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Looking for Opinions: If you develop for an Office 2003 user, do you use Office 2003 or Office 2007,2010

Hi EE,

At work the standard is still  Windows XP/Office 2003

Work would like to purchase a laptop so that i can possibly telecommute part of the week.

What would you recommend and why, pls:
    a) windows xp/office 2003  laptop
    b) dual o/s laptop  for example:
                  http://www.notebookshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=444
    c) windows 7/office 2010
    d)  if went with office 2010:
          1)    can the access mdb be converted down to office 2003 easily and used on an office 2003 machine w/o
               further modifications?

          2)    what are new office 2010  features that office 2003 does not have?
                  for example:  am aware that Excel 2007 has some dashboard capability
                                        am aware that Access 2007 can run on someone's computer who does NOT have Office
                                        at all, if you save the mdb in a certain way - is that correct?

tx for your ideas and assistance and any web links, sandra
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mytfein
Asked:
mytfein
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4 Solutions
 
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)PresidentCommented:
<<a) windows xp/office 2003  laptop>>

  Well you can't purchase Win XP on a machine anymore.  It has to be Win 7.  Win 7 does have an XP emulation mode, which you could use to develop and test in if you wanted to.

<<    b) dual o/s laptop  for example:
                  http://www.notebookshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=444>>

  I would not bother for the reason above.

<< c) windows 7/office 2010>>

   While A2010 will support the A2003 format, there have been issues.  If at all possible, I always try to use the version of Access that the DB is based on.

<<          1)    can the access mdb be converted down to office 2003 easily and used on an office 2003 machine w/o
               further modifications?>>

  If you don't use Access 2010 specific features, yes, but I would not even take a chance on doing that.  Either leave it in A2003 format or develop two seperate FE's, ione in A2010 format and one in A2003.

<<          2)    what are new office 2010  features that office 2003 does not have?
                  for example:  am aware that Excel 2007 has some dashboard capability
                                        am aware that Access 2007 can run on someone's computer who does NOT have Office
                                        at all, if you save the mdb in a certain way - is that correct?>>

  Well the Ribbon is one thing you'll notice right off.  The database contrainer has disappeared and is now a strip off to the left.

  Multi-value fields, attachment data types, triggers (if done via macro), are the biggest.  There are quite a few.  However you can only take advantage of those if the DB is converted to 2007/2010 format (ACE).  

<<                                        am aware that Access 2007 can run on someone's computer who does NOT have Office
                                        at all, if you save the mdb in a certain way - is that correct?
>>

  You can do that with any version of Access, but for A2007 and up, the distribution of the runtime is now free.

JimD.
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPCommented:
I have been developing with Access since 1994. I have used every version. I still have clients that use 97 and 2000.  

I have found it best to only develop with the same version the client is using so that I can create an MDE/ACCDE as the front end..

IMHO, If you are developing for the target standard of Windows XP/Office 2003 then you should only  develop in the environment. That means you need Office 2003 and a XP development  or at least as a test machine.  As previous stated Windows 7 Pro or high has XP mode.

While it is possible to open a MDB with Access 2007 and 2010, you have to be very careful.

I would recommend that you get an MSDN subscription that includes  the previous versions of Office and Windows that you need.


If I were buying a laptop, I would get Windows 7 Pro  64-bit with as lest 8 GIG RAM. This way you can have several VMs for testing

Boyd aka HiTechCoach
Microsoft MVP - Access Expert
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft MVP, Access and Data Platform)Commented:
I highly *NOT* doing business with the NotebookShop.  Off to a meeting, but will explain a bit later.

mx
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mytfeinAuthor Commented:
Hi Boyd,

tx for writing,

a) tx for teaching me about msdn subscription?
     http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/buy.aspx

     is it the operating systems one?  how is this better than having cds with the os?

b) you need windows 7 for VM capability?
   
c) when you boot on a windows7 pc with VM capabilty, you can switch bet VM in xp mode
     then switch easily to w7 mode?

     the pc guy told me to switch os, wpuld have to re-install with cds....

d)  i agree that it's easier to develop to same platform as user
      somwhere, i learned about a viewer that let's non office users view access mdb
          are you familiar with this concept?

tx, s
             
 
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Jeffrey CoachmanCommented:
My guess is that Jim covered most of this above...

But one school of thought is that you should always develop your app in the Target users environment.

This way you minimize any OS, Office, service Pack, ...etc incompatibilities.

As a "Developer" I try to make it part of my business to have the ability to develop in a few different environments:
Win 2k, Off2k, Off97
Win 98, Off 97, Off2k
Win xp, Off2k, Off xp, off2003, off2007
...etc

I keep all of these configuration in a disk "Image" (Now moving to MS VM or VMware)

Again, I think Jim covered everything else...

Just be aware that converting to and from Office versions can cause issues.
For example, many people have had issues going from Office 2003 directly to off2010
(Often requiring the interim step f converting to off2007.)
And I would not even attempt (if I could help it)  to convert a Acc2010 db back down to 2003

There are also a fair amount of posts here where a .accdb format DB created in Acc2010 will not open in Acc2007.

There are also issue with VBA libraries, file associations, ...etc

In other words, just be careful and *always* make a backup first...

;-)

JeffCoachman
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mytfeinAuthor Commented:
hi,

just noticed Jim, Jeff's, and Joe's responses...

tx all for your wonderful answers....

i just bumped into our office manager, and she said that i'll get my boss's old laptop which is
windows xp/office xp, for now....

the info you all provided is very useful, bec we have a w7 with word 2007 and excel 2007
and was wondering what i could do if i was to upgrade to office 2010....

am curious about VMs, will leave that for another post....

tx again, s
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft MVP, Access and Data Platform)Commented:
My T Fine ... good to see you.
IF .... you do need to get a notebook and since you are in So Cal, I would suggest Micro Center in Tustin

( http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/tustin.html )

Wherein the 'deal's are good at Notebook Shop, many of the units they are not current manufacturer's models and/or special deals (aka close outs) the cut with the mfg.  But ... worse is the Customer Service - once you have a problem.  That's when the real trouble starts.  I can personally attest to this - w/o out going into detail.

Micro Center is a much better choice, and they have a HUGE selection - much bigger than Notebook Shop.

Good luck ...

mx
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mytfeinAuthor Commented:
Hi Mx!

Good 2 c u 2!

tx very much....for writing after your meeting...
      will keep it in mind...

tx, s
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft MVP, Access and Data Platform)Commented:
"Well you can't purchase Win XP on a machine anymore. "
Actually, you can ... ironically enough at the Notebook Shop here in So Cal.

mx
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)PresidentCommented:
<<Actually, you can ... ironically enough at the Notebook Shop here in So Cal.>>

  Must be copies they have sitting on the shelf then or their doing it through downgrade rights somehow.  As far as Microsoft is concerned:

"After October 22, 2010, you'll no longer be able to buy new PCs with Windows XP installed."

  which is a direct quote from the XP home page:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-xp/default.aspx

  If they are installing OEM copies still, then they are doing so illegally.

JimD.

 
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft MVP, Access and Data Platform)Commented:
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft MVP, Access and Data Platform)Commented:
"  If they are installing OEM copies still, then they are doing so illegally."

Possibly ... but, they run continuous ads and a major LA Radio station ... for a long time.  So, they are certainly not trying to hide the fact.

mx
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