27 Jul 2005 @ 7:37 PM 

In case you are unaware, I’m a “Data Management Specialist” for a defense contractor; this means something rather vague, but includes a lot of database administration. Unfortunately, the particular DoD agency which employs my company at this location doesn’t think we need an actual enterprise-quality database management system. I use Microsoft Access.

I know, it’s shameful. Alas, it is my lot in life and I must do what I can with it. The near-complete lack of concurrent transactioning in Access was not much of an issue back when the office had a half-dozen people entering data throughout the day. We’ve got a few dozen now, and boy does it suck. Somehow, the upgrade to Win2k and Office2k a few months ago (right on the cutting edge, eh?) seems to have only exacerbated the errors. In Access 97, I could edit the forms or even the design of a table while people were using other forms or other tables; in Access 2000, I have to have completely exclusive control of the database to make even the slightest structural change.

Structural changes should be rare, you would think. Not with some of my cow-orkers attempting new and astounding feats of “what does this button do” every few days. To make things more interesting, the network we are on has random hiccups of a distressing length and severity. And, just for kicks, the system design folks (who don’t work on this base or even in this state) forbid any exposure of the network group lists so I can’t automate any sort of real security on the database itself. That means, anything I can do as the programmer/administrator, any other user can do too. You can imagine how much joy this brings me.

So far, I’ve had to redesign a couple forms to stop someone from changing his own name and therefore reassigning all his work to a non-existent person; I’ve had to redesign forms to stop someone from filling out a date inappropriately, thereby moving documents into the wrong stage of the review process; I’ve had to redesign forms to stop someone from erasing someone’s name from the database.

Did I do these things preemptively? No, I didn’t think anyone would ever try some of those things, so it never occured to me to stop them from being possible.

Can I get MySQL and PHP, please?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Jul 2005 @ 07:37 PM

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