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Message Posted: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 @ 18:35:11 GMT

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Subj:   Re: Microsoft-Access and Teradata
From:   John Balchunas

MS Access is the major tool for our users - several hundred as a matter of fact. The rest use ASP-coded internet.

We started using it at beta version and before (I think it was called MS Query then) and have no problems pulling data from tables with millions to hundreds of millions of rows.

Our ACCESS users are secretaries and clerks in offices, supervisory mechanics in vehicle maintenance bus compounds, Ph.D degreed analysts in our research department (also using SPSS), our IT staff, accounting and finance people against general ledgers, accounts payable and receivable, our former Chief Financial Officer, and even outside contractors.

There are no restrictions on when or what queries they can launch since our data is spread at no more than 3% per amp with virtually no skewing. Also MS Access QBE is a fairly easy tool for our non-SQL people to develop basic queries. I cannot even remember my last "run- away" query. Most users get at least a few hours training at our computer-ed dept to get them going. Users may call a few times after getting started, but then get used to the QBE and work by themselves. Depending on the user and needs, there are either base tables, views or summary tables available from Teradata thru ACCESS. All of this makes the DBA very happy (that's me).

We only really have two formal applications (using ACCESS forms) - one where users can execute built in queries against student attendance data, and another which is a replica of any employees pay check stub showing all deductions, leave, pay, taxes, etc going back about two years. The color and font is identical to the pay stub and able to be printed by our payroll dept when employees ask for a dupe or need to research an employees pay.

As a DBA, years ago I used ITEQ and SQLBATCH, then went to BTEQ, BTEQ Batch and ACCESS and was able to administer all aspects of the DBC. Only recently have I gone to using Queryman, WINDDI, and WINSQL. I still use ACCESS every day and would not give it up for any other tool. Our consultant also develops in ACCESS and has said that anything you can do in SQL, you can do it in ACCESS. With VB and VBA that's correct. Another advantage is its price bundled in with Office and the fact that it is an off-the-shelf product that requires just the installation of the ODBC driver (we have a site license so that avoids tracking who can and who can not have the ODBC driver). Yup, it's a little bit of a pain to go out and install the ODBC or arrange it, but on the other hand, no esoteric JDBC version problems to worry about nor expensive outflows of capital for tools.

For empty dates, we used 18010101 but have since nulled out these dates with scripts when updates become more palatable with faster chips, and users have become familiar with IS NULL. As far as Timestamps go, don't. We have just a couple so far. If required, I usually break up the timestamp column in my fastload into 2 separate date and time columns (right after the timestamp column) so that I have the ability to look at date and time from whatever perspective is needed. Yeah, I know, so I have three columns instead of one. It also can be done by changing Timestamps to a CHAR (23) column and then use the CDATE function in ACCESS.

Although we use both, it appears that best reporting tool to go along with ACCESS is Crystal Reports writer. I found it must more intuitive and classy than the report writer in ACCESS.

Generally speaking, ACCESS is our simple tool of choice and its capabilities with Teradata far exceed its few limitations.

John Balchunas
Jefferson County Public Schools

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