Review: MDB Artisan

MDB Artisan for Access 2002
DataQwest Technologies
Merrick, New York
(516) 650-9890

Yes, there are developers working in technologies other than .NET - I even do some Microsoft Access work still myself. And consequently, there are still ISVs (independent software vendors) offering tools for these other development environments. MDB Artisan is an inexpensive database exploration and documentation tool for Access 2000 and 2002 databases (an Access 2003 version is on the way).

Using MDB Artisan couldn't be simpler. Just select it from the add-ins menu, tell it which objects you're interested in, and wait while it analyzes them. Depending on the objects, there will be a certain amount of screen-flashing; that's an inescapable part of the way that Access works. When that's done, you'll get a treeview that you can use to drill into the objects in your database - tables, forms, import/export specs, modules, and so on.

When you select an object, a tabbed interface shows you the details. For example, For example, for a query you get the SQL, the input tables, the fields, the parameters, and so on. There's also an "options" tab that lets you perform various actions. This includes viewing the object in regular or design view, deleting it, or running a quick summary report that you can then print.

Unlike some other add-ins, MDB Artisan isn't modal, so you can continue to work with your database while its window is displayed. All in all, this tool offers an inexpensive but full-featured way to document and investigate an Access database. You can download a trial version to give it a test yourself.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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