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A Quick Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial

Though Microsoft Access is NOT synonymous with database systems, there are more copies of Microsoft Access in use than any other database system. It therefore behooves computer science students to be at least superficially familiar with MS Access. This tutorial will guide you through some of the basic point-and-click stuff, and will even show you how to issue complex SQL (Structured Query Language) queries. You will open the North wind Microsoft sample database and query it in various ways. This is a HANDS ON tutorial; it gives you step-by-step directions for carrying out simple tasks in Access. As you read, you should have a copy of the Northwind database open in Microsoft Access 2003, and you should carry out the tasks yourself, exactly as directed.

First, a few words about what Microsoft Access 2003 is and isn't. People who don't really understand what a relational database system is, and some people who don't actually understand what Access 2003 is, will tell you that Microsoft Access is not a fully relational database system. In the database world, not being fully relational is very bad. Don't worry, the people who tell you that are like the people who try to tell you that linux is not a 32 bit operating system. Access 2003, and its predecessors Access 95, 97 and 02, are excellent fully relational database systems.

But Access 2003 does have a few shortcomings. The principle shortcoming is that it is almost impossible to enforce reasonable security restrictions with Access 2003. So if you want a variety of users to interact with a database, you should move up to Microsoft's SQL Server, an Oracle database above the level of Oracle Personal Edition, or the wonderful, and FREE, MySql. (And let us not forget to mention the higher levels of FileMaker Pro as good possibilities.) As a certified Microsoft hater, I would naturally prefer that you move up to Oracle, MySql, or FileMaker Pro, but I have to be fair. Microsoft's database products are extremely good, easy to develop for, readily accepted by the outside world, and always good choices.

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A Quick Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial