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Constructing a Database In Microsoft Access.

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Introduction

Constructing a Database In Microsoft Access

 SUMMARY

This report is to document the stages of development that were undertaken in the creation of a swimming club database.  The areas that will help illustrate these aspects are:

  • The system outline and requirements – a brief overview of the swimming club, what they wanted from the system and an outline of the proposed information systems inputs, outputs, processing and stored information.
  •  Physical design – A description of the target environment for the system.  Also an overview of the database design with illustrations, and a description of the approach made for designing the components of the system.
  • Software construction – Reporting the work that was undertaken to enable the construction of the swimming club database.  The procedures for constructing the tables, forms and queries, and the approach to testing the database.  Advanced issues such as security are explained and the user guide is discussed.
  • Project outcome – A retrospective review of the outcome of the project process.  Did the final product meet initial expectations? Reasons for change in direction, and things that would have been done differently in the light of experience.

System Outline & Requirements

The area of application was a swimming club; the club wanted a database solution that would perform its administrative functions.  The main issue was that it was to be a reliable system that would hold all the data about the club and its members.  The specific types of data were decided upon when discussed with the client.  The information was to be:

  • Membership maintenance – this would be the function to enter and edit member’s details such as name, ID number, date of birth, address etc.  Both employees of the club and its members would be able to access this area, with restrictions on editing certain parts. Print outs of requested areas of members details would be available and also searches on specific fields such will be allowed.  For example someone working at the club may want to find a member’s address so they could type in their name and the system would output all members with that last name and their details.
  • Awards - This would record different awards that had been achieved by certain members.  Whether it is someone achieving their 100 metres badge or a member winning a club ran competition, the information could be stored and viewed in the database.  Also it was agreed that certificates could be printed out through this function by selecting the relevant information and outputting it in a predefined format.
  • Personal best times – This function would be used to record members personal best times in a selected stroke and a selected distance.  It would allow the member to access their own personal best time file and enter the new time they had set. A list of the whole clubs PB’s could be viewed, with them in time and stroke order.
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Middle

Software Construction

The physical process that was undertaken to complete the construction of this project in Microsoft Access was the most time consuming and technical phase to be tackled.  The stage would throw up numerous problems and subsequently prompt numerous solutions.  The first major stumbling block for me was my inexperience with Access; I had to learn the software as I compiled the project as it was totally new to me.  I completed a few different basic tutorials that helped get me started. This gave me the confidence to initially try and compile the tables and the types of information that were to be stored in them.

Tables

Using the wizards did not seem the most efficient way for compiling my tables, though the wizard would become my friend at a later stage in the construction. Using the design view seemed more suitable (fig 1); I entered the field names and defined the data types for each of my four tables.  The data types were simply put to settings like numbers or text values, the more in depth property restrictions were set in the field properties area using input masks etc (fig 2).

Fig 1.image00.jpg

Fig 2.image01.jpg

The Primary and composite keys were also set at this stage within each table.

Relationships

The next stage was to distinguish the relationships between each of the tables.  By adjusting Access into the relationship window view, all that had to be done here was a simple drag and drop between the Primary keys.  The relationship diagram is displayed below:

image02.png

Forms, Queries and Reports

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Conclusion

This completed my database and added a lot more of a user friendly set-up, one last touch was to add the main interface form as the default opening form on start-up through the tools menu.

image07.png

Project Outcome

On completion of this database I have to admit I am quite happy with the end product as this was the first time of ever using Microsoft Access and the whole process was a learning curve.  

On whether it satisfied the original objectives I believe it did on the whole bar a few minor details.  The security issue was a little too advanced for me I think, as it was causing a lot of problems for the database running on a whole.  Also the issue of deleting member’s details from the system caused problems in the sense that my delete function got rid of their personal details but did not clear the awards and PB sections.  This is why I put the instruction on the user guide to inform admin when deletions were necessary.  They could then go into the tables manually and delete the records.

As for the issue of what would I do differently had I do it again, I don’t really think I would do much differently as the final database was the third attempt at this product so the two unsuccessful attempts would the things I would change.  I would have liked to get the security issue sorted but it was hindering my progress and I nearly lost what work I had done while trying to implement it.

All in all I am satisfied with the end product.

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