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#1: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-09 17:25:27 by timmg

You know, I've had so much fun reading the thread on lookup field's
subservience to the Dark One that I thought I'd provoke another, ah,
polite discussion on the topic of Macros.

I've always been of the opinion that the only reason Access even has
macros is that when MS bought the application back in '92 (prior to
that "Access" was MS's telecom tool) Lotus was developing its DB
product Approach. Approach had macros, which was supposed to make it
the dBase killer, so Microsoft's revamped Access had to have macros to
compete.

Now, in the defense of macros they are a great source of income in
that many dbs that I've been asked to fix where very macro heavy.
Rewriting into modules improved performance, maintenance, and error
trapping overall.

What say you, beloved siblings, are macros truly evil, or just the
manifestation of laziness and ignorance?

Tim

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#2: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-09 20:27:30 by rkc

timmg wrote:

> What say you, beloved siblings, are macros truly evil, or just the
> manifestation of laziness and ignorance?
>
Are those the only two choices?

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#3: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-09 21:08:11 by frogsteaks

On Apr 9, 11:25=A0am, timmg <tmillsgronin...@gmail.com> wrote:
> What say you, beloved siblings, are macros truly evil, or just the
> manifestation of laziness and ignorance?
>
> Tim

As with most any other situation, If a macro is the correct tool to
use to accomplish the mission at hand, neither of your limited options
is correct.

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#4: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 08:09:36 by Larry Linson

Approach was not even a gleam in some Lotus designer's subconscious when
Access was created... it was several years before Lotus added Approach to
their suite, so Lotus was not a factor. Even the "macros" in Lotus 1-2-3
were more like code than Access Macros.

For developers, macros have had one deal-breaking drawback... they had no
provision for error-handling, and almost as bad, you could not, via macro,
access and use the whole range of .DLLs that were available to interface
with Windows or other applications running under Windows. But, if creating a
database for ones' self or another intermediate user, they could be useful
and powerful, and somewhat less intimidating to non-programmers than VBA
code.

The capabilities of Macros were enhanced in Access 2007, and a provision for
error-handling was included. In fact, the Control Wizards now generate
Macros rather than VBA code. But, if I understand, they still lack some
features available in VBA code, such as interfacing with Windows and other
..DLLs. Microsoft presumably likes macros because it lets Microsoft have
better control over security, but, believe me, they have heard from a great
many power users and developers who told them that they could not, repeat
not, yank the rug out from under that part of the Access user audience, by
eliminating VBA in favor of macros.

"Evil"? -- only if you are working with a version that has no macro error
handling, AND you need error handling.

"Manifestation of laziness and ignorance"? -- I'm not sure what you mean or
imply, but they are a useful step in many Access users' progression from
novice end-user to developer.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Office Access MVP


"timmg" <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:8178b4e4-45a2-4e2e-9069-f72a5e0c2436@59g2000hsb.googleg roups.com...
> You know, I've had so much fun reading the thread on lookup field's
> subservience to the Dark One that I thought I'd provoke another, ah,
> polite discussion on the topic of Macros.
>
> I've always been of the opinion that the only reason Access even has
> macros is that when MS bought the application back in '92 (prior to
> that "Access" was MS's telecom tool) Lotus was developing its DB
> product Approach. Approach had macros, which was supposed to make it
> the dBase killer, so Microsoft's revamped Access had to have macros to
> compete.
>
> Now, in the defense of macros they are a great source of income in
> that many dbs that I've been asked to fix where very macro heavy.
> Rewriting into modules improved performance, maintenance, and error
> trapping overall.
>
> What say you, beloved siblings, are macros truly evil, or just the
> manifestation of laziness and ignorance?
>
> Tim

Report this message

#5: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 08:28:24 by Lyle Fairfield

"Larry Linson" <bouncer@localhost.not> wrote in
news:AaiLj.4255$3w2.3940@trnddc05:

> Approach was not even a gleam in some Lotus designer's subconscious
> when Access was created... it was several years before Lotus added
> Approach to their suite, so Lotus was not a factor. Even the "macros"
> in Lotus 1-2-3 were more like code than Access Macros.

Lotus Macros were (are, for all I know) recordable. So, you could set the
"recording" on, perform a series of actions, save the macro that was being
created behind the scenes for you, and repeat your actions any time later
by playing the macro. This was very powerful not only for the non-
programmer, but also for the programmer, who, when puzzled on how to write
the macro for some action, had only to turn the "recording" on, perform the
action and, voila, there the macro script was. I think this might be handy
in Access sometimes.
I wrote an application or two in Lotus macro language in the eighties;
Lotus had a UI superior to that of db applications like DBase III; maybe
that was the reason, maybe it was just masochism.

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#6: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 09:13:51 by Jebusville

"rkc" <rkc@rkcny.yabba.dabba.do.com> wrote in message
news:47fd0a92$0$24085$4c368faf@roadrunner.com...
> timmg wrote:
>
>> What say you, beloved siblings, are macros truly evil, or just the
>> manifestation of laziness and ignorance?
>>
> Are those the only two choices?

It's one choice, two options. ;-)

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#7: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 17:22:44 by timmg

On Apr 10, 1:09 am, "Larry Linson" <boun...@localhost.not> wrote:
> Approach was not even a gleam in some Lotus designer's subconscious when
> Access was created... it was several years before Lotus added Approach to
> their suite, so Lotus was not a factor. Even the "macros" in Lotus 1-2-3
> were more like code than Access Macros.

I cede the first point and agree with the second <g>.

> For developers, macros have had one deal-breaking drawback... they had no
> provision for error-handling, and almost as bad, you could not, via macro,
> access and use the whole range of .DLLs...

That's been my primary issue with macro and why I just instinctively
hit Alt+F11 when I need to implement some automation. But then that's
after I've exhausted any way to do it in SQL (which is maybe another
thread).

.....
>
> "Evil"? -- only if you are working with a version that has no macro error
> handling, AND you need error handling.
>
> "Manifestation of laziness and ignorance"? -- I'm not sure what you mean or
> imply, but they are a useful step in many Access users' progression from
> novice end-user to developer.

Of course they have their uses - I just like to goad and tease.
However, I've trained hundreds of people to use Access and develope
Access applications and I've never used macros as a way to progress.
But then the first question I ask as students are trying to solve a
problem is "what can go wrong? how can we handle that error?"

As to evil, I like Oscar Wilde's quote "There is no good or evil.
There's only charming or tedious."


Tim Mills-Groninger

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#8: OT Reminiscing about Lotus, WAS Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 18:19:10 by Larry Linson

"lyle fairfield" <lylefa1r@yah00.ca> wrote

> I wrote an application or two in Lotus macro
> language in the eighties; Lotus had a UI superior
> to that of db applications like DBase III; maybe
> that was the reason, maybe it was just masochism.

Reminiscence:

When I first began an Access user group, back in 1993, one question I'd
sometimes ask was "What is the most popular database in the world?" At that
time, the correct answer was "Lotus 1-2-3", which reputedly had millions of
users. The 1-2-3 in the name represented "spreadsheet", "graphics", and
"database". Interestingly, it was not long before the answer was, and still
is, "Microsoft Access".

In a previous incarnation as a mainframer, I was involved in technical
support for "Lotus 1-2-3 M", a version of Lotus for IBM mainframes. (Not
one of the better known editions of Lotus, and not one of the most
successful software products of all time.) It was intended as a
consolidation tool, for collaboration, but unfortunately, was often sold as
a replacement for PC Lotus (which it was not). That work, however, led me to
investigate compatibility between spreadsheet formats in the 1989 - 1991
timeframe... there were, in that era, what seemed to me, an incredible
number of spreadsheets. A "master list" of spreadsheets and file types which
I put together based on researching literature contained over 50 different
spreadsheet products. Most of them could export and import DIF format; a
little later, DBF became the most common interchange format.

Larry

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#9: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 18:21:55 by Larry Linson

"timmg" <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote

> As to evil, I like Oscar Wilde's quote "There is no good or evil.
> There's only charming or tedious."

No evil? What about the Windows Registry and non-relational functionality
grafted into a relational database? <GRIN>

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#10: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 19:46:31 by timmg

On Apr 10, 11:21=A0am, "Larry Linson" <boun...@localhost.not> wrote:
> "timmg" <tmillsgronin...@gmail.com> wrote
>
> =A0> As to evil, I like Oscar Wilde's quote "There is no good or evil.
> =A0> There's only charming or tedious."
>
> No evil? =A0What about the Windows Registry and non-relational functionali=
ty
> grafted into a relational database? =A0<GRIN>

Tedious. I'd say that the Windows Registry is definately tedious
<VERY BIG GRIN>

Tim Mills-Groninger

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#11: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-10 20:53:01 by Lyle Fairfield

timmg <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote in news:53e37725-06bf-4497-971a-
ac0901e156ca@t54g2000hsg.googlegroups.com:

> On Apr 10, 11:21 am, "Larry Linson" <boun...@localhost.not> wrote:
>> "timmg" <tmillsgronin...@gmail.com> wrote
>>
>>  > As to evil, I like Oscar Wilde's quote "There is no good or evil.
>>  > There's only charming or tedious."
>>
>> No evil?  What about the Windows Registry and non-relational functionali
> ty
>> grafted into a relational database?  <GRIN>
>
> Tedious. I'd say that the Windows Registry is definately tedious
> <VERY BIG GRIN>
>
> Tim Mills-Groninger

I'm growing fond of the registry.

Consider an ADP. The production connection string and the development
connection string and the test machine base connection string are unlikely
to be the same. How to deal with this? Here's one way. We save the base
connection string to the user's registry, (just once). After that, we
connect using that string, which will always be correct. We do the same
thing for the development copy and the test copy. The code is quite short
and we run the function from the autoexec macro.

Public Function BaseConnect()
Dim ConnectionString$
Dim ProjectName$
ProjectName = Split(CurrentProject.Name, ".")(0)
On Error Resume Next
ConnectionString$ = _
GetSetting(ProjectName, "Startup", "BaseConnectionString")
With CurrentProject
If .IsConnected Then
If .BaseConnectionString <> ConnectionString Then _
SaveSetting ProjectName, _
"Startup", "BaseConnectionString", .BaseConnectionString
Else
If Len(ConnectionString) > 0 Then _
.OpenConnection ConnectionString
End If
End With
End Function

Initially I saved the various property items (and their values) of the base
connection string to an XML file. I had a production xml file, a
development xml file and a test xml file. EEEEWWWWW!
Using the registry is way simpler and the base connection string is as
secure as the user's registry, which in this case is probably safe enough.

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#12: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-11 05:51:39 by Larry Linson

"lyle fairfield" <lylefa1r@yah00.ca> wrote

> Initially I saved the various property items (and their values) of the
> base
> connection string to an XML file. I had a production xml file, a
> development xml file and a test xml file. EEEEWWWWW!
> Using the registry is way simpler and the base connection string is as
> secure as the user's registry, which in this case is probably safe enough.

How about a Private Profile .INI? I always found them relatively easy to
use, and human readable, which was never a problem in my uses. The Registry
is just a little more complex to traverse but stores everything, including
the kitchen sink.

Lrry

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#13: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-12 01:08:02 by x

Per lyle fairfield:
>I'm growing fond of the registry.
>
>Consider an ADP. The production connection string and the development
>connection string and the test machine base connection string are unlikely
>to be the same. How to deal with this? Here's one way. We save the base
>connection string to the user's registry, (just once). After that, we
>connect using that string, which will always be correct. We do the same
>thing for the development copy and the test copy. The code is quite short
>and we run the function from the autoexec macro.
>
>Public Function BaseConnect()
> Dim ConnectionString$

But with a private .INI file, you can store the string out in a
LAN directory where it's common to all users - or, via a parm
type option with the user's ID, specific to each user.

The ultimate in portability.... and if Windows' registry gets
hosed, no problem.
--
PeteCresswell

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#14: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-12 10:10:36 by lyle

On Apr 11, 7:08=A0pm, "(PeteCresswell)" <x...@y.Invalid> wrote:
> Per lyle fairfield:
>
> >I'm growing fond of the registry.
>
> >Consider an ADP. The production connection string and the development
> >connection string and the test machine base connection string are unlikel=
y
> >to be the same. How to deal with this? Here's one way. We save the base
> >connection string to the user's registry, (just once). After that, we
> >connect using that string, which will always be correct. We do the same
> >thing for the development copy and the test copy. The code is quite short=

> >and we run the function from the autoexec macro.
>
> >Public Function BaseConnect()
> > =A0 =A0Dim ConnectionString$
>
> But with a private .INI file, you can store the string out in a
> LAN directory where it's common to all users - or, via a parm
> type option with the user's ID, specific to each user.
>
> The ultimate in portability.... and if Windows' registry gets
> hosed, no problem.
> --
> PeteCresswell

Why did MS decide to deprecate application ini files?

Can't Store Binary Data?
Only Two Structure Levels?
Permission at the File Level rather than the Key Level?
Limited Size?
Can't Store Unicode?
Hard to Find (isn't that what the original post is about?)
Problems with Locking and Concurrent Use?

XML files might have fewer problems than ini files. I'd use them if
the registry were not ideal for my needs. But it is.

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#15: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-12 10:12:45 by lyle

On Apr 12, 4:10=A0am, lyle <lyle.fairfi...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Why did MS decide to deprecate application ini files?

<snip>
> Hard to Find (isn't that what the original post is about?)

Sorry, that was another thread.

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#16: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-15 20:31:13 by Tony Toews

timmg <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote:

>I've always been of the opinion that the only reason Access even has
>macros is that when MS bought the application back in '92

There has been the odd comment that MS bought the Jet database engine or was it the
Rushmore technology or something like that.. But, AFAIK, Access was developed by
MS.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/

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#17: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-15 20:34:01 by Tony Toews

"Larry Linson" <bouncer@localhost.not> wrote:

>How about a Private Profile .INI? I always found them relatively easy to
>use, and human readable, which was never a problem in my uses. The Registry
>is just a little more complex to traverse but stores everything, including
>the kitchen sink.

As have I. Especially for my Auto FE Updater. But then that's on a network share
so that makes a lot of sense.

I always store the location of the BE MDB in an INI file in the same folder as the FE
MDB/MDE. But your comment got me to thinking. I've never, ever had to have a user
look at that INI file. So that would be suitable for putting in the registry.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/

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#18: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-15 21:00:11 by lyle

On Apr 15, 2:31=A0pm, "Tony Toews [MVP]" <tto...@telusplanet.net> wrote:
> timmg <tmillsgronin...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >I've always been of the opinion that the only reason Access even has
> >macros is that when MS bought the application back in '92
>
> There has been the odd comment that MS bought the Jet database engine or w=
as it the
> Rushmore technology or something like that.. =A0 But, AFAIK, Access was de=
veloped by
> MS.
>
> Tony
> --
> Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
> =A0 =A0Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
> read the entire thread of messages.
> =A0 =A0Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems athttp://w=
ww.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
> =A0 =A0Tony's Microsoft Access Blog -http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/

They definitely bought the Rushmore Optimization capability as part of
their acquisition of FoxPro. Those of us who used FoxPro, originally
FoxBase, worked with Rushmore before Access was the desktop standard.
The talk in those days was that MS didn't want FoxPro but purchasing
it was the only way to get Rushmore.
I don't know where Access came from. MS developed it from scratch? I
suppose it's possible.

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#19: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-16 05:38:48 by CDMAPoster

On Apr 15, 3:00=A0pm, lyle <lyle.fairfi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Apr 15, 2:31=A0pm, "Tony Toews [MVP]" <tto...@telusplanet.net> wrote:
>
> > timmg <tmillsgronin...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >I've always been of the opinion that the only reason Access even has
> > >macros is that when MS bought the application back in '92
>
> > There has been the odd comment that MS bought the Jet database engine or=
was it the
> > Rushmore technology or something like that.. =A0 But, AFAIK, Access was =
developed by
> > MS.
>
> > Tony
> > --
> > Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
> > =A0 =A0Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
> > read the entire thread of messages.
> > =A0 =A0Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems athttp:/=
/www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
> > =A0 =A0Tony's Microsoft Access Blog -http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/
>
> They definitely bought the Rushmore Optimization capability as part of
> their acquisition of FoxPro. Those of us who used FoxPro, originally
> FoxBase, worked with Rushmore before Access was the desktop standard.
> The talk in those days was that MS didn't want FoxPro but purchasing
> it was the only way to get Rushmore.
> I don't know where Access came from. MS developed it from scratch? I
> suppose it's possible.

I agree that MS likely purchased FoxPro mostly for the purpose of
obtaining Rushmore. Access itself, OTOH, was developed by MS and
seemed to be an attack (a very successful attack, in retrospect) on
the number one windows database software of the time -- Borland's
Paradox. Although MS added a few things to Access that Paradox didn't
have, Access was similar to Paradox overall and was created clearly in
an attempt to displace their market domination. The fact that Access
2.0 needed to be so much better than the relatively inferior Access
1.0 in order to cause the market displacement desired by MS, IMO,
accounts for the overall quality of version 2.0. To me, the most
compelling reason for switching from Paradox (IIRC, Version 4.5) to
Access 2.0 was the exciting new possibility of Office Integration.
Also, I bought a book somewhere around that time on OLE and liked its
potential. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ActiveX

I had completed one project in Paradox for a chiropractor before being
given the opportunity to be paid to learn Access for Consumer Pulse,
Inc. as a way of providing Pepsi with a visual interface for filtering
survey data about vending machine customers' preferences.

James A. Fortune
CDMAPoster@FortuneJames.com

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#20: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-16 22:43:38 by timmg

=2E..
>
> I agree that MS likely purchased FoxPro mostly for the purpose of
> obtaining Rushmore. =A0

Fox Software was a great company - Perrysville Ohio, AIR. Their early
products were feature and code compatable w/ dBase III+, but faster
because of a superiour indexing strategy. I was fond of being able to
port applications to the Mac.

I routinely saw speed improvements of 3 to 4 fold - which was great
when it was taking dBase 4 hours to index a table.

> Access itself, OTOH, was developed by MS and
> seemed to be an attack (a very successful attack, in retrospect) on
> the number one windows database software of the time -- Borland's
> Paradox. =A0

Paradox, well PAL, was a superiour language. I think that in
comparing tcursors to recordsets the tcursor was better, but Access
allowed the novice to do things that Paradox couldn't. I'd always
remembered that MS bought the guts of Access and turned it into V1,
but the weight of evidence here seems to indicate a completely
internal development cycle. So be it.

> Although MS added a few things to Access that Paradox didn't
> have, Access was similar to Paradox overall and was created clearly in
> an attempt to displace their market domination. =A0

When Access 1 was released FoxPro was still an independent product,
and with Borland still kinda still in the picture the xBase market
(lets not forget the macro driven AlphaX product) was still dominant.
Trouble was the software community was having a hard time migrating
DOS applications to Windows. DataEase, Rbase, Progress, and Informix
were having difficulties in what it meant to be a 4GL platform.
FileMaker had been bought by Claris and was a great data entry tool,
but couldn't hack it as a query/analytical tool.

I think that one of Access's great selling points is that it was (and
still is) a pretty good SQL front end, and while it can't do some
things, there are well established work arounds.

And the Paradox/Quattro Pro/ WordPerfect partnership didn't turn out
too well.

Tim Mills-Groninger

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#21: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-16 23:34:15 by Lyle Fairfield

timmg <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote in news:48ce7d16-ffbe-400b-989c-
cdf671b14126@s13g2000prd.googlegroups.com:

> And the Paradox/Quattro Pro/ WordPerfect partnership didn't turn out
> too well.

I was never a fan of Paradox, and I would never have classified it as X-
Base.

As for Quattro-Pro and Word Perfect, IMO, in the early nineties they were
clearly superior to Excel and Word; they lost to superior marketing and
shady business practices, not to superior technology. Quattro Pro was a
true 3-D application; Excel never was. Quattro Pro's mathematical
capabilities were far beyond Excel's. Quattro Pro had better colour and
better graphics.

FWIW, IMO Quattro Pro still is twice the application Excel is.

IMO, if MS is guilty of anything, it's guilty of slowing development by
making inferior programs grow and continue, and superior programs wither.

Access is superior to other Desktop DBs, despite the gruesome VBA and
archaic JET/ACE which underlie it.

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#22: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-17 16:17:12 by timmg

On Apr 16, 4:34=A0pm, lyle fairfield <lylef...@yah00.ca> wrote:
=2E.
> I was never a fan of Paradox, and I would never have classified it as X-
> Base.

Nor would I. Poor communication on my part. Paradox was it's own
environment, IMHO a superior product to xBase product. Appologies for
the confusion.

> As for Quattro-Pro and Word Perfect, IMO, in the early nineties they were
> clearly superior to Excel and Word; they lost to superior marketing and
> shady business practices, not to superior technology.

I occasionaly tell clients who argue for superior technology that "if
superior technology naturally lead to market acceptance then why
aren't we having this conversation in Esperanto?"

Heck, it was pretty late in Excel's life that Ctrl-V let you paste
text. The various Office applications retain a lot of their
individual roots. It reminds of the USSR/CCCP federation of countries
trying to work together as a single entity. Kinda, but not always.
Remember the VBA "improvements" in Access 2000? We lost some very
nice features so that the IDE would behave more like the other
products in the MS family.

> Quattro Pro was a true 3-D application; Excel never was. Quattro Pro's mat=
hematical
> capabilities were far beyond Excel's. Quattro Pro had better colour and be=
tter graphics.
>
> FWIW, IMO Quattro Pro still is twice the application Excel is.

True, but then you forgot to mention Boeing Calc <grin>. Gosh, there
was a new spreadsheet application every other week for a while.
>
> IMO, if MS is guilty of anything, it's guilty of slowing development by
> making inferior programs grow and continue, and superior programs wither.
>
> Access is superior to other Desktop DBs, despite the gruesome VBA and
> archaic JET/ACE which underlie it.

As long as you stay away from macros. <very big grin>

Tim Mills-Groninger

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#23: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-21 08:25:54 by Larry Linson

<CDMAPoster@fortunejames.com> wrote

> Access itself, OTOH, was developed by MS and
> seemed to be an attack (a very successful attack, in
> retrospect) on the number one windows database
> software of the time -- Borland's Paradox.

> Although MS added a few things to Access that
> Paradox didn't have, Access was similar to Paradox
> overall and was created clearly in an attempt to
> displace their market domination.

The last version of Paradox that competed well in the marketplace was a DOS
version. I was a PDOX/DOS end-user and was eager to see the Windows version.
Access beat PDOX/WIN to market by a full four, maybe five months. AND, BIG
THING: Microsoft Access "got Windows right", but PDOX/WIN didn't, at least
through the v 4.5 you mention (last one I bought) and the next, v 5.0 (which
I didn't buy but did see demo'd in depth in my user group). ANOTHER BIG
THING: Dynasets, updateable queries... no "Answer" table and then individual
updates of the related tables.

Also, at that time, customers were afraid that Borland would not be around
to support PDOX in the future. A large local third-party software
development company here hired me to lead some training sessions to help
their developers move from PDOX to Access, because their customers just
weren't buying the PDOX apps that were the cornerstone of their success in
the DOS world.

So many more computer users knew Basic than Pascal that Access Basic (and
later VBA) was a big factor in it being a success as a developer tool. I
didn't care for Pascal in the DOS world, and PDOX/WIN's OPAL was just a
flavor of Object Pascal.

Larry

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#24: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-22 04:45:44 by Michael S

Hello. No idea how I came on this thread (I was looking for code/help
to create a .csv file and email it from an .html document), but I have
two things to say:

1. I love Office macros because they're a great way to figure out how to
do something simple when you haven't done it in a while. For instance,
today I was doing Excel and couldn't remember the Range("A1:B2").Select
command, so I recorded a macro and looked at the generated code. Beyond
that, I hate them because they aren't very good (for me personally).

2. (For the OT that started) I love .ini files because I can just copy
the entire directory of a program from one computer to another and
voila! it's still good (.xml would work fine too). I love the registry
because it's easier for me to read and write to. So, as a user, I like
ini files and as a developer I like the registry.

*** Sent via Developersdex http://www.developersdex.com ***

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#25: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-22 16:57:12 by timmg

On Apr 21, 1:25=A0am, "Larry Linson" <boun...@localhost.not> wrote:

I agree - I remember my first BASICprogram from, ah, early in the last
quarter of the 20th Century. Yes, and I've told my kids "oh and
you're complaining that your memory stick hold only 2 gig of data.
Well, when I was young every KB was precious and we had to store our
programs on paper tape and the only output was on green bar paper
because only fancy University programmers had fancy VDTs"

I also remember a Bill Gates quote from the 90's where he defended
MS's version of BASIC and its decendents as "being as object oriented
as any other language because of GOTOs"

Maybe that's the next thread - Are Gotos evil?

Tim Mills-Groninger
=2E..
>
> So many more computer users knew Basic than Pascal that Access Basic (and
> later VBA) was a big factor in it being a success as a developer tool. =A0=
I
> didn't care for Pascal in the DOS world, and PDOX/WIN's OPAL was just a
> flavor of Object Pascal.
>
> =A0Larry

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#26: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-23 00:34:15 by Larry Linson

"timmg" <tmillsgroninger@gmail.com> wrote

So, summing up, using macros will, undoubtedly, build strength of character
and make you a better person. :-) At best, there are worse things than
macros; hmm, or is that, at worse, there are better things than macros --
now that I've turned 70, I tend to be a little forgetful. :-)

> Maybe that's the next thread - Are Gotos evil?

Not totally, you can use them to obfuscate your code and confuse the
whippersnappers. He, he, he, I was recently at a meeting and none of the
young, hotshot "rockstar" developers had any idea what the speaker was
talking about when he mentioned "GoSub".

Larry

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#27: Re: Are Macros Evil?

Posted on 2008-04-24 18:25:16 by CDMAPoster

On Apr 21, 2:25=A0am, "Larry Linson" <boun...@localhost.not> wrote:
> <CDMAPos...@fortunejames.com> wrote
>
> =A0> Access itself, OTOH, was developed by MS and
> =A0> seemed to be an attack (a very successful attack, in
> =A0> retrospect) on the number one windows database
> =A0> software of the time -- Borland's Paradox.
>
> =A0> Although MS added a few things to Access that
> =A0> Paradox didn't have, Access was similar to Paradox
> =A0> overall and was created clearly in an attempt to
> =A0> displace their market domination.
>
> The last version of Paradox that competed well in the marketplace was a DO=
S
> version. I was a PDOX/DOS end-user and was eager to see the Windows versio=
n.
> Access beat PDOX/WIN to market by a full four, maybe five months. AND, BIG=

> THING: Microsoft Access "got Windows right", but PDOX/WIN didn't, at least=

> through the v 4.5 you mention (last one I bought) and the next, v 5.0 (whi=
ch
> I didn't buy but did see demo'd in depth in my user group). =A0ANOTHER BIG=

> THING: Dynasets, updateable queries... no "Answer" table and then individu=
al
> updates of the related tables.
>
> Also, at that time, customers were afraid that Borland would not be around=

> to support PDOX in the future. =A0A large local third-party software
> development company here hired me to lead some training sessions to help
> their developers move from PDOX to Access, because their customers just
> weren't buying the PDOX apps that were the cornerstone of their success in=

> the DOS world.
>
> So many more computer users knew Basic than Pascal that Access Basic (and
> later VBA) was a big factor in it being a success as a developer tool. =A0=
I
> didn't care for Pascal in the DOS world, and PDOX/WIN's OPAL was just a
> flavor of Object Pascal.
>
> =A0Larry

Obviously you remember the details about Paradox better than I do. I
had nearly forgotten about something called the Object Windows Library
(OWL) that was supposed to "do windows right," but never did quite get
it totally right. I remember programming in PAL. The fact that I had
already done some programming in Visual Basic and in Visual C++ 1.0
helped make the switch to Access quite desirable. Somehow, switching
from one product to another (or from one version of Access to another)
seems related to how inimical Macros are. Note that the sparse use of
Macros by developers didn't help their reputation either. The Macros,
in turn, are related to Microsoft trying to make Access 2007 more XML
based. That, in turn, is possibly related to the EU. That, in turn,
is related to software bundling, which is a part of why Paradox lost
to Access because of the Microsoft name. So now that it's come full
circle :-), I think that the move toward open standards, even if
forced, even if not quite open, should have been considered by
Microsoft, IMO, even without outside coercion. The fact that
Microsoft was able to retain as much of VBA as they did in A2007 still
surprises me. It seems to me that the resurrection of Macros in A2007
as a temporary way to keep most of VBA alive was a very clever
intermediate step. Whether Microsoft uses the time they bought to
come up with something better or not is anyone's guess.

James A. Fortune
CDMAPoster@FortuneJames.com

I'm not evil. I'm just drawn that way. -- Jessica Rabbit

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