The first Access DevCon Vienna took place on April 1+2, 2017. It included 10 presentations by experienced developers from Europe and the USA and by the Microsoft Access product team. We had a 50 attendees from 12 countries.


This was the agenda in April 2017:
Access Team  Michal Bar + Mike Sullivan, Microsoft, Redmond, USA
Two members of the Microsoft Access product team came over from Redmond to attend the conference and to keep us up-to-date with a short presentation:

•  Overview of what’s new in Access 2016
•  Demo one of the latest new features - Large Number (BigInt)
•  Discuss plans for the future
•  Communication channels with the product team

Michal is a program manager in Microsoft and the product lead and champion for Access since 2014. Prior to Microsoft, Michal spent 10 years at Intel’s mobile division, mainly focused on SQL based solutions for microprocessors validation processes. She has served as a press non-commissioned officer in the IDF, and holds a B.Sc. in Information Systems engineering from the Technion institute of Technology in Israel. She feels honored to be part of the Access team, with the opportunity to make an impact on the product and millions of engaged customers all over the world.



Mike has been software engineer on the Microsoft Access product team for over ten years. Beginning on the test team, he has helped to ship every version of Access since Office 2007. More recently, Mike has been working on delivering some of the Access desktop roadmap items, including BigInt support. In his free time, Mike is an avid American football fan, rooting for his Buffalo Bills through thick and thin.

Access Flows  Thomas Pfoch, picoware, wizard from Berlin, Germany
 (+Karl Donaubauer, beautiful assistant)

Ever seen a fast&fluid Access touch app on a tablet?
Ever seen a responsive native Access treeview - no API/DLL/OCX?
Watch us present features no one would expect in Access.

•  A real world touch app that doesn't look like Northwind
    •  Techniques and tricks that make an Access app swipe-able and touchy ;-)

•  The latest version of THE native Access treeview
    •  Learn to implement a file explorer treeview with 8 lines of VBA
    •  Observe a treeview combobox and a herd of treeviews working together on a form
    •  See a ton of functions, properties and design options that make the difference
        ... and there will certainly be a substantial discount for attendees

After Thomas made his master in computer science at the Technical University of Berlin he has focused on UI and databases. So he became an Access developer with the first version in 1992. He uses Access not only as RAD tool for app development, but also as basis for a next generation framework where apps are generated from or driven by meta data.
His session reflects this twofold approach: the tablet app written in pure Access, the treeview as a spin-off from his discrete UI concept.

Access Strategies  Luke Chung, FMS, Vienna (Virginia), USA

As long-term president of the biggest producer of Access tools, Luke has the most substantiated "industry" view of the product. His ideas on important strategic aspects lead to lively discussions.

•  The current position of Access inside organizations and in the market
•  How things have changed over the many years and technical / structural evolutions
•  How to fight the everlasting image problem
•  Why are there so few professional Access tools and tool producers
•  What Microsoft should do to improve the status of the product
•  What Access professionals and communities can contribute

Luke founded FMS in 1986. He is the primary author of many FMS tools including Total Access Analyzer/Detective/Emailer/Statistics. He has also personally provided consulting services to a wide range of clients.
Luke is a Microsoft Access MVP. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a Bachelor degree in Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a Master in Physical Oceanography.

Access Challenges

25 years of development work with Access mean dealing with a bunch of product bugs and limitations, solving design issues and developing best practices in many fields.

•  Math inaccuracy in Access/VBA
•  Find bad object references and unused objects or code
•  Handling temporary data
•  Dealing with Access design issues
•  Anchoring versus resizing
•  Database compacting and disaster recovery
•  ... and many more

Communicating with JSON Services Natively in Access VBA  Peter Bryant, Corylus Business Systems, Cambridge, UK

Access can talk to HTTP services, but doesn't provide built-in abilities to deal with the data from JSON or XML API calls. Whilst there are third party tools and libraries out there, they have their limitations and might not be permitted or welcome on a project (which is how this came about). We show how to do it in Access VBA with a few standard references and no other external dependencies.

•  An introduction to JSON and API web services that use it
•  Why do it internally in Access, and what you need to know before you start
•  How to deal with the API specification (and how some might vary)
•  Using POSTMAN to get a grip on the API (and save a lot of time later!)
•  Using the API schema in code (separation of generic functions and schema specific code)
•  Demonstration and walkthrough of a sample database (which will be made available after the event)
•  So that’s JSON – can you do something similar with XML? (tl;dr – yes!)
•  If time permits – an XML demonstration (which will also be made available after the event)

Peter has run his own consultancy since 2004 and specialised in not specialising; he’s worked in almost every sector ranging from automotive to hi-fi, from reseller to print, from financial services to charity. A Microsoft Access user since the early beta program, his projects are more about business problem solving with a complex database to deliver it, than the most amazing code writing. As well as Access/SQL development he provides general IT and Project Management.

Optimizing Access with SQL Server online  Juan Soto, IT Impact, Chicago, USA

Advanced topic on how to configure Access to work with a cloud hosted SQL Server. During this session we will discuss pitfalls to avoid and optimization techniques in order to get Access working great even if the data is web hosted.

•  What to avoid doing when your data is in the cloud, sometimes perception is as important as reality
•  What speed standard should you shoot for and how can it be achieved? (overcoming web latency)
•  How to avoid using JET or ACE engine in queries and in your code. (Hint: Maximize the use of SQL
    Server resources.)
•  Advanced TSQL techniques for the Access developer.
•  SQL Server Security Best Practices, because you never know who might be listening…

Juan is the President of IT Impact Inc. and a Microsoft Access MVP for the last six years.

His blog is focused on Access+SQL Server and he is the founder of

When he’s not working or blogging, Juan enjoys traveling around the world. You can reach him at

Techniques+Tricks for Access Pros  Anders Ebro, Exacto, Copenhagen, Denmark

Image Handling
How would you like to handle 30.000 images in your Access database, many of them 2+MB in size?
Let's further complicate that by placing you off-site on a slow internet connection. Challenge accepted!

•  Tips to storing images
•  Resizing thumbnails
•  Loading images on demand
•  Creating a local image cache

Every day we work with classes, the form class, the textbox class or the combobox.
But have you ever tried taking it one step further by enhancing one of those classes?

•  Reusable GUI enhancements for the textbox, form, combobox
•  Example of custom class that combines 3 controls to support business logic

Using a report inside a form
•  Pretty notes that scale in size
•  Continuous supreports inside continuous subreports but viewed as a form

Originally an engineer with a degree in Applied Physics, Anders started working with Access in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.
Anders has made applications ranging from Requirement Tools to financial depreciations, and has been an Access MVP for 4 years.

On his blog you can find several code samples for treeviews, change tracking, and error/crash reporting.

Two Professional Tools to Extend Access Development  Kevin Bell, COMC, Redmond, USA

Our company works on large projects with multiple developers. So we need to manage the development source code. The newest version of OASIS-SVN now offers tighter integration with Git repositories:

•  A few basics of source code control with Access
•  Configuring Git with OASIS-SVN and
•  Managing objects, versions and dealing with conflicts

To complement our Access frontends for SQL Server we need web/mobile frontends. Microsoft has tried (and failed) from DAPs to Access Web Apps, and PowerApps are still a toddler. However there is a professional tool from Microsoft that will allow you to access your data remotely and will surprise you with its ease of use: ASP.Net MVC

•  What is Model View Controller and how can you leverage it with your SQL Server databases
•  Building a MVC project with Visual Studio
•  Automatically generating Models and Controllers from an existing database
•  Creating and customizing Views

+ "NuGet" for Access
An introduction and open discussion on creating a package manager for Access. The goal is to offer a community driven platform that allows people to market their Access related tools or utilities to other Access users with minimal effort. Similar to what NuGet does for Visual Studio.

Kevin started working with Access in version 1.0 and has been working with SQL Server since version 4.21. For 15 years he ran a small consulting firm in Colorado that specialized in creating custom data driven application on Access and SQL Server. In 2008 Kevin joined the Microsoft Access Team as a test engineer, working on parts of the Access 2010, 2013 and 2016 releases. After leaving Microsoft in 2014 Kevin joined founded by another former Access Team member.

Automated Testing in Access Applications  Paul Rohorzka, TechTalk, Vienna, Austria

Your application works great, your code is clean, your customer is happy. But all of a sudden weird behaviour starts creeping in, bugs show up, things get broken that worked before. And painfully even users start reporting problems, because you didn't notice that nasty side-effect of your latest change.

But who could test the gazillion of features of a complex application?

To prevent situations as described above, automated testing can help a lot. While it is hard or even impossible for a human to test all features of an entire application, automated tests could at least check the correct behaviour of the most critical parts of the software with the click of a button. A reliable suite of tests can greatly improve the confidence in changing the software and the happiness of the users.

•  A quick introduction to automated testing
•  Kind of tests, TDD, Test-First, Red/Green/Refactoring, Mocking
•  Readability of tests
•  Where to put the effort?
•  Tooling for UnitTesting in Access (AccUnit, Rubberduck)
•  Testing for error conditions
•  Testing in Access can be hard
•  Examples from the wild
    •  Classical unit tests
    •  Testing external communication with a RESTful-service
    •  Testing interaction via the mouse
    •  Testing with data

Paul (@paulroho) is a software gardener with a passion for great code, i.e. code that works and is easy to read and maintain. He lives both in the land of Begin/End and the realm of curly braces. Working as a developer mainly in .NET at TechTalk, he still supports long standing clients of his own consultancy softconcept with the focus on Access based projects. Not least by appearing with more than a dozen topics at Karl's conferences, he tries to cross-pollinate both worlds. Paul loves teaching other developers good coding practices in trainings, coding dojos, and talks at meetups and conferences.