Saturday, May 23, 2009

Access 2007 Power Toys, well, nearly

Access 2007 has a host of new features, some of them long awaited over more than 10 years. A few features have been deprecated and lost. I don’t miss Data Access Pages at all, but the classic Database Container Window, losing that is really uncool. Yes, yes, yes, the new Objects Panel has some swish in operation and I like how it stays open to allow you to drag objects into the Designers smoothly. And initially, the collapse, expand is fine. In the long term, when a your database ages and you have heaps of objects, getting to one isn’t so fine and you can’t see remarks you’ve made on the objects in a grid view. Gunter Avenius has a lovely tool that looks and feels a lot like the old DCW called DBC2007. It’s a COM Add-In, programmed in .NET Framework 2.0 and is triggered from a new custom icon on the Home Tab of the Ribbon. Just lovely.

Not to forget one indispensible and free programming tool, the venerable MZ-Tools 3.0 VBA IDE enhancement.

Herr Gunter has also produced a WYSIWYG Custom Ribbon Creator for Access, Excel and Word. There is a limited capacity free edition and a paid edition. Garry Robinson talks about it in a Database Journal Article. If you don’t know much about custom Office 2007 Ribbons (I don’t have much experience), here’s an article and download on the Custom UI Editor Tool – Ken Getz, a veteran has a three part article on MSDN on Customizing the Ribbon. He makes reference to the 2007 Office XML Schema Reference. You’ll also want to read about the List of Control IDs, the Icons Gallery as well as the general overview of the Office 2007 UI.

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