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Which Access versions do developers use?


As an Access developer, you may wonder whether you are mainstream or exotic with the versions you use. At my German Access developer conference AEK, I have been asking the participants for many years which versions they are currently working with. These numbers are useful for assessing the situation and help me to plan the right topics.


Shockingly, not all participants fill out my extensive questionnaires. I do however get answers from 100 to 150 mostly professional developers, depending on the year and how the event is held. Here are the results after AEK24 in October 2022.


The comparison over the last 5 years shows, unsurprisingly, that the older versions tend to decrease and the newer ones tend to increase. On closer inspection, however, one sees e.g., that Access 2010 is holding up as well as Access 2016. It is still used by 40% of developers. (Most developers work with several versions, which is reflected in the chart.) Or that Access 2021 didn't even get off to half as good a start in its first year as Access 2019. The slight dip this year in Access 365 could be a statistical outlier.


Here are the same figures again in a year-on-year comparison.

You can see that the blue bar of Access 365 only took over in 2021. So for the fact that Microsoft has only been promoting this subscription version for many years, it has taken quite a long time. In 2018 and 2019, Access 2010 was still clearly in the lead, in 2020 Access 2016 had taken over, then Access 365.


Another question I ask: What share does Access have in your current database projects, as backend (=data in accdb/mdb) and as frontend?

It's no big surprise that at an Access developer conference, Access as a frontend tool has always been between 80 and 90% over the last 10 years.


The backend value has been between 40 and 50% for many years. This means that even professional Access developers not only use SQL Server for data storage, but ACCDBs or MDBs in almost half of their projects.


This year, for the first time, the value for the backend has fallen significantly below 40%. The question is: Statistical outlier or longer-term effect of the many Access update bugs that make data storage in Access backends increasingly difficult?


Traditionally, no usage statistics are available for Access. Only dubious popularity comparisons of database systems based on Google searches or mentions in forums etc. pop up every now and then. My statistics are based on relatively low user numbers, but the way they are determined over the long term makes them solid. For us Access developers in Central Europe, the results should be quite representative, and I'll just pretend for other parts of the world as well, because no one else has figures to offer anyway. ;-)

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Gontran Harvey
Gontran Harvey
Feb 21, 2023

In my case, each time I have a new client having a version lower than 2016, I'm telling them it's time to upgrade before I do anything. No one ever told me no. I only have Access 365 install on my computer. We cannot try to convince IT department that Access is well and alive, and in the same time telling them to install a none-supported version of the software!!! Me, I live and die with 365 and bugs. To be honest I rarely get bugs that affect my systems. I think it's because i'm using SQL BE for 90% of my development. If it's an Access backend, I'm trying to have a terminal server installation to be shure the front…

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Karl Donaubauer
Karl Donaubauer
Feb 24, 2023
Replying to

Hi Gontran,


I, on the other hand, know a lot of people who have had major problems since they started using Access 365 or one of the other current C2R versions. And sometimes they just find versions at customers and can't change them, no matter what the versions are, because the customer is big and won't change versions because of a piddly Access developer. So it's not as easy for everybody as you make it work for you.


In a recent presentation on the "Current State of Access" I briefly talked about the matter of versions concerning update bugs, at this point in the recording: https://youtu.be/1X5I4HelA5U?t=1619


Servus

Karl

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Maxim Ivashkov
Maxim Ivashkov
Dec 31, 2022

Among others , we use Azure Sql. Works great at the basic trier pricing. Uses can work all over the world with one central database.

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Erwin Leyes
Erwin Leyes
Dec 25, 2022

Access 2010 is my primary FE development it's fast and stable. I'm using ODBC 18 64bit for SQLExpress 2008 R2 and 2012.

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Mike Wolfe
Mike Wolfe
Dec 24, 2022

Very interesting. I'm most surprised to see Access 2010 holding steady in 2022 even though it's no longer officially supported by Microsoft.

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Karl Donaubauer
Karl Donaubauer
Dec 24, 2022
Replying to

I think that's quite often not "even though" but "because" as it is one of the strategies to reduce the amount of update bugs.

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Colin Riddington
Colin Riddington
Dec 23, 2022

It doesn't surprise me that A2010 continues to be popular. Its stable and has several features deprecated in later versions. I have a dual install setup with A2010 & 365 and until very recently I used 2010 as my development platform. I recently swopped over because 365 does have a number of new features that do find useful (despite the monthly bugs).


Two related questions if you have the data

  1. How has the split between 32-bit and 64-bit changed in the past few years?

  2. What are the % for the various other platforms being used for BEs?

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Karl Donaubauer
Karl Donaubauer
Dec 23, 2022
Replying to

Hi Colin,

I have never queried the bitness. That's a good idea for the next AEK or DevCon to see how far 64 bit has taken hold.


I did query the backend systems in 2020. AEK was cancelled because of Corona, but I organized a free online update meeting with Access PM Ebo Quansah and me as presenters. Of the 250 attendees, 139 responded as to which backends they were using. Here is a picture of the resulting chart:



This means that 86% used Access backends to some extend, 75% SQL Server, 19% mySQL, 18% Others. Among the "Others", 8 systems were mentioned, with only PostgreSQL (9) and Oracle (7) having more than 2 mentions.

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