Product Reviews

Total Access Detective 2002

Here's another one for the Microsoft Access developers in the audience. TA Detective is designed to help you compare two versions of a Microsoft Access database. You can run it as a standalone utility or as an Access add-in, and choose which objects in the database to compare.

Comparisons can encompass object properties (and this version knows about all of the new properties added by Access 2002), data, or text (either module text or just arbitrary pieces of text pasted into the interface). You'll get back a clear report of differences that can be sorted, filtered, or printed.

There are lots of uses for this sort of application-level diff utility. One good one is finding out what's actually gone on when a customer insists "but we didn't change anything, it just stopped working!" Another is to document your own activities if you had one of those programming sessions where you kept intending to stop and take notes but never quite got around to it. You can also see which objects are new by comparing two databases and looking at the "missing objects" report.

Definitely a useful tool to anyone maintaining a stable of Access applications.

[This review originally appeared in

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


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