Python vs. Access VBA

Johannes Findeisen mailman at
Sun Jul 17 01:30:46 CEST 2005

On Fri, 2005-07-15 at 23:19 -0400, William Lodge wrote:
> I'm at a loss on how to compare Python vs. Access VBA for a database
> project. I'm estimating 20 tables and several forms and reports. Some of the
> tables could grow to many thousands of rows w/i a year or so. The app would
> be resident on my client as no network connectivity is needed b/c I'll be
> the only user. I'd probably use Access tables for now and plan on scaling up
> to Oracle later if necessary (which it probably won't be).

Move to Oracle is no problem at all. With Access you could connect to
all RDMS that is providing an ODBC driver. In Python you could connect
to all Databases you find a class for. Maybe you should take a look at
ADOdb [1].

> If the project is successful, it may be adopted in the division. There is no
> time limit but this is being done on my own time, and my guestimate for a
> practical limit would be 3-4 months. I'm not a developer but have done
> programming in the academic world as part of MSIS degree. I also want the
> app to have a GUI. 

The GUI is set up very fast in Access and in Glade [4]. No difference in
the speed.

> I'm currently reviewing Wingware's Python product. Will review Komodo next.
> It doesn't appear that the Wingware product has a GUI builder, but Komodo's
> Pro version does (although more costly). Anybody have any recommendations in
> this regard? Any thoughts as to whether implementing in Python would be any
> harder or easier to do than in Access?

Access is click and go but definitely NO freedom. Access has many
features but you cant trust them. I have developed a big Access
application some years ago and i will never do that gain.

You're maybe faster when using Access but, is faster better? If you have
enough knowledge of Python you will be as fast as in Access too. Python
delivers nearly all features for _real_ application development and when
you're a using some of the very hot classes around the web you could
nearly do everything with Python.

When you are using Komodo, you're in a environment like Access but since
i remember you have an interface for using Python. Maybe you should give
it try. I think there is a free version with less feature available.

> Finally, does anybody know of any Web sites having examples of database apps
> in Python?

Well, give TinyERP a try [2].

It is a very clean and nice written Python application using the GTK [3]
Toolkit for the GUI. That's what other people are using for rapid
application development in UNIX environments. The GUI could easy be
created using the Glade interface designer and all codework is Python.
You don't have to bother about the GUI in the code and you have a
dynamically generated GUI at program execution. This makes it easy to
change the GUI layout without touching the code. Signal handling is also
implemented and very easy to use. Glade and GTK+ are available for
Windows operating systems too.

Some Links:


My recommendation:

Use Python! You will love me in some years because i have said this.
When using Access you are binding your application to Microsoft. You
need a runtime version of Access when distributing the application to
others. When using Python you could build an install CD for more the
windows and you didn't have to bother about proprietary licensing

Good Luck with your decision... ;-)

Johannes Findeisen

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