Quick Overview of Microsoft Access 2010
The primary application for a relational database management system (RDBMS) such as Microsoft Access or SQL Server is tracking entities: people, vehicles, currency, stocks, bonds, viruses, toxins, or anything else with a distinct, identifiable existence. Database architects classify Access as a departmental database because its single-file structure and rapid application development (RAD) design features are well-suited to shared use by teams, departments, or divisions of large enterprises or in small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
To solve immediate business problems, proficient Access users who don't have formal training as database developers or programmers commonly combine a few database tablesusually 10MB in total size or smallerand simple queries with several forms and reports. This ad hoc RAD approach minimizes application development time and expense, as well as administrative costs, but often leads to undisciplined proliferation of databases and data duplication.
When users perceive that growing database size, application complexity, or both are beginning to hamper performance, they can replace their Access tables with linked SQL Server tables. An alternative is to scale up to the full client/server model with Access Data Projects (ADPs), which execute queries or stored procedures on SQL Server tables instead of using the Access query engine. These capabilities, combined with inclusion in the Microsoft Office Professional suite, have enabled Microsoft Access to dominate the market for Windows desktop RDBMSes.
Access 2007 disabled the capability to create browser-based Data Access Pages (DAPs) and abandoned the traditional (and Byzantine) user/group-based security model for multiuser databases. Lack of Web-accessible database applications has enabled competitors such as Intuit's QuickBase and FileMaker's FileMaker Pro to encroach on Access' market share.