Saturday, February 03, 2007

Running in Runtime vs. Full Access 2003

Access 2003 Runtime is, in essence, Microsoft Access 2003, but with a few key features disabled. A user with Access 2003 Runtime installed instead of full Access can open and run an Access application (either an MDB file or, with a few extra steps, a SQL Server back-end database) but does not see the Database Window and cannot switch the view of any Access object to Design view.
The following features are not included as part of Access 2003 Runtime without additional customization:
The Database window
Title bar text/icon (can be specified by the MDB instead of by Access)
Some menu items, such as Open and Save in the File menu, and the entire View, Format, and Tools menus
Shortcut menus
Built-in toolbars
Access Help
Designers (including Filter by Form)
VBA editor
The Figure above shows two instances of the same minimal MDB application. The instance on the left is running using Access Runtime, and the instance on the right is running in full Access. Not only is the difference stark, but the Access Runtime instance does provide a direct UI for opening objects as the intent is for developers to create the UI for this purpose.
Figure 1. An Access Runtime instance of a sample application compared to a full Access instance of the same application
The developer of an application destined for an Access Runtime environment must create the application in such a way that the "missing" features of Access in the Access Runtime version are not obvious to the user.

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Jamie Johnson
JJSurf IT Training Ltd