Access for Construction Scheduling RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am good at operating menu-driven software and now my employer is asking me to create a database for our historical project construction schedules. I thought Access might be usable for this purpose. I am an Access beginner. Really, I think it would be easy to learn, but I believe someone out here could save me a lot of time in developing it and they might enjoy the challenge. We use Primavera as our scheduling software. To me construction scheduling is easy. Creating a database of the info is the hard part. Can someone help me on this? Primavera is very good at exporting to Excel, which I understand is a universal language for creating table imports that Access can make use of. I think with a few questions and answers we could whip something together. If it needs fine-tuning, I think we can do that, too. Anyone want to give it a go?
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 9:21 PM

All replies

  • Not that I'm interested, but you might think of paying for "the hard part".

    peter n roth - http://PNR1.com, Maybe some useful stuff

    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 10:52 PM
  • These forums are for helping people with punctual development problems, not developing a whole database for them.

    If you want to do the work, but have questions along the way, we would be more than happy to help you out.

    If you want someone to do the work, then you'll need to hire someone.

    Daniel Pineault, 2010-2016 Microsoft MVP Professional Support: http://www.cardaconsultants.com MS Access Tips and Code Samples: http://www.devhut.net

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 1:31 AM
  • Well, Primavera is based on Oracle, so creating the database is going to be rather easy. Just printout and view the Oracle database. So in fact the database part is already crated for you.

    The hard part is not going to be looking at the primavera database, but in fact creating the software part. So building the user interface and writing the software (coding) part is where the challenge lies.

    So creating the database = easy part. In fact as noted you can use the Oracle development tools and simply look at the database that the folks from Primavera built. So this is easy part. So I wanted to correct your idea that creating the database is the hard part - it is not.

    The part that will cost you is the writing of the software. Expect that part to cost you a good million or so. So while you state that construction scheduling is easy, writing the software to achieve that result is going to be some serous big bucks. In fact if that scheduling software was easy, then you would not be here asking for someone to spend a million dollars of THEIR time and give all that money and time and resources to you!

    So creating the database is easy – it just going to be some tables of data. The hard and expensive part going to be building the constriction scheduling software – that’s big bucks.

    I doubt that someone going to close down their business, leave their family, let their children starve and then work full time for you for free to build  you a new car, a new house, or in this case some software that’s going to cost MORE than a typical car or house.

    So I think you are confused here, since building the database part is easy – and you already have a working database example since Primavera uses an oracle back end. You can just look at those database tables and create the database from those tables.

    The hard and challenging part and all of the heavy lifting will be writing the software that manipulates the database. Anyone can write English, but if you going to write a hit novel, then you want Tom Clancy. In fact Tom Clancy can walk up to any publisher and have them FORWARD a deposit for an un-written book!

    Software is much like book writing – most anyone can write English, but can they write a good book? (most cannot – software is much the same). So keep in mind you are free to ask if Tom Clancy will help you write the next great spy thriller novel, it is unlikely to occur (unless you fork out a few millions).

    And you find much the same in regards to software – it is unlikely someone going to write you a great software application anymore then someone will come and build you a house for your family to live in.

    This forum is run by volunteers who give their time back to the industry and community that been so rewarding to work in. We love our industry, and thus people here give back the community a "little" bit and share our experiences with others. A “few” paid people from Microsoft do post here, but they are few and far between, and their presence is great since it simply means Microsoft supports and endorses this volunteer community.

    So you have to think of this forum much like your local food bank or soup kitchen. You can drop by ask for a bit of help and enjoy a warm bowl of soup. However, it is unlikely that at any soup kitchen such people will accept YOUR offer of those people to drop by and build you a house, or in this case some software that could easy cost MORE than your typical house.

    However, you can read up on how to use a hammer and nail, and then with that skill go off and build a house. And there are tons of books and places like this forum in which you can ask how to use a saw, a hammer, or in this case MS-access.

    So MS-access is a software developer tool. Think of MS-access as the nail and hammer. You can use that tool to build a chess game, an accounting package, or some scheduling software. So while building a dog house is easy, building a 10 story condo is not. So you can build near anything with a hammer + saw, but more complexity = more cost.

    So building a house or building some software is not hard, but only you can decide how much time you want to learn how to use a hammer and nail, or in this case a basic tool like MS-access which can be used to create just about any kind of software application – in fact you only really much limited by your imagination as to what you can create with a tool like MS-access.

    The only real limitation in regards to using a software creating tool like MS-access is going to be your mind. Since the human mind is NOT limited like a hammer and nail, then you don’t have any physical limitations in what you can imagine. Because software is NOT physical, then the REAL limitation that exists in regards to software is in fact the time and resources you can bring to bear on the desired application you wish to build.

    Software like writing a book is most interesting because it is not a physical product, but that does not mean the resources required to build software are not every bit as precious as those required to have people come over and build you a house.

    You certainly find people here able to answer a question or give answers to a question which quite much amounts to you receiving a free bowel of soup from the people here, but this type of forum cannot help you much beyond giving you that free bowel of soup, or answering questions to some software you wish to build using MS-access.

    However, a few years of "soup" from this forum and you breaking down your questions into "tiny" bowels of soup?

    A old proverb says:

    You can fill a whole lake with one pebble at a time! So you can build something great one bowel of soup or one pebble at a time!

    Good luck!


    Albert D. Kallal (Access MVP)

    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 3:53 AM
  • Albert - 

    Mostly, right on, as usual.

    Tom Clancy, well, he won’t be walking up to any publishers in the near future. He died October 1, 2013.

    peter n roth - http://PNR1.com, Maybe some useful stuff

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 4:28 AM
  • Thanks for that heads up Peter!

    Gee, I did not know that Tom Clancy had passed. A number of my friends were big fans, and they OFTEN lent me a copy to read (and often hard cover editions). I dare say it been about 10 years since I had the pleasure to read one of Clancy's books. I shall now have to read some more of his books, and certainly keep in mind that there is a limited supply of such books!

    And not sure how my post became so long, but I wanted to cook up a response that was "kind" and not one that says "buzz off!" we can't help you!. So this community can and will offer to help anyone - the trick is to keep the request down to that bite sized bowel of help - that's the only practical kind of help people can offer here, else it becomes too large of a burden.

    Anyway, again, thanks for the heads up - I will no doubt appreciate reading the next Clancy book more now that his great talent is no longer with us!


    Albert D. Kallal (Access MVP)
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 4:55 AM
  • I'm replying. First I have to say, all the responses were great in their own way.

    I am continuing my goal of creating a construction schedule database. I have rudimentary skills already and I am making the effort to improve my toolbelt of skills. I am looking at online videos, but I'm finding they are basic and they leave things outs for the purpose of making them shorter while the longer version is available and it doesn't cost millions, I will probably end up watching those. One thing is, I don't have time to sit in a class that meets once or twice a week. I need to get full into this.

    Okay, I wasn't sure what this forum was all about. I figured I would just cut to the chase and go for the jugular. Really, I want to understand everything I make this thing do and the best way to do it is to do it myself. Thanks for all the encouraging words, everyone who responded, because they ALL provided me with encouragement in one way or another.

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 5:42 PM
  • Access is huge and takes years to master (and I use that word very loosely!!!!)

    I'd urge you take a look at:

    UtterAccess's Newcomer's Reading List

    which covers all the basics any new developer should understand.


    I understand your sentiment of not having time to sit in class, but developing a database takes months, even years in some cases.  Take the time to learn the basics before plunging head first.

    The most important element of a database is the table structure and data normalization, so you must properly breakdown your data into related tables.  If you get this step wrong, everything else down the road because that much harder than it need be, or not work at all.

    Good luck.

    Daniel Pineault, 2010-2016 Microsoft MVP
    Professional Support: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
    MS Access Tips and Code Samples: http://www.devhut.net

    Thursday, December 8, 2016 5:48 PM