Skip Navigation LinksNational-Seminar-Tuesday-16th-May-2017


NATIONAL SEMINAR  Tuesday 16th May 2017

To be held at Kassam Stadium, Grenoble Road, Oxford, OX4 4XP



8.45 – 9.15     Registration, Tea and Coffee 
9.15 – 9.30  Introduction – by Rod Gordon, Chairman of the Access User Group 
9.30 – 10.15 Integration Of Access Desktop Application With A Website that uses MySQL  presented by Tony Bayliss, Senator System Consultants Limited 

In 1999, Tony developed an Access application to process grammar school admission test applications for the five Grammar schools under the umbrella of the King Edward VI Schools Foundation. At the time, all applications were made by post. Independently, a few years later, the Foundation’s web design company were asked to develop an online application form which they did, initially emailing the details to the Foundation as relatively few were online. A few years later, with an increasing number of the 5000 annual applications being made online, it made sense for the whole process to be handled by a web application. But it didn’t happen that way. A combination of love and familiarity with the Access application led to a new system where the applications were stored in a MySQL database on the web server and the Access desktop application was modified to link to this using ODBC so that Foundation staff could add, modify and process application data.  The system has been running pretty well in this way for five years and has been adopted with modifications by another consortium of five grammar schools who are just beginning their second year of applications.   
10.15 – 10.45 Access Add-ins: Embedded Outlook Style Calendars/Gannt Chart Type Displays presented by Julian Baker, The Access Man  

In the first part of the presentation, Julian will demonstrate how you embed highly functional Outlook style calendars within Access forms using an ActiveX control.  Typically these calendars are used for diary, event and resource management and deliver a much more polished and functional interface than you can achieve with Access forms alone.  In the second part of the presentation, Julian will show how you can embed gantt style charts within Access forms using an ActiveX control.  In addition to the typical gantt chart type displays, these can also be used for things such as production scheduling and other scenarios where events need to be displayed along a time line.  Both presentations will concentrate on showing the features of these ActiveX controls and explaining the possibilities and potential of them rather than the intricacies of coding them.  
10.45 – 11.00 Break for Tea/Coffee and refreshments  
11.00 – 12.00 SQL-proofing Your Access Application presented by Peter Bryant, Corylus Business Systems 

Peter’s presentation will comprise of three parts; - Without pretending to be a definitive list, Peter will recount the lessons learned from some recent SQL migration projects, along with remediation actions. - Peter will then cover how he chose to connect Access FE’s to SQL with DSN-less code whilst allowing the user the ability to pick the right backend database.  This also allows the application to respond to being run on different networks by automatically switching SQL Server at start. - Finally there will be an open forum for further ideas and issues from the floor.  
12.00 – 13.00  Break for Lunch  
13.00 – 13.45 Making Life Simpler For Access Developers presented by Alan Cossey, Premier Data Technologies Limited 

Like many Access developers, Alan recognises that one of Access’s main strengths is the speed with which applications can be created and is very appreciative of anything which can speed development, keep life simple and/or stop him from making embarrassing mistakes which only appear when the customer is watching.  Alan will demonstrate two Access add-ins, both of which he has been using for some years. The first, vbWatchdog, is a commercial product from which greatly simplifies error-handling in any Office VBA project.  As part of the preparation for his talk, Alan is re-learning how to set it up since, although it is in all his projects, it can be left to get on with its job without having to come back to it.  It is very largely a case of adding it to the project then forgetting about it. The second add-in is an Access add-in which Alan developed himself and is called “SMOG” (Standard Module Object Generation).  SMOG enables the use in code of database objects such as tables and queries in a much more object-oriented manner than is available out of the box.  This has advantages like the use of Intellisense when typing table, query, form and report names; easier handling of query parameters in code; more accurate typing of field names and significantly smaller amounts of code to write in such areas.  Compilation of “SMOGified” code will, for example, catch any mis-spelt query/table/form/report/field/ parameter names. 
13.45 – 14.00 Break for Tea/Coffee and refreshments 
14.00 – 15.00 Linking Visio To Access presented by David Parker, bVisual. 

David has been providing solutions with Microsoft Access and Microsoft Visio for over 20 years.  Both applications have millions of devoted users and developers around the world, but not many take the great opportunity of using the two together.  Microsoft Access is often used as a data store, data entry and a reporting system.  Microsoft Visio can not only represent data from Access databases easily, but it can be used to generate data too.  There are many out-of-the-box data import and export features in Visio, utilising Access and lots of other data sources. Visio also has VBA built in to it, and a rich object model which provides the Access developer with a familiar environment to create a little automation. Every Visio shape, though, also has a programmable ShapeSheet behind it which provides the capability to encapsulate a lot of functionality, and data, within it.  This ShapeSheet was modelled on an Excel worksheet, with cells that can contain functions and formulas. Now Visio, like Access, is breaking out of the desktop too, with the freely available Visio Online Viewer that has a JavaScript Api to enable interactive web pages with data diagrams. David will present the features of Microsoft Visio that have particular resonance for Microsoft Access users and developers in order to encourage their integration to provide visual data solutions. 
15.00 – 15.15 Closing by Rod Gordon  


SEMINAR FEES:         

£100.00 + VAT (£120.00 including VAT) for members

£135.00 + VAT (£162.00 including VAT) for non-members

To make a credit card payment please go to:


Annual membership of the Access User Group costs £70.00 + VAT (£84.00 including VAT) for an individual membership and £225.00 + VAT (£270.00 including VAT) for corporate membership (up to 5 named employees).  Payment for membership should be made to: Access User Group.

For further details on membership and the seminar contact Margaret Chamberlain at: , telephone: 01242 256549, or visit our web site at:


Tony Bayliss,  

Tony qualified as an accountant way back in 1983 when he began using early DOS PC’s. He became selfemployed in 1989 providing IT consultancy, support and bespoke software mainly to small businesses and has been trading as Senator System Consultants Limited since 1998. Tony has been a Sage reseller and developer since the early 1990’s writing bespoke add-ons to Sage 50, mainly using Access. He also supports the powerful VB.NET/SQL based MyN system from Accounting Office.  He learned programming using BASIC but started serious developing with Dataease (for DOS) and its quirky but powerful Data Query Language, moving to Access when it clearly blew the socks of Dataease for Windows and everything else he has tried since. He occasionally finds spreadsheets useful but doesn’t like to talk about it. 
Julian Baker, 

Julian has been working with Microsoft Access since the mid 90’s and set up his own business specialising in Access development in 2003. His clients range from small businesses to large multi-nationals covering a wide range of industries across the UK. In addition to Access development, Julian does a lot of work with SQL Server, Azure, web services integration and very occasionally .Net. With a background in the legal sector, Julian held a number of consultancy, team and project manager roles before deciding to concentrate on database development. 
Peter Bryant, 

Peter has run his own consultancy since 2004 and (after a fashion) specialises in not specialising; he’s worked in almost every sector ranging from automotive to hi-fi, from reseller to print, and financial services to charity.  He has used Microsoft Access since the early beta program two decades ago and his projects are now more about data analysis, function and business problem solving rather than the most amazing code writing.  Projects are nearly always lengthy prototyping/agile projects where the client starts out quite unsure of their expected final outcome.  As well as Access/SQL development he gets involved in general IT Management for SME’s as well as project management for resellers and enterprise. 
Alan Cossey, 

Alan has been using Access (version 2) since 1996 and has been an Access User Group member since the year after. He thinks he has attended every National Seminar since that time. Nudged against his will into IT from a chemical production environment, he was asked to learn Access to support an application written by a colleague who could not get the IT department to do a ‘proper’ application with VB and Oracle.  Despite never actually getting to support that application, Alan has concentrated on Access ever since apart from a six month flirtation with .Net. He has worked with small to medium companies in widely differing industries based in East Anglia, e.g. gas, oil and windfarm communications in the North Sea, property searches, boiler-making, kitchen-making and a charity for carers, including the company which made him redundant in 2004 where some of his apps live on and still need some support from him as well as the occasional new app there. Alan went to the same school in Norfolk as Horatio Nelson, though not at the same time, and is a Reader (aka Licensed Lay Minister) in the Church of England. 

David Parker, 

Frustrated as an architect in the late '80s trying to match 3D building models with spreadsheets, David explored linking Unix CAD and SQL databases in the early '90s for facilities and cable management. Increasingly forced into Windows for presentation, he began developing with Microsoft Access, starting with version 1.1 for reports, and then for departmental databases, and later as a front-end to SQL databases. David settled on Visio for data-linked diagrams in 1996.  He became a European Visio business partner and was invited to present his applications at worldwide Visio conferences and soon started his own Visio based consultancy and development business, applying analysis, synthesis and design to various graphical information solutions. David creates Visio demonstrations for Microsoft and presents Visio solution provider courses for Microsoft Western Europe, adding personal anecdotes and previous mistakes hoping that all can learn from them. Based near to Microsoft UK, he still sees the need for Visio evangelism throughout the business and development community. David has written four books about using Visio in business and validating diagram structure, maintains a Visio power user blog, and speaks at conferences about data-linked operational intelligence diagrams with Visio. ​