Access Switchboards

An easy to use interface is critical to the overall usefulness of an application. It must be efficient, logical and easy to learn. And again, this is where the database experience and knowledge of HFS makes the difference.

A block diagram of an Access application front-end referred to as a Switchboard is shown in the following block diagram.

A well-designed Switchboard offers the user a clean, comprehensive method of choosing functions, selecting database-querying parameters and printing reports. An example application is shown below:

The user deals in familiar business terms to obtain the required information from the back-end database. With these instructions, the switchboard then extracts (via SQL queries invisible to the user) the information and creates on-screen or printed reports.

The Choose Function control lets you select an operation for the application to perform. Some examples of this might include the ability to print reports, open a data entry form, perform various utilities, start a querying function, etc. Depending on the choice, the look of the Switchboard is dynamically configured to show more or fewer controls only as needed by the user.

For example, if Print Reports is selected, a list box appears showing all available reports. If selection criteria are required for the reports, facilities for making this choice will also be shown. Often, a date range is the criteria for selecting records. These dates can be selected either by choosing a date-range description (This Week, This Month, This Quarter, This Year, or other descriptions), opening a pop-up calendar, or simply typing the dates. Additionally, buttons will be available to choose the sorting criteria for the various reports. A batch mode function can also produce all the required reports at the touch of a button. This type of dynamic, modular technology can easily be adapted to your next Access application.

Access Switchboards - Course Enrollment