The Ten Commandments of Access

Note: This is a paraphrase of The Ten Commandments of Access at "The Access Web". I didn't like the wording, so I've reworked it here.

The following represents "The Ten Commandments" for development using Microsoft Access. This came about as the result of a number of participants in various Microsoft newsgroups.

It is felt that following these "commandments" will simplify your development effort. Note that there may always be exceptions to these rules. Just make sure there's a legitimate reason to violate any of them, and make sure you understand the consequences of not following them.

  1. Make sure you start with a properly-normalized database design and that you understand all of the fields and relationships before beginning to code.

  2. Don't allow users to see or edit tables directly, but only through forms. Don't use "Lookup Fields" (at least, not on a table level) either, as they can lead to confusion.

  3. Choose a naming convention and use it. Never allow spaces in names.

  4. Write comments in your procedures and explain each variable. Do this as you code: don't rely on going back "once the program's done".

  5. Understand error handling and use it faithfully in all procedures.

  6. Split your databases into a front-end and back-end.

  7. Don't use Autonumber if the field is meant to have meaning for the users.

  8. Don't copy and paste other people's code without at least attempting to understand what it does.

  9. Don't use "SendKeys", "Smart Codes" or "GoTo" (unless the GoTo is part of an OnError process)

  10. Back-up the database faithfully. Never make changes on the Production Database, but on the Prototype Copy instead.

Thanks to those who contribute to the Access Newsgroup - giving freely of themselves to serve those who hunger and thirst for knowledge and understanding!

Contributors: Andy, Mike B., Marshall Barton, Fred Boer, Sandra Daigle, Dirk Goldgar, Kevin, Eric L., Hugh O'Neill, Hsherriff, John Vinson

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Last Updated: 25th June, 2009