. A chapter on working with calculations and dates follows, then a chapter on performing conditional analyses that looks at parameter queries, conditional functions, and the Switch function.
The fundamentals of using SQL is next on the agenda, starting with basic Select statements, and going through concepts such as Select Top, Transform, and the SQL specific queries in Access such as Union, Create Table, and Alter Table.
Subqueries and domain aggregate functions are covered in a well-written chapter, and the section ends with a chapter on descriptive statistics - how to use aggregate queries to find things such as rank, mode and median; percentile ranking, and creating a frequency distribution.
Access forms and reports are the overall topic of the next part of the book. The chapters on forms begin with basic Access forms, and go through working with data, and working with form controls. Access reports and how to present data in them follows on, and the section closes with a look at more advanced Access report techniques such as grouping and sorting, and formatting data.
Access programming fundamentals is next on the agenda. This section starts with chapters on using Access macros, which probably has to be included but is limited as far as developing applications goes. The authors then move on to introduce Access VBA, with further chapters on VBA data types, procedures, the Access event model, and debugging Access applications.
The final part of the book covers more advanced programming techniques - accessing data using VBA with both DAO and ADO methods discussed. A chapter on advanced data access goes as far as unbound combo boxes for finding data, and filtering a form with code and a query.
There's a chapter on customizing the ribbon and writing your own custom ribbons, and the book ends with a detailed chapter on preparing your application for distribution, and a final chapter on integrating Access with SharePoint.
Does the book live up to the title of Bible? I'm not sure. It's certainly long, and there's little or no wasted space. The topics are covered in about the right level of detail, but there were places - advanced queries, the VBA sections - where there were still things to be said. In conclusion, I'd say you wouldn't regret buying the book, but you'd still want more if you're going past the competent into the expert territory.