D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 1:02 PM

Hey, don’t get mad at me. Don’t go off on how dare I put this blog post out there, because if you’re an Access developer you should know its YOUR people saying this. Let me back up a bit.

I’m here at the blog lounge, and its right outside the Tech Ed Online stage where there’s a conversation on ‘Upgrading From Access to SQL Server’. The things I’m hearing are a bit disturbing. Here’s what I’m hearing in a nutshell:

“Not all applications require SQL Server and a .NET front end, and Access is perfectly fine (I can agree with this for SMALL applications) and SQL Server is ‘INFINITLY’ more complex than Access and really isn’t as good as you may think.”

“Infinitely more complex”. That’s a quote from the moderator, who works for Microsoft. Look, the reality is that Access development has a place in the marketplace. But to try and put SQL Server into a different rank, saying that its “infinitely” more complex…I don’t agree with that, unless Access application developers are truly incompetent. Why do I say that?

Because I’ve worked with some very passionate Access developers who CAN actually work with other technologies such as:

*gasp* SQL Server *gasp*
and many, many others...and not just work with them, but really grok them and be able to use them productively.

To make comments to the effect that T-SQL is somehow a totally foreign language that will take a steep learning curve is nonsense.

Unfortunately, there are some in attendance that aren’t helping to squash this stereotype. From the audience:

“We like Access because the developers can be part if the process along the way.”

I wanted to scream at this guy “Hey buddy, guess what? You can do that with a Winform app as well…or a web app…in fact, its not really technology platform specific or a tool feature, its part of a PROCESS!”.

I have no problem having spirited discussion based on facts, but bashing a product for the sake of prolonging another's survival is not conducive to the larger developer community. I also found it interesting that the conversation was Access vs. SQL Server, and there was NO mention of SQL Server Compact Edition, which is a much closer competitor to Access than a full version of SQL Server is.

Ok...rant done...I gotta get ready for my shift.



# re: Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

Isn't Access an anti-pattern?

6/3/2008 1:50 PM | Shaneo

# re: Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

TechEd is a wonderful event because it allows you to be part of a conversation with your peers. Take advantage of this and speak your mind! If something is said that you don't agree with, let others know but be prepared to back-up any statements that you make.

You have a voice, D'Arcy. Be part of the conversation. 6/4/2008 7:12 AM | John Bristowe

# re: Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

"I don’t agree with that, unless Access application developers are truly incompetent."

The funny thing is that there are more incompetent SQL Server application developers than incompetent Access developers. This based on the fact that the SQL Injection infestation rate has continually been going up in the last two months.

Plus I would agree with the moderator in saying that SQL Server is “Infinitely more complex” than Access based on what it brings to the table. The fact you need to install it makes it more complex than Access. Add that and the security footprint and how could you not say it was anything but more complex. Sure Access has (cough cough) security but it is no way near as complex as SQL Server.

I ask you this how difficult would it be to hack a server with an Access database (with no code other than SQL) from a Web App vs SQL Server?

The problem with your way of thinking is you see SQL Sever as a database with tables and SQL capabilities (for which Access is the same thing for the most part). The moderator sees it as a full blown server application. Based on that yes SQL Server is “Infinitely more complex”.

- willyd
6/4/2008 9:08 AM | William

# re: Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

@Will: I still disagree with that comment. Yes SQL Server is more complex, but to say that its IFINITELY more complex, and using a statement like that to downplay an Access developer's interest in moving from Access to SQL Server, is misplaced.

There were other comments that I didn't blog about, like how you "don't always need a .NET UI for all applications", which is true, but they only looked at a full blown SQL Server database as the *only* upgrade option. There was no discussion of SQL Server Compact Edition, which gives a SQL Server experience without the large footprint.

I don't know that the moderator saw it as a "full blown server application" either, because they mentioned the need for front end forms or interfaces.

6/4/2008 1:15 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

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