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Access 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Using VB to Run a Better Business

Over the last 17 chapters, you’ve come to know and love the Boutique Fudge database, which demonstrates a practical sales database that tracks customers, products, and orders. However, although the Boutique Fudge database stores all the information you need, it still doesn’t integrate seamlessly into company life. And before you can fix it, you need to understand why it comes up short.

Most people who work in a business like Boutique Fudge aren’t thinking about tables and data operations (like inserting, updating, and deleting records). Instead, they’re thinking about tasks, like placing an order, shipping an order, and handling a customer complaint.

Many tasks match quite closely with a data operation, in which case you really don’t have a problem. The “register a new customer” task is clearly just a matter of opening the Customers table, and then inserting a new record. You can take care of it with a simple form. However, the “place an order” task is a little trickier. This task involves inserting records in more than one table (the Orders and OrderDetails tables), and using data from related tables (the Products and Customers tables) to complete the order. You can create an ordinary form to do the job, but the form doesn’t quite work the way salespeople want (see Figure 18-10).

This form lets you insert records into the Orders and OrderDetails tables. However, it lacks a few frills people expect in an order form—like a way to automatically fill in the price of each product you’re ordering, the ability to calculate totals as you go, and an option to add a new product on the fly.

Figure 18-10. This form lets you insert records into the Orders and OrderDetails ...

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