The Evolution of Access and VBA

Microsoft Access has had a rich history. Version 1.0 was the initial version of Access that ran on Windows 3.1. It was very quickly replaced by Version 1.1, which added a few new features and fixed many of the bugs introduced in the initial version. At this point in the history of Access, no one really took Access seriously as a database; it was buggy, there were a number of limitations in its feature set, and the database community just hadn't accepted that Microsoft could produce a quality database product.

In 1994, the first real version of Access was released: Access 2.0. Many database programmers using other software, such as FoxPro and dBase, decided to give Microsoft Access 2.0 a chance. Access 2.0 worked very well on both Windows 95 and Windows NT; however, it was missing much of the 32-bit API (application programming interface) and couldn't work with long filenames. Microsoft Access went through several more versions (95, 97, 2000, and 2002) before the current release, Access 2003.

Access 2003, released in October 2003, includes some additional enhancements, including the ability to open an Access 97 database without converting it to an updated format. Users of Access 2000 and Access

2002 were prompted to convert an Access 97 database to Access 2000 format before they could use the database. This often caused problems in corporate installations where often, multiple versions of the Microsoft Office software suite were installed on different computers or in different departments. Access

2003 can open certain Access 97 databases without converting them, thus allowing multiple versions to access the same database.

There have not been a large number of changes to VBA in Access 2003. However, the changes that have been made offer developers some distinct advantages. We've included an entire chapter (Chapter 3) about new features in Access 2003.

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