Saturday, October 30, 2010

Microsoft Announces Cloud Essentials for Partners with Free Windows Azure and Office 365 Benefits

• Updated 10/30/2010 9:30 AM PDT for the alternative Microsoft Cloud Accelerate program (see end of post).

Haris Majeed, a Microsoft Windows Azure Admin, sent the following Status Update message to contributors to the 2nd-ranked Continue Azure offering free for Developers idea on the Windows Azure Feature Voting Forum on 10/29/2010 at ~4:00 PM PDT:


Here’s the original idea:


Note that the existing MSDN Subscriber benefits were extended by eight months on 10/25/2010 (see the article in the Live Windows Azure Apps, APIs, Tools and Test Harnesses section of my Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 10/25/2010+ post.

And here are the details of the Cloud Essentials Pack from the new Microsoft Cloud Partner site:


image Note that the availability date has been updated from 2011H1 to 1/7/2011, but BPOS hasn’t been updated to Office 365. The Office 365 licenses should be of interest to Microsoft Access 2010 developers (and users) who want to host multiuser Web Databases on SharePoint Server 2010 in the cloud or upsize an Access database to SQL Azure and link it to an Access front-end.

Note: According to the Office 365 SharePoint Online Technical Overview.pptx presentation’s “Search, Insights & Composites” slide, Access Services are one of the the “What’s In” items. (So are Excel and Visio Services:)


Business Connectivity Services (BCS) are scheduled for release in Microsoft FY 2012.  PowerPivot connections to external services is targeted for release in FY12.

The sign-up process for existing Microsoft Partners (such as me) wasn’t working this morning “due to high demand.” When it resumes operation, I’ll update this post.

Alternative Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program for “Competency” Partners “Already in the Cloud”

If you’re a current partner with “competency” qualifications and “already in the cloud,” check out the alternative Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program:


This screen’s designers should have hired a proofreader: see “competncy” and “Compentency” [sic].

This article was originally posted to the OakLeaf Systems blog on 10/30/2010.

SharePoint 2010 Easy Setup Script for 64-bit Windows 7

Mithun Dhar’s SharePoint 2010 Easy Setup Script… post of 10/28/2010 takes the drudgery out of installing SharePoint Server 2010 under 64-bit Windows Server:


Problem: Installing SharePoint Or Setting up a Dev Environment for writing SharePoint applications. (Install SharePoint directly onto your machine running Windows 7 64bit). The downside to installing it on your Windows 7 box is that it requires a steep learning curve to understand how to setup and install all of the bits and pieces to have a full SharePoint developer environment. This is where the Easy Setup Script comes in. The goal of the Easy Setup Script is to reduce the learning curve and time for a casual developer to get started.

Solution: We are addressing this problem by providing you a SharePoint 2010 Easy Setup Scrip that automates this process. *ta da* :)

How: In order to make this easy Our Resident SharePoint experts have created a series of PowerShell Scripts that automate the entire process. Of course, these scripts are highly configurable and can be tweaked to make it more customized. But right out of the bat,

    • They will download and install all of the Required Software (Including Pre-Req’s)
    • Install and download all of the SharePoint Pre-Req’s
    • Install other software such as Visual Studio and Office
    • Of course, this script will also install and configure SharePoint 2010
    • And finally, it will provision a site for you to work with.

Please note that this script will download evaluation copies of the products it installs (or use fully licensed product bits you supply), install them either locally or in a user supplied Windows 7 VHD & set that VHD up for duel boot using the Windows 7 VHD native boot feature.

In case you are wondering about what specific software will be installed, here’s a list:

  • SharePoint Server 2010 + pre-requisites (Standalone)
  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition
  • Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
  • Open XML SDK
  • Visual Studio SDK
  • Visual Studio SharePoint Power Tools
  • Office 2010 Professional Plus
  • SharePoint Designer 2010
  • Visio 2010

Also to help you visualize what’s happening, here’s the Easy Setup Script Process Flow…


Click to view full size

To begin Download the Script

As soon as you download and install you will be presented with this screen…


If this is not an option, do try out the Information Worker VHD – This has everything Setup and Configured but of course to use this VHD you will need a machine capable of running Hyper-V and it should have at least 8 GB RAM.

Alternatively, you can remote desktop into a hosted instance of SharePoint. But this is not the most desired solution for developers…

Here’s a really useful presentation to understand what’s going on…you get this from the script.

SharePoint 2010 Easy Setup

View more presentations from Mithun Dhar.

Fore more updates, follow Chris Johnson’s and Paul Stubb’s blogs on MSDN. They are our resident experts and SharePoint evangelists.

And as always, if you have specific questions – feel free to email me. I modified the Config file and installed SharePoint 2010 using the Easy Setup Script.

-Mithun Dhar

Without this script, installing SharePoint Server 2010 under 64-bit Window 7 is a nightmare.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Patrick Wood Requests Votes for Access 2010 ADO Connections to SQL Azure

In his You Can Vote to Get ADO for Microsoft Access® to Connect to SQL Azure™ post of 10/9/2010, Patrick Wood wrote:

image Microsoft has put much more emphasis lately on listening to developers and users when they ask for Features to be added to Microsoft Software. This has led to many improvements in new software releases and updates. Microsoft is really listening to us but you have to know where to give them your requests.

A few days ago on the SQL Azure Feature Voting Forum I put in a request for “Microsoft Access ADO–Enable Microsoft Access ADO 2.x Connections to SQL Azure.” My comment was “This will enable more secure connections to SQL Azure and provide additional functionality. ODBC linked tables and queries expose your entire connection string including your server, username, and password.”

On Friday Roger Jennings posted about this on his Roger Jennings’ Access Blog, “I agreed and added three votes.” He also wrote about it on his software consulting organization blog, OakLeaf Systems and added a link to the The #sqlazure Daily which I have found to be a great place to keep up with the very latest tweets, articles, and news about SQL Azure. Roger Jennings has written numerous books about programming with Microsoft Software, a number of which have been about Microsoft Access. His books are among the very best about Access and contain a wealth of helpful detailed information. I have never had a conversation or any correspondence with before now but I greatly appreciate his support in this matter.

Why do we need ADO (this is not ADO.Net) when we have ODBC to link tables and queries to SQL Azure? If you are just planning to use SQL Azure for your own use you can get by fine without it. But if you distribute Access Databases that use SQL Azure as a back end then you have to be very careful because an ODBC DSN is a plain text file that contains your server web address, your user name, and your password. If you use DSN-less linked tables and queries another programmer can easily read all your connection information through the TableDef.Connect or QueryDef.Connect properties even if you save your database as an accde or mde file.

ADO allows you to use code to connect to SQL Server and if we had the same capability with SQL Azure this would allow us to keep all of our connection information in code. Then using accde or mde files will provide us with better security. ADO also provides additional functionality which can make developing with SQL Azure easier.

We have already picked up a few votes for ADO but we need a lot more to let Microsoft know there are enough of us developers who want ADO to make it worthy of their attention.

You can vote for ADO here. You can use 3 votes at a time and your support is greatly appreciated.

You can read more about SQL Azure and Microsoft Access at my Gaining Access website.

Happy computing,
Patrick (Pat) Wood
Gaining Access

AccessHosting’s Larry Strange to Present at SharePoint Summit 2011

Larry published SharePoint Summit 2011 on 10/21/2010 (missed when posted):

I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting at the SharePoint Summit on January 31st, 2011 in Toronto. If you are looking for information on Access Services from the SharePoint administrator point of view (vs. the Access developer) then this session is for you.

You may also like:

I featured AccessHosting’s SharePoint Server 2010 hosted service in Chapter 23, “Sharing Web Databases with SharePoint Server 2010” of my forthcoming Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth book:


Service Pack 1 coming for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010

The Microsoft Office Customer Programs Team sent messages to Office and SharePoint 2010 technical beta testers  on 10/26 requesting applications to participate in a forthcoming (calendar year 2010) Beta program for Service Pack 1:

Hello Valued Microsoft Customer,

We are contacting you about an opportunity to participate in an upcoming Beta testing program. You may be a previous tester of Microsoft products, or someone who has been nominated. Beta programs are unique ways to experience product updates and provide feedback to the development teams. Later this calendar year we will begin an invitation-only beta testing of the Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Service Packs contain product updates since the product released. We would like to invite you to participate in the private testing of that service pack.

Call to action

If you are interested in participating in this Beta, and if you are already using Office 2010 or SharePoint 2010, please complete the application survey by following the link below. Upon completing the survey, your participation status will be set to ‘pending’, while we review your submission. If you are selected to participate, you will receive a formal invitation to join the program. Due to the limited number of seats in this private Beta, we may not be able to accommodate all interested testers.

If you are already registered on Microsoft Connect, make sure to sign in with your existing registered Windows Live ID account to submit this survey. If you are not registered yet, you will be prompted to do so.

Hopefully, Service Pack 1 will enable Access 2010’s Macro-to-VBA Converter to work with embedded macros. This feature suffered from a regression bug that wasn’t fixed in the RTM version.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Download the New Free Version of the Access and Outlook Appointment Manager

Patrick Wood offers a New Free Version of the Access and Outlook Appointment Manager in this 10/21/2010 post:

You can now download the new free Access and Outlook Appointment Manager for either Access 2007 or 2003.

Easily export your Access Appointments or dated events to the Outlook Calendar. You can create and manage Appointments in Access and export any Access Appointment to Outlook, creating a new Outlook Appointment. Select any Outlook Calendar in the Outlook folders on your computer.

This is not a demo. You can use the free Access Appointment Manager as often and as long as you like.

You can download both the Production version or try out the Appointment Manager with sample data to see how it works.

The code is made available for you to see how to create an Outlook Appointment and make sure the dates and times are correct.

Also available on our website is our free internet based SQL Azure and Microsoft Access cloud computing demonstration application. You can download it and learn more about it from our SQL Azure and Microsoft Access page.

Other free downloads are available.

Happy computing,

Patrick (Pat) Wood

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marshall Wright Commends Office 2010

Marshall Wright posted Office 2010 – The First new version worth getting in a decade! on 10/19/2010:

Microsoft just released Microsoft Office 2010.  Unlike the last release of Microsoft Office, Office 2007 whose claim to fame was changing the user interface and confusing people, Office 2010 builds on the previous version and adds many features.  Outlook includes new organizational tools and direct links to social media web sites like LinkedIn.  Word and Excel now include links to FREE document storage at Microsoft.  This free service may be used for document collaboration that may have profound effects on how business is conducted.  PowerPoint improves through the addition of a graphics editor and the ability to publish presentations for sharing directly to the Internet.  Click here for more details on these and other new features.

I agree with Marshall, but am surprised he didn’t mention improvements to Microsoft Access 2010, such as Web Databases and connectivity to SQL Azure, as well as other Professional Edition programs and features. Maybe he doesn’t have Office 2010 Pro.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Vote for More Secure ADO 2.x Connections to SQL Azure in Access 2010

Patrick Wood wrote: 

imageLet's Vote to get Microsoft Access ADO 2.x Connections to SQL Azure on the SQL Azure Feature Voting Forum ! ODBC linked tables are a security risk and we need ADO features!

image This will enable more secure connections to SQL Azure and provide additional functionality. ODBC linked tables and queries expose your entire connection string including your server, username, and password.

I agreed and added three votes.

You can add your vote(s) for this feature by clicking here.

Note: Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth’s Chapter 28, “Upsizing Access Applications to Access Data Projects and SQL Azure,” includes step-by-step instructions for linking to SQL Azure databases with ODBC.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Finished Updating All 33 Chapters of “Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth”

Hooray! Yesterday, 10/1/2010, I sent the updated 53-page manuscript of Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth’s Chapter 3, “Navigating the Fluent User Interface,” and its 53 illustrations to Pearson Education’s Senior Acquisition Editor Loretta Yates (@loyates). (Chapters 1 through 3 were dependent on information from many of the other 32 chapters, so they were last in line for updating.)

Here’s the final Table of Contents from the Excel spreadsheet I use to track progress:

Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth


Front Matter




Getting Acquainted with Access 2010


Access 2010 for Access 2007 Users: What's New


Building Simple Tracking Applications


Navigating the Fluent User Interface


Learning the Fundamentals of Access Databases


Exploring Relational Database Theory and Practice


Working with Access Databases and Tables


Entering, Editing, and Validating Access Table Data


Sorting, Finding, and Filtering Data


Linking, Importing and Exporting Data


Transforming Data with Queries and PivotTables


Designing Queries for Access Databases


Understanding Access Query Operators and Expressions



Creating Multitable and Crosstab Queries


Working with PivotTable and PivotChart Views


Creating and Updating Access Tables with Action Queries


Designing Forms and Reports


Creating and Using Basic Access Forms


Designing Custom Multitable Forms


Working with Simple Reports and Mailing Labels


Preparing Advanced Reports


Adding Graphs, PivotCharts, and PivotTables


Programming Databases with Macros


Automating Access Applications with Macros


Emulating Table Triggers with Access Data Macros


Collaborating with Access Data


Linking Access Front Ends to Access and Client/Server Tables


Collaborating with SharePoint Foundation 2010


Sharing Web Databases with SharePoint Server 2010


Working with HTML and XML Documents


Importing and Exporting Web Pages



Integrating with XML and InfoPath 2010



Creating Access Front Ends to SQL Server Databases


Exploring Access Data Projects and SQL Server 2008


Moving from Access Queries to Transact-SQL


Upsizing Access Applications to Access Data Projects and SQL Azure


Programming and Converting Access Applications



Learning Visual Basic for Applications


Handling Events with Macros and Procedures


Programming Combo and List Boxes



Understanding Data Access Objects, OLE DB, and ADO


Upgrading Access 2003 and Earlier Applications to Access 2010


Back Matter

App A

What Was New in Access 2007 to Users of Access 2003 and Earlier

App B



In the spirit of conservation, QUE minimized the number of trees cut down to publish this detailed book. Parts VII through X/chapters 24 through 33 and the appendices (in green-colored type) aren’t printed. Instead, they’re included in the PDF file that you can download (along with the sample code) from QUE Publishing’s Web site when you register your book. Electronic-only chapters cover less-widely-used technologies and those deprecated by Microsoft, such as VBA in favor of Access macros. The PDF includes all the book’s text and illustrations.

QUE also helps conserve your cash: The US list and Amazon prices for this edition are US$39.99 and US$26.99; previous editions were US$49.99 and US$31.99.

Alternatively, you can purchase the ePub version of the book, which works with all popular eBook readers. Details will follow.