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Newbie Question- Oracle vs Access? [message #296324] Fri, 25 January 2008 16:02 Go to next message
Messages: 2
Registered: January 2008
Junior Member
Hi all, sorry if this is in the wrong place!!

I'm at uni doing computing... For my alevels, I used Access (in an advanced way with SQL and VB) to make databases. I've signed up for a course that is Relational Database Design, and I've found out we're using Oracle (which funnily enough is just down the road from me!) but I don't know a thing about it!

I'm downloading it (I think) from their website as I type, but I was wanting to know if someone could just give me a quick run through of how the two are different so I don't end up confused in my first lesson!!

Like is Oracle basically similar to Access but more advanced? Does it have Tables/ Queries/ Forms etc? Is it similar to use, so if I'm good with Access, should I get the hang of it quickly?

Any help would be great, thanks!
Re: Newbie Question- Oracle vs Access? [message #296325 is a reply to message #296324] Fri, 25 January 2008 16:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 24975
Registered: January 2009
Location: SoCal
Senior Member
Access is to Oracle
a child's tricycle is to a semi-tractor/trailer (a.k.a. 18 wheeler)
Re: Newbie Question- Oracle vs Access? [message #296326 is a reply to message #296324] Fri, 25 January 2008 16:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 2
Registered: January 2008
Junior Member
What does that mean? Embarassed
Re: Newbie Question- Oracle vs Access? [message #296335 is a reply to message #296324] Fri, 25 January 2008 20:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 3724
Registered: October 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Senior Member
monkeyfunkster wrote on Sat, 26 January 2008 09:02
I used Access (in an advanced way...


Sorry, it's not your fault. You're just learning and we're bitter old know-it-alls having a laugh at your expense.

The thing is that MS-Access has no industry credibility whatsoever. It's fine for playing with at home. It's even OK for short-term manipulating data on your desktop that Excel cannot handle. But it is simply not robust nor scalable enough to be used in industry.

To make it worse, a lot of untrained non-IT people build their own Access applications to produce some stats for their department. Their boss loves it, asks for more, and all of a sudden the Access app has spiralled out of control and is full of spaghetti code. The author moves on to another job, and the boss hands the Access DB across to some poor suffering colleague. Of course they cannot do anything with it, so the boss gives it to the IT department - they wont touch it - they say it must be redevelopped in a real language. Then the IT boss asks around "Who knows Access". Someone remembers you do, dobs you in, and now you are stuck with the job of decyphering rubbish code and you want to slit your wrists.

Sound far-fetched? I bet you can't find any moderator on this site who has not seen it happen at least once. Personally, I have seen it several times.

So, the lesson is, you are better off NOT knowing Access. Now that you do, you must never admit it to anyone else.

@anacedent is making an analogy. Access is like a tricycle, simple, slow, unsuited for any advance uses. Oracle is like a semi-trailer (I might have chosen the space shuttle instead), huge, complicated, only suitable for skilled and trained operators.

The commonality is that both have tables and indexes, and both use SQL. The SQL differs markedly, but has the same basic structure. You will be able to read Oracle SQL easily, but writing your own will be unfamiliar at first.

The concept of tables and indexes is the same in Oracle, but they are much, much different under the covers. That need not concern you.

To cap off, you have probably done well to learn the basic concepts of a relational database. That will give you all the preparation you really need. Oracle is a compilcated beast. By all means continue your download and install, but be prepared for hours of frustration and tears. After all, would you expect to be able to operate the space shuttle without adequate training.

I suggest you relax and take a break before your course starts, because you won't get one afterwards.

Ross Leishman
Re: Newbie Question- Oracle vs Access? [message #296371 is a reply to message #296335] Sat, 26 January 2008 05:47 Go to previous message
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Registered: June 2005
Location: Croatia, Europe
Senior Member
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When you, finally, install your first Oracle database (which one is it? 10g? Express Edition?), I guess you'll be able to use it by connecting to SQL*Plus (a tool you use to enter SQL commands). You'll create a table, insert something, select, etc.

Then you'll want to do a step further and ask yourself: Allright! Now I have a table to store my favourite CD's into it! But, I don't want to do it by typing INSERT INTO - I want to create a form. Where's that wizard when you need it?

Well, you'll have to download (again) another product: Oracle Developer Suite. Install it. Run Forms Builder. Try to connect to a database. And you'll probably fail (see you in the Forms forum!).

Or, will you use Application Express? It comes with 10g XE and you might even like it! Using only a web browser and (limited) programming skills, you'll be able to create your first Oracle application!

I guess that you might consider using Oracle 10g Express Edition as your first choice. Also, I hope you won't give up just by reading several posts here. Oracle is a beast, but it feels so good when you put it under your control!
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