PROTECTION AT THE BEGINNING
The first thing presented to the user when he opens the file is the password dialog box. I added this to protect the data from being accessed by the wrong people. The following screen dump shows the password dialog box:
After entering the correct password the main switchboard opens up.
As mentioned in DESIGN, I created a menu so that the user can easily access the various parts of the database. To make things simple and easy, I made the menus using the Switchboard Manager. This creates switchboards which work like navigational menus. The Switchboard Manager can be accessed by clicking
Tools>Database Utilities>Switchboard Manager
This is how the switchboard manager looks like with the switchboards in it:
The switchboards are created by clicking the ‘New’ button and naming the switchboards in the dialog box that appears. To add objects to the switchboard I clicked edit and the following dialog box appeared:
Here, I added the items by clicking ‘New’ and entering the data into the dialog box that appeared. This is one such dialog box which I had filled in:
The following few pages are displays of all the switchboards that I have created:
Just as I said, I created the tables in design mode. The first part of this mode consisted of 3 columns – FIELD NAME, DATA TYPE and DESCRIPTION (not really necessary, acts as a comment). The second part consisted of the FIELD PROPERTIES. This is how the FIELD PROPERTIES looks like:
As you can see, here’s where I control the properties of each field. Here I can enter the input mask, the validation rule and the validation text. This is a small section of the SUPPLIERS table:
In the DESIGN section, you have seen that some of the fields in my tables have lookup values. This is how I created the lookup fields:
In the data type of the field I chose the Lookup Wizard.
The wizard first asks me whether I want the lookup column to look up the values in a table or query or whether I will type in the values I want. I choose what I want and click next.
If I choose ‘I want the lookup column to look up the values in a table or query’ the following screen is displayed. The wizard asks me which table or query I want to look up my data from. I choose the required table and click next.
Here I choose the field(s) where the lookup field should look up its data from and click next.
As I mentioned, this view is not really suitable for the user to enter data so hence I had created forms which I could customize to make it more attractive to the user and to place the fields in a proper way. I also added buttons to make it more user friendly. Forms are explained below.
I must say that the forms created on the PC look amazing. It went above my expectations and the forms produced had excellent colour schemes and a very friendly user interface. I created forms by using the Form Wizard. The following screen dumps show the steps involved when creating a form:
Here I choose the fields that I want to include in the form.
Here I choose the layout of my form (Columnar). The next window asks which color scheme I want. I select the Industrial scheme as it looks casual yet seems formal.
Here I choose the name of the form and also to open the form in design mode so I can modify the form’s design. The following pages are displays of all the forms I have created:
In the DESIGN section I mentioned that I would add some ‘codes’ to some fields. This was done using the CODEBUILDER. CODEBUILDER allows Microsoft Visual Basic coding to be integrated into the MS Access database. This is how I did it:
As mentioned before, I am creating queries so that data can be filtered. I had created the queries in wizard mode and then edited the criteria in design mode. These are the steps that were involved in wizard mode:
In this window I can choose the fields that I wish to display in my query. The screen dump shows some fields beings inserted. Another window appears after clicking next. This window only appears if there is a field with numbers as the data type. This window asks whether I want summary details or not.
Here the computer asks me what name I want for my form and whether I want to open the query or modify its design. I type in the name and click Modify the query design since I have to enter the criteria.
The following screen dump shows my BARRY query, which displays the repairs that Barry has to handle as shown, queries form some sort of a filter:
This is a very important feature and so I created it to increase the integrity of the data as duplicates cannot be added. The following is the display of my relationships window:
After creating relationships, I can create subforms. I create it using the wizard, just like creating normal forms, except this time I choose fields from two tables. The following is the output of my subform:
The reports are very vital in my system. Since I like the easy way, I made them using the wizard. These are the displays of the Report Wizard and how it can be used to create reports the quick and easy way:
Here I choose the fields I want in my report.
Here I can choose whether I want any grouping in my report or no.
Here I choose the ascending order and whether I want any summary information or not. The next few windows display the structure and the color scheme of the report. The next few pages display the output of my reports.
Since switchboards do not have functions to open queries, I will need macros to open it. I created the macros in design mode as it was similar to the table design mode. Here you just choose the action which is selected from a combo box. Then you just have to change the parameters in the Action Arguments section. This is the display of the Action Arguments section:
I did the mail merging in a simpler way. I highlighted the MAILMERGE query and clicked (Merge It with MS Word). This is much faster than opening MS Word and then selecting the options for merging. Then the following dialog box appears:
I choose ‘Create a new document and then link the data to it’. In the company, if they have made a preset letter, they can choose the first option and choose the file that contains the letter. Then MS Word opens up and it prompts for the database password. Once this is entered Word asks for the table or query required. I choose the mail merge query and then a new toolbar (mail merge toolbar) appears. Then I typed out the standard letter and inserted the fields from the button. The following pages show examples of my mail merged letters:
Now that I have shown basically my whole system, I will now summarize the test plan.