I was happy to discover that Microsoft has added Access to the Office 365 Roadmap. That means they are actually working on new features for the Office 365 program that often feels forgotten.
Access Developers and users have two new features to look forward to:
dBase File support
DBF files were originally used in dBase II and continued through to dBase Version IV. The DBF file format originated by Ashton-Tate, but is understood by Act!, Clipper,FoxPro, Arago, Wordtech, xBase, and similar database ordatabase-related products.
dBase has evolved into a modern object oriented language that runs on 32 bit Windows. It can be used to build a wide variety of applications including web apps hosted on a Windows server, Windows rich client applications, and middleware applications. dBase can access most modern database engines via ODBC drivers. DOS versions can still run on the latest Windows/Linux machines using the Virtual Machine (VM)DOSbox, or the later variant dbDOS. In 2015, dBase, LLC. introduced a set of new utilities called dbfUtils. The utilities include: dbfExport(TM) to export data from .dbf files to CSV, Microsoft(R) Excel, and XML, dbfImport(TM) allows users to import CSV, Microsoft(R) Excel, and XML files into a .dbf. dbfCompare(TM) allows 2 .dbf tables to compare differences and gives an easy way to synchronize tables. Finally the new dbfInspect(TM) allows users to deep-dive into the .dbf files and their contents.
dBase features an IDE with a Command Window and Navigator, a just-in-time compiler, a preprocessor, a virtual-machine interpreter, a linker for creating dBase application .EXEs, a freely available runtime engine, and numerous two-way GUI design tools including a Form Designer, Report Designer, Menu Designer, Label Designer, Datamodule Designer, SQL Query Designer, and Table Designer. Two-way Tools refers to the ability to switch back and forth between using a GUI design tool and the source code editor. Other tools include a Source Code Editor, a Project Manager that simplifies building and deploying a dBase application, and an integrated Debugger. dBase features structured exception handling and has many built-in classes that can be subclassed via single inheritance. There are visual classes, data classes, and many other supporting classes. Visual classes include Form, SubForm, Notebook, Container, Entryfield, RadioButton, SpinBox, ComboBox, ListBox, PushButton, Image, Grid, ScrollBar, ActiveX, Report, ReportViewer, Text, TextLabel and many others. Database classes include Session, Database, Query, Rowset, Field, StoredProc and Datamodule classes. Other classes include File, String, Math, Array, Date, Exception, Object and others. dBase objects can be dynamically subclassed by adding new properties to them at runtime.
BigInt datatype Support
As SQL server has evolved to support 64Bit architecture, it has also become increasingly common to run into BigInt as a primary key. The problem was that if you connected to such a SQL database in MS Access 2016, that large number was displayed as a text string instead of a number. Native support removes the need to use clumsy workarounds and relieves a huge pain point for Access developers.
It’s nice to see Access evolve and be able to more easily connect with a external databases.