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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on 15 August 2011
As a reasonably experienced VBA programmer I have acquired a long succession of Access manuals that for me have have never really met their aspirations. This book is different. It assumes from the start that you are experienced with Access or serious programming so no space is wasted dealing with trivialities, nor does it presume to force the reader into a prescribed way of working. The more one works through the book the more one appreciates the immense variety of different approaches and techniques that are covered, and this is achieved with a clarity and conciseness that belies the complexity. In its 700 pages in contains far more real meat than most books offer in twice the volume and it is hard to find a serious Access programming topic that is not addressed somewhere. The downside of that conciseness is that to start with it can take a while to track down what one is looking for, and one may also have to look at the downloadable companion code to see the detail for a particular issue, but once one has got used to the way the book is structured this ceases to be a problem. Looking at those areas where I have a particular expertise I could not quarrel with the way they are presented, and browsing more deeply I have discovered valuable ideas that I can use immediately. But equally importantly the book addresses emerging concepts and alternative techniques, and thus the book provides the impetus and resources to move forward into evolving technologies. For the serious VBA programmer this has to be the reference book of choice.
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on 2 August 2011
This book provides exactly what the Product Description sets out. It covers a huge amount of ground in a very concise way. You will need some experience of using Access before tackling this book and you will need to work through the sample code in a methodical way - but put in the effort and the book will deliver knowledge that would take several weeks of training courses to deliver - at a fraction of the price! Even people who have been programming in VBA for many years are likely to learn something new (I certainly did), especially as the book provides an introduction to Azure.
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on 15 August 2011
Access 2010 VBA Programming Inside Out

Not having reviewed a book before, my first thought was to search the book quickly for solutions to the last 4 problems that I had encountered that were outside my comfort zone. I am delighted to say that the code for 3 of the problems was available within the book and, with very good notes, immediately comprehendible. Better still, the index was sufficiently detailed to go straight to the code and the explanation. The 4th - programming for Pivot Tables - was not mentioned but I have no idea how many people wish to make use of this facility.

I then started at the beginning and read through the whole book apart from the section dealing with Azure and access to the Cloud are too much out of my client's current requirements to spend too long on. However, I am just starting an upgrade from Access 97 to Access 2007/SQL Server 2008 and anticipate that the sections 14 and 15 (Using SQL Server and Upsizing Access to SQL Server) will be most useful.

Overall the text is clear, the coded examples are sensible, well annotated and easy to follow, the font used and the general presentation are excellent. That being said, this is not a manual for the novice but a far more effective and extensive VBA reference manual and an essential complement to the Microsoft Access Inside Out manuals.
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on 1 September 2011
I approached this mighty tome on two levels: that of someone new to VBA programming (I can still remember the steep learning curve I went through...) and my own, as someone with a number of years experience in development. I have to say, it works very well at both levels.

Having written software guides myself, I know how important both content and presentation are - they're the Lennon and McCartney of technical writing. Without content, of course, you have nothing, but if the presentation is insufficiently consistent and attractive, your readers might give up on you. This book pays close attention to these aspects of presentation - the style is consistent throughout, and well explained at the outset. At the risk of over-emphasising this point, I do believe this kind of approach is reassuring for readers, especially those who are taking their first steps into an unfamiliar technology. The language too, is friendly and not at all forbidding - I particularly like the warnings that a section might be a little daunting, and suggestions on where to skip to if you that's the case.

The book is divided into seven sections, covering everything from VBA basics to integration with other office programs and SQL Server. I spent some time on Part 1: VBA Environment and Language (three chapters), as this is the part which a newcomer to VBA would, I think, find most useful. It provides an excellent, thorough introduction but is by no means superficial; in conjunction with the online sample databases, anyone competent with the Access interface would be well-equipped to start making real use of VBA. Part 2: Access Object Model and Data Access objects (DAO) goes deeper and, as the text says, can be skipped if it's too technical for the moment - it's quite possible to work with forms and reports (part 3) without a detailed knowledge of DAO; a bit like being able to drive competently without knowing precisely how a clutch and gears work. Part 3: Working with Forms and Reports gets to the heart of the matter - making forms and reports work harder and perform more efficiently and creatively. This is particularly important if, as is so often the case, the systems you develop will be used by administrators and others who cannot be expected to have detailed knowledge of ICT. Again, the explanations and examples are clear and precise. Incidentally, the "Inside Out" panels, providing tips and extra information throughout the book, are a very helpful device, often explaining why something is not the case, or clearing up some confusion, something technical manuals often leave out.

Part 4: Advanced Programming with VBA Classes makes a very welcome appearance for someone like me, who has never used classes, but always wanted to. It's also a discrete section which can be skipped without affecting your acquisition of the skills you need. Even after a cursory reading, I feel I understand the concept and I look forward to absorbing this aspect of VBA and using it in development.

For someone who has not explored the use of Office programs in conjunction, Part 5: External Data and Office Integration provides a practical introduction to firing up Word (to put the results of a query into a mail merge, for example) and Excel (perhaps to produce charts and graphs based on Access data). I found the section on late vs. early binding and CreateObject vs. New especially useful. I well remember the horizons opening up before me the first time I realised I could `drive' other Office programs from within VBA, and this section illuminates this very well. Including Internet Explorer, which also has an object model, in this section, might have been a useful addition.

Like part 4, Part 6: SQL Server and SQL Azure deals with aspects of development I haven't been involved with. However, I've always know that I'll have to bite the bullet one day, and I can see that this section will stand me in good stead when I do. It starts by clearly explaining what SQL Server is and how its organisation differs from that of a straightforward Access database, with the caveat that it may take some time and effort to grasp fully, and progresses through the different versions available, the tools to help in setting up and manipulating SQL databases and the process of `upsizing' from Access.

Finally, Part 7: Application Design takes the reader through all aspects of the design and development process, including the all-important business of protecting your application from accidental (or even mischievous) access to its design. There are useful sections on providing progress bars to reassure users during lengthy processes, creating custom ribbons and deploying secure versions of your applications.

Andrew Couch has done a lovely job of organising this book into logical sections, enabling the reader either to work their way through it from beginning to end, or to select sections particularly appropriate to them.
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on 2 August 2011
This book is a gem. For the first time here is a book that comprehensively covers VBA Programming. Most other books just touch on this subject without any depth. Within a few minutes I was discovering Commands and techniques that I can put to use straight away and I wish I'd known about years ago. This book is packed with clear examples and answers most of those questions you were afraid to ask. It covers everything from the VBA language and structure through to working with SQL Azure. Buy this book - it will save you time and money.
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on 27 January 2014
There are a load of Access programming books on the market but this volume that concentrates on the VBA aspect is just what I was looking for. I have written VBA for a number of years using self tuition, previous programming experience and seeking help on the internet. Even though I thought I was familiar with the development environment I decided to read this book from the beginning and I have found many tools and tips that were totally unknown to me. However it's written in such a way that it is easy to follow and doesn't overly detail obvious basic features.

If you're looking for a great no nonsense VBA guide I thoroughly recommend this one.
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on 10 March 2015
I can only really confirm what other reviewers have said. This book does exactly what it sets out to do - provide a comprehensive guide to VBA programming ... for readers who already know a fair amount about Access and programming. I started programming professionally in the days of punched cards and magnetic tape but I have never got to grips with VBA previously. This book is exactly what I needed.
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on 17 March 2013
I have a bit of knowledge of vba but definitely still a novice. This is a fantastic book and study guide. I have already learned more and have a better understanding of vba...I'm only at chapter 2 and can't wait to dig in every night.
Since starting with insideout the ideas are flowing...
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on 1 March 2014
Very detailed but it helps if you have some knowledge of Visual Basic. Code and ebook available for download.
Other books did not go into enough depth but this one is very good.
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on 13 January 2016
This is a comprehensive book which will take you from a beginners level straight through to more advanced concepts. I would highly recommend.
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