Microsoft Software Strategies
In this article, the
strategies of Microsoft are discussed – where Microsoft is heading, and what the implications
are for Corporate system development.
Visual Basic .Net architecture is now mature. The .Net technology has been used in all Microsoft Operating
systems starting with the advent of Vista. A whole generation of programmers know nothing
but VB.Net. VB6 and Access programmers are now a dying breed.
For many years, no new project has been initiated using VB6. Similarly, very few if any Corporate
database systems have been created over the last few years using Microsoft Access.
Yet, due to the sheer weight of existing Microsoft Access systems, support and maintenance
will be needed for a long, long time.
SQL Server is now the preferred database of choice. But with multiple users, SQL Server can
be expensive – but mitigated by the cost of Microsoft Access (and newer versions) for
each User. The SQL Server Express version is free, and will gradually replace Access Back-End
databases. Of course SQL Server Express does not have the capabilities of the full version
and it will have performance issues using only one CPU.
SQL Server Express will become prevalent in future for small start-up systems.
There will continue to be further versions of Microsoft Access. But the changes will be minimal,
and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) will not be enhanced. It is extremely unlikely that
a .Net version of Visual Basic will ever be developed for Microsoft Access.
Even Microsoft Office 365 on the Web does not include any Access database templates.
Visual Basic. Net
The Front-End to any database is being created more and more using Visual Basic. Net. VB.Net
has come a long way over the last 11 years. It started off being crude, complicated, full
of bugs and inefficient – but conceptually brilliant with enormous potential.
Today that potential has become reality – VB.Net is utterly superb. Yes, it can be complex,
but with a few Library procedures, becomes simplicity itself. VB.Net today provides a vehicle
for high productivity, low maintenance and good performance.
At one time, the creation of a Visual Basic Front-End was thought to take longer than using
an Access database with a Wizard. This may still be true of systems with utterly simplistic
requirements. But, for full-blown applications, a VB.Net Front-End application can be created
just as fast, if not faster, than with Microsoft Access.
Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch is a development tool that allows business applications
to be built easily, using SQL Server Express as the Back-End database. Visual Basic .Net (VB.Net)
can be used for business logic.
- Predefined Screen Templates
- Skins and Themes
- Automatic Data Input Validation
LightSwitch is targeted at Microsoft Access users, in the hope of tempting them away. It is
doubtful if LightSwitch will replace the popular Microsoft Access as the vehicle for simple
database system design. Now if only there was an Access.Net option!