Thursday, January 19, 2017

Effective SQL -- My New Favorite Database Book

It takes a lot to impress me these days. I've seen dozens of books on Access, SQL Server, and different aspects of relational database design and Structured Query Language (SQL), and very few have really made me sit up and take notice--except for those I've been directly involved in writing, of course. 😐

This one is different. Three of my friends collaborated to write Effective SQL -- 61 Specific Ways to Write Better SQL. My copy finally arrived today. Right away it engaged me on at least two levels.

First, it's the kind of book you can dip into without having to turn off all distractions such as your phone, tv and music. Well, you ought to turn off the tv anyway. But you know what I mean. It's written the way an old friend would explain something challenging but vaguely familiar. You know the authors care about what they're describing, and they want you to feel the same way. This isn't an academic tome intended to establish some sort of hierarchy with the authors at the top and its readers at the bottom. My kind of book.

Second, it's technically gifted, or rather the three people who got together to write it are. And that shows up in the care with which they detail the subject matter.

I'm sure it's the kind of book that will live on my desk, or the shelf next to it, not over there in the bookcase with dozens of other books I've acquired over the years.

Buy it. You'll be glad you did. I sure am.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If You Still Need it, Here's Even More Proof of Life for Our Lovable Little Friend -- Access

This means Businesses moving to Office 365 can continue to use the most popular Relational Database Design Tool in the world without jumping through hoops to do so.

Obviously, it won't happen overnight, so your patience is still needed, but as the announcement says:

"How soon you'll see Access as part of your installation depends upon the Office 365 update channel your admin designated for your subscription. For Access users with Office 365 on the Current Channel, you'll see Access added to your installation in December 2016 or January 2017. For Access users with Office 365 on the Deferred Channel, you'll see Access added to your installation in June 2017. To find out what update channel you're on with Office 365, go to File > Account within one of the desktop applications. Your update channel is listed above the version number."

Those of us in the MVP community have been crowing publicly about the changes we see over in Redmond for a while. Proof of the validity of that optimism is rolling out on a regular schedule these days.

Bookmark Office Support at MS to keep up-to-date with the enhancements coming our way.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Free Stuff From Grover Park Consulting

Everybody likes Free Stuff.

I have just published one more free application on my website, GPCData Downloads.

This one is an Access Web App (AWA). It's a demo version of the same AWA I use myself.

I track:
  • A1C (Quarterly)
  • Blood Glucose (daily)
  • Blood Pressure (daily)
  • Pulse (daily)
  • Weight (daily)
You can use these same categories, or add your own.

I also track:
  • Daily Exercise by type and location
  • Duration of activities
  • Mileage, when appropriate
In addition, it includes tracking of
  • Medications
  • Medications Taken
The other function included is tracking of:
  • Calories consumed
  • Carbohydrates consumed
I have added a basic "dashboard" function to the basic testing to show max and min values for tests along with average for some, where appropriate. These are color-coded.

Please feel free to download and deploy this AWA to your own Office 365 Site. You can obtain an O365 site for as little as $5.00/month.


Because the data is stored in a SQL Azure database, you can link to it for reporting from Microsoft PowerBI. Create a nice-looking dashboard to share with your own medical team from their browser! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Microsoft MVP Summit 2016 -- The Future is Brighter Than Ever

At the annual Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond, getting recharged by the A-Team. We're under NDA for all content; however, it's no secret that the general atmosphere, mood and especially the outlook for our favorite lovable little Database Application are so different from what we're used to that I can't help smiling all the way through the sessions.

Access is not just alive; it's growing again.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What People are Downloading From

I recently looked up statistics on which of my free demos and downloads have been most frequently downloaded from the GPC Data Downloads Page over the last ten years.

The winner, by a fairly small margin, was the Access 2007 version of  WorkTrack, which is a small tool I originally built (using Access 2003 at the time) to track my own personal project time and billing. When I add in the A2010-A2016 versions and the old A2003 version, it leaps out in front by a significant margin, almost two to one over the next most often downloaded demo, ContactManager. These versions are in first, third and seventh place overall by number of downloads in the ten years of data available. Contact Manager is in second place overall.

It seems people are interested in simple, easy to implement and manage project tracking, and also the ability to track their contacts -- with Access. It does make sense, when you think about it. Anything else we do is fairly custom for the type of business we're in. Most of us, though, want to keep track of who we call, email and meet with, along with the work we do.

So,  with that in mind, I recently overhauled the WorkTrack demo. I cleaned up some code, implemented better error handling, and added a Change History function. The Change History function records all new and modified data in all forms, by user who made the change and by date and time of the change. It doesn't record deletions, which is in hindsight an oversight. I'll get back to that later.

So, if you haven't visited lately, please come on over and kick the tires.

And please let me know what you think. There are feedback links on most pages.