Building Scalable Databases: Perspectives on the War on Soft Deletes

This blog posting titled Building Scalable Databases: Perspectives on the War on Soft Deletes is interesting reading describing what to do with deleted data.  The author comes to the correct conclusion, because he agrees with my viewpoint <smile>, that you model the business situation and mark records as inactive, canceled, etc.   You seldom need or want to truly delete data.

I used to have an inactive flag on the equipment in the Granite Fleet Manager.  That worked for quite a while until I had someone tell me that they have reserve equipment that is only used when the California wild fires are rampant.  These fire engines are paid for by the state of California and stashed at various fire halls in strategic locations.  They are all identical.  Thus fire crews from outside the affected crews have already trained on that equipment and know how to use it.   So now I have a status combo box which includes Reserve and Out of Service.  The Out of Service is meant for the situation where a given unit will be unavailable for a period of time longer than a few days.  For example maybe the boiler needs an inspection or the mechanic is waiting for parts to come from overseas.

P.S.  I almost always add a general purpose comment memo field to strategic tables such as the equipment and the service order field.  And you can search in those fields.   Because no matter how many explicit fields you create the users can always think up a few more but don’t have any place to put the random data.

Version 1.82 of the Auto FE Updater available for download

I made some foolish, although thankfully minor, mistakes in the last version.   Mostly because of not testing things sufficiently. I was in a hurry to get the Check for Updates enhancements available although that’s not a good excuse.

See the Download page for details and to download the latest update.  Or if you’re running version 1.80 or newer then run the Check for Updates menu item.

Two new versions of the Auto FE Updater are available.

To download the latest version visit Auto FE Updater downloads

However in this release I added the ability to check for updates.  Please download Version 1.80, test it, copy it to your server and then see if the logic to check for updates works.  Then click on the Check for Updates menu item and ensure the program downloads version 1.81 and that it works. Please email if this does or doesn’t work. Or post a note on this blog entry.  Note that I will not give out your email address to anyone else.


- Stop the user from seeing the Access 2007 Security Warning – Certain content in this database has been disabled. 
Access 2007 security warning

Set Access 2007 Trusted Location=yes can now be specified in the INI file.

All Access 2007 trusted locations are stored in the registry under
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Access\Security\Trusted Locations\
The Auto FE Updater utility creates registry keys based on the name of the INI file and creates the recommended sub keys with the update date and description of the key for full traceability in the future.  

Note that it is a common assumption that you must use Location0, Location1, etc as a sub key which is what Access 2007 creates.  This is an assumption.  Which I made as well so you’re not the only one.

- My Documents can now be specified in the MainApps entry

- Check for updates to the Auto FE Updater program.

- Added a button to place the CMD launcher line into the clipboard.  When I recently did some testing of the Place shortcut target line into clipboard the text didn’t insert well into Outlook.  Actually Outlook deleted some double quotes for reasons known only to the Outlook product group.  So using the CMD launcher line works much better.

- Minor bug fixes and better error messages

Consider joining the Auto FE Updater group on LinkedIn to discuss the product, give me feedback or let me know what features you would like to see.. Or email me directly or post a comment to this blog entry.

VB6: Class not registered … MSSTDFMT.DLL

I was getting the following message when I copied the VB6 exe of the Auto FE Updater to a clean system to test the logic to check for and download updates to the Auto FE updater on my website.

Class not registered.
You need the following file to be installed on your machine. MSSTDFMT.DLL.

There is no mention of that DLL anywhere in the VB6 source code.   No reference.  I’ve done a Windows word search on that folder and can’t find any mention on that DLL.

Some more searching in various online forums stated it is used to verify that a number format is applied to a control.   Which is the first time I’ve ever done that and it happened to be on that particular form.  Now it turns out you can’t clear the Format property of a VB6 = control so you have to delete and recreate it.  And all is well.

Cost me about ten hours of trying to understand this problem.   Frig.

It didn’t help that Google Groups searching of NNTP newsgroups is getting way, way worse than usual.

This posting has been blogged in the hopes that Google will treat this post with a little more respect than hundreds of online forums postings stating “You just need to install that DLL on the users PC.”  No, that is not a good enough answer for me as the Auto FE Updater is a drag and drop deploy to the server.

Access 2010 and Sharepoint discussion part 2

In this blog entry Access 2010 and Sharepoint discussion I mentioned an interesting discussion   A second thread titled Access 2010 with Sharepoint 2010 was also started with a lot of additional interesting discussion.   Keep checking back on these threads.  David Fenton, as expected, is asking some tough questions as are others.  I expect this discussion to go on for a while. 

Note that you might want to click on the Options button on the right hand side of the grey bar and choose to view the thread as a tree.