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Late and Early

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Peter Vogel          
Access programmers seem to have time on their minds lately. A lot of the Smart Tips that we've received recently have focused on handling dates, for instance. I have to believe that this is due to the fuss and furor around the Millennium Bug/Year 2000 crisis. About to turn 44 and having acquired my first set of bifocals, I've got time on my mind, too.
As someone who's written his fair share of date routines with two-digit years, I have to take responsibility for contributing to the problem. I have the same excuse that everyone else has: Who would have thought that this code would still be around in the year 2000? It turns out that in this business of constant change, the life span of computer systems is considerably longer than any of us ever expected.
This issue of Smart Access, on the other hand, contributes to the solution. Our lead article by Stu Alderman discusses some of the issues around dealing with the century in Access applications (see "Taming the Century Beast"). Brian Bailly provides a utility for checking your Access database for some of the problems that can crop up (see "Preparing Access 2.0 for Y2K"). In the Access World News section, you'll find notices about Access 2's Y2K problems and the announcement about a new tool from FMS for checking your applications.
This issue isn't all looking back, however. Michael Corning returns with the second part of an article on ADO issues (see "A Day in the Life -- Part 2"). I can't emphasize enough how important I think ADO is going to be. Microsoft has made it very clear that ADO and OLE DB are the future of data access for Microsoft tools. As if to emphasize how important this technology is to Access programmers, one of the first OLE DB providers available is for Access 97. It's part of the OLE DB SDK and is available at You can also download the patch that adds ADO and OLE DB to Windows 95. For you hard-core DAO programmers, be advised that ADO already outperforms DAO for many activities, and it's just in version 1.5.
Also in this issue, a new face shows up in our Access Answers column. Angela J. R. Jones contributes some responses to questions about forms. Plus a regular contributor, Helen Feddema, starts a series on Add-ins (see "Adding Functionality, Part 1: Menu Add-Ins"). I had the good fortune to work with Helen on an MCSD study guide, and she's updated some of her work from that book to become the basis of this series.
So this issue will not only support you as you deal with your Y2K problems, it will also help you build applications that will last even longer than the systems that you're currently fixing. Which leads to the programmers' toast: May your career last as long as the systems you build.