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Microsoft VB6/Access – Revisited

Are you developing with Microsoft Access or VB6? If so STOP!

In this article I revisit some of my past articles about VB6/Access and why it should not be used to develop new solutions or to even modernize using the Access application.

Note: If your business runs only Windows desktop computers and you have absolutely no plan to move any of your business to cloud and security is not a concern, this article does not apply to you.

I have written in the past about Access and have re-read my articles from 2016 and 2017 to make sure I am giving solid guidance to readers.  In my opinion, the move away from a desktop database like Access and its cousins Paradox, FoxPro and others is a sound one.  I include VB6 because it shares many underlying inter-dependent Windows specific features used in Office applications (including Access).

My company has solutions for these problems.  Letting Intact take over the issues might be the right answer for you.

Government Customers:  Access database is a large risk to your security concerns, and a large risk to your application support concerns.

I don’t want this to be a long in-depth treatise on Access, rather a list of helpers that you can go read for your situation.

VB6 and Office applications using VBA, including Access

Simplifying: I use the word “supported” below very often.  It means that applications built with a “supported” technology (a collection of files) has all the dependent files always available on any of the “supported” Windows versions.

Special note: Windows 10 as of April 2018 (build 1803 or later) is now subscription based and is not listed in the Microsoft support list for these applications.

UPDATE: Some seemed confused about the link to VB6 support below when we are discussing Microsoft Access.  For clarity, all Microsoft Office desktop applications included Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and many still do.  This dependency is a Windows operating system (OS) wide issue that affects ALL Windows operating systems.  To explain just a little about it, all VBA and applications developed using Visual Basic Integrated Development Environment (VB IDE) share a single (across the whole computer) “VB runtime” process. Over its 25-year life-span VB had six major version releases, hence VB6.  Access developers used VBA extensively in their applications. Moreover, because the VB runtime dates to a time before multi-threaded OS and processor chips it is by nature a “single thread” process.  This means that every program using any VB or VBA code must share the same thread.  This worked very well on old 1990 desktops running Windows 3.x with Microsoft DOS underneath.  Things changed in the late 1990’s and so too did the development.  The VB6 IDE was officially dead in 2008, but VBA lives on in desktop versions of Office albeit stripped down and turned off by default today.  Will Access run on your new 64 bit device with Windows 10? Could, might not. No promises from Microsoft.

If you have applications based on these technologies which includes Access prior to 2013 see this 1/2018 Microsoft support document. Of special note, the VB6 IDE tested systems do not included Windows 10, only the support policy for Windows 10 is updated. You must read carefully and understand affected systems.

If you have VB6 or Office applications that you either purchased or built to use the VB-runtime on Windows, it will continue to run on supported Windows operating systems within limitations.  This means that files shipped with the software AND were on the supported list are still supported, however your application may use files from the \tools extensions or from third-parties that are no longer supported.  Microsoft does not guarantee that these applications will continue to operate.

Will my app run on Windows 10?  If you use a 32 bit machine or you are able to run in a WOW mode on a 64 bit device and your application does not have any third-party controls or does not use any of the now unsupported controls, it should.

What about security, user rights, and roles?  There isn’t any other than the Windows log-on.  If it is on the desktop, it is pretty much open season.  A really sharp IT pro can lock down a system, but that is expensive and makes the system fragile.

I connect to a SQL backend, what is my problem? There are two immediately.  One, the embedded connection string or a DSN file connection to SQL is not secure and is a known risk.  Two, using cloud API’s requires completely new code that does not exist in these older system runtimes.

I have Access 2016 on Windows 10, will it work? If you have a simple desktop application with the Access database file at least upgraded to version 2007 and you are running on a 32 bit edition of Windows 10, then it will most likely work, although some features have been removed since 2007 that could cause you to get errors.

Links to support: see the links above in this article to additional materials.  Or if you don’t want to read all that stuff, contact us via our web site:

CSP Direct – Why it Matters to Partners

Microsoft has opened the door for partners to profit from cloud service usage.

For many years I recommended vendor companies and was a “value added reseller” (VAR) for Microsoft and others.  In this business model I bought software “components” from the vendors, to build a fully custom application system.  This often meant that I supplied the hardware, network, software, licenses, everything.  That was the late 20th century model.  It began to die with the advent of the Internet and online services.

Cloud computing is very large scale online services.  There is no room for the VAR in the cloud computing delivery.  You aren’t selling hardware and network so you don’t get any revenue from installation fees, you often are not developing the software anymore because it is now delivered as a cloud application.  The squeeze is on and you already feel it.

Making it in the cloud computing world as a “Systems Integrator” (SI) or VAR.  You must replace your dwindling revenue streams with new ones.

Intact is gathering partners into our network of CSP Indirect Resellers.  The first thing you need to know as an Indirect Reseller is you are paid a commission for selling Microsoft products and services by Microsoft.  How much the commission is, is determined by who the Indirect Reseller partners with in a deal.

It is no secret, if you are an approved Microsoft CSP, you can get services from any Direct or the “Indirect Providers” (formerly channel partners.)  Intact wants to be your Direct Reseller.  We are creating new partnerships, new products, and new services that you can use to strengthen your proposals to your customers.  As your Direct, we can help with pricing and services to get you more business and keep that critical client you have invested in for years.

CSP Direct – Why it Matters to Customers

Business has no choice today, some part of your business depends on technology.

Federal, state, and local governments now require you to deal with them online.  Your bank services are provided online. You pay your bills online.  Most likely you use technology applications to track your customers, your accounts receivables, and more.  There is no escape, IT services is part of your business.

This has had a secondary effect on your business, you must manage multiple service providers and it takes a lot of your time and money.  Many businesses are looking for single-source suppliers to manage their technology, allowing them to do the business of the business.

Microsoft has recognized that it is ineffective at the “last-mile” delivery of its services, so has created a distributor franchise of Direct Resellers.  A Direct Reseller, as the name implies is a wholesale bulk purchaser who then resells the product to the customer – you.  Your Direct manages the entire service agreement with you.  You get to choose what you want and to negotiate your best price/support model for your business.  More, a Direct can bundle other services not provided by Microsoft as part of a service package.  For example, Intact is a partner/provider for Heartland Payment Systems.  So Intact can bundle under the same management/supply contract IT and banking services.  With a Direct Reseller your business gets the technology it must have at a favorable price with tailored service/support.

Finally, many times we find that businesses are specialized, needing finely tuned support.  These customers have well established provider relationships in place and would like to keep those, but get possibly better pricing or better application services/solutions.  For this we have formed our partner network of Indirect Resellers.  Our Indirect Resellers are commissioned by Microsoft so you aren’t paying more while getting pin-point service.

I discuss our Indirect Reseller program in another article.

Building a Microsoft CSP Direct Business

Starts with a team attitude…

A few weeks ago I talked about Intact’s appointment as a Microsoft Direct Reseller and in a separate article about the changes businesses/government must adapt to in the years ahead.

I know, without doubt that Intact must find, recruit, equip, train, and assist partners to achieve their goals.  Being Direct means we are the go-to for the things partners have long said Microsoft should have done.  Well, in my opinion Microsoft is doing exactly what it should do (or maybe should have done sooner), moving the relationship management to where it really is – between the servicing company and the end-user customer.  As a nod to Microsoft, once upon a time we (consumers) did do business with Microsoft by buying our software from a store.  Those days are long gone. I haven’t gotten boxed CD/DVD software in 10 years or more.

Today there are service companies that deliver your computing to you or your business, who in turn get theirs from Microsoft or AWS for example.  The CSP Direct Reseller is simply the distributor to service companies (partners) who then work with you.

Intact is building a partner network.  We are going to help our partners with their business goals.  In the coming years I believe that through the Direct partner relationships we will seen new specializations arise out of the partner network.  In-fact we are already witnessing it in our recruiting now.

I believe that starting with the notion of partners working as teams, pooling their individual strengths means more revenue.  It takes a new way of thinking and a higher order of partner.  Intact will develop this over time.

For those who don’t know all the IT and Microsoft terminology.  A CSP is a “cloud solution provider” and a Direct Reseller is a distributor.  Not complicated.  I will have more on this in another post.

Cloud – Clash and Train Wrecks

How many people you ask is how many opinions you get – No kidding, Captain Obvious.

Speaking of cloud computing and the above statement, there is no shortage of opinions, so today I’m giving my opinion (and this is my blog).  More precisely I am going to, hopefully, state the obvious in a ocean of conflicting opinions.

Cloud computing has changed the way applications should be written and how companies will have to (future perfect tense) deal with this reality.  My point is this, the major companies are converting resources to cloud and thus future deliveries will be cloud-based to the point that it is economically imperative to use a cloud service rather than an “owned” service.  There are always exceptions and I am not discussing your favorite exception.  We are talking mainstream, the majority, most of, or any other phraseology implying quantities greater than the median, of business applications where something will at some point fail due to its clashing with cloud technologies.

Here is an example: Windows Server 2008 SP2 Switching to Monthly Updates simple reality.  This is going to cause failures in lots of apps.  My point is, companies, and yes the “open-source” community too, are taking to cloud.  If you just keep riding the same old train, my advice is get off (retire) at the next stop; for surely there is a train wreck ahead and you might find yourself the first to arrive.

Intact Partners is Microsoft CSP Direct, board our new CloudLiner PartnerShip for the smoothest ride in CyberSpace!

That was hokey, but you get it!

Intact Appointed Microsoft CSP Direct

Intact Partners Inc. was appointed by Microsoft as one of its CSP Direct Reseller partners.  This is a huge achievement for Intact.  A Direct reseller is an end to end sales, service, and support distributor of Microsoft’s cloud products.  More Intact is able to bundle our company intellectual properties, CodeSolve and PowerLine automation tools and services.  Even more! Intact is creating an ecosystem of partners and Microsoft Indirect Resellers where our partners can bundle their services with our.  We even drive more revenue by Indirect Reseller commissions paid by Microsoft.

If you are interested in hearing more about then next wave in cloud solutions opportunity please contact me, and put Ecosystem in the subject line.

You can find out more online at our LinkedIn site, search: Intact Partners Inc