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The Access Extension Framework
Manage Your MS Access Applications

What is the Feature Pack ?

The feature pack contains additional modules to add extra features to the framework. The feature modules will only work when added to a database containing the core framework.

More functions will be added to the feature pack in future - all future functions will be freely available for download by current registered owners of the feature pack.
Planned Feature Pack additions:
  • custom keystring-based locking system
  • manual autonumber generation
  • unique sequence generator with caching and re-use of unused values

Shadow Tables Feature

Warning: highly innovative

Already somewhat controversially, we propose that MS Access makes it very difficult for database designers to enforce required fields in a database, because of the consequences of that decision in the user interface. We posit that this is quite a serious flaw in the design of MS Access, and the first part of the video series investigates this proposition (there are some quite cutting criticisms of Microsoft Access in this tutorial).

The solution we propose (Pt 2) is to enforce the required property on table fields wherever this is possible, and to use the Shadow Tables feature to automatically create an identical copy of the table (the 'shadow table') but with all the restrictions turned off (and with a few additional workflow columns added). This shadow table is then used for binding to the edit form.
The Shadow Table feature pack module (Pt 3) manages the reading, validation, concurrency and updating of the shadow table to and from the main table with a minimal amount of code.
A side effect of this approach is that control over loading and saving data becomes fully programmatic, shifting away from the 'automagic' focus-driven native behaviour of MS Access. This facilitates a much higher degree of control and customisation around how and when data validation and data updates occur, while preserving the familiar forms binding paradigm.

Download a demo version and check out the user manual on the Downloads page.

Video Tutorials

We recommend watching at least the first two whole videos, and preferably also the third, before making up your mind about this feature.

FP01 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 1     (10:25)
FP02 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 2     (8:20)
FP03 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 3     (11:58)

FP01 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 1
Access Extension Framework, Feature Pack, Shadow Tables Feature. An investigation into problems with the native MS Access ways of doing things. Why do we need the Shadow Tables ?

FP02 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 2
Access Extension Framework, Feature Pack, Shadow Tables Feature. A summary of what the Shadow Tables are and how they solve the problems discussed in part 1.

FP03 - Feature Pack - Shadow Tables Pt 3
Run though of a sample page using the shadow tables feature.
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