How good is VB for database development ? 
Author Message
 How good is VB for database development ?

Hello,

  probably this topic has already been discussed in this newsgroup, but
i havent found answers to my questions in the VB-FAQs.

We are about to start database development in Windows. At this time,
the only two alternatives are Visual Basic (probably in combination
with Access) and Clarion for Windows. I hardly know anything about
programming database applications with Visual Basic, so i would be
interested if anybody has already compared these two products.

Also, if you have already developped a medium size database application
with Visual Basic (about 50-100 Tables), what are your experiences
with it? Would you use a different programming tool now?
(Which one ?)

I would be thankful for any help on this topic!

    Anton

---------------------------------



Fri, 26 Dec 1997 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:
Ernst) writes:
>We are about to start database development in Windows. At this time,
>the only two alternatives are Visual Basic (probably in combination
>with Access) and Clarion for Windows. I hardly know anything about
>programming database applications with Visual Basic, so i would be
>interested if anybody has already compared these two products.

VB RULES!


Sat, 27 Dec 1997 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:

> Hello,

>   probably this topic has already been discussed in this newsgroup, but
> i havent found answers to my questions in the VB-FAQs.

Indeed, this was discussed earlier.

Quote:

> We are about to start database development in Windows. At this time,

Let me ask you this, what would you consider to be "good" for database
development? That would be interesting to react/compare to VB/Access.


Sat, 27 Dec 1997 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:

>Hello,

('snip')

Quote:
>Also, if you have already developped a medium size database application
>with Visual Basic (about 50-100 Tables), what are your experiences
>with it? Would you use a different programming tool now?
>(Which one ?)
>I would be thankful for any help on this topic!
>    Anton

I am on a team that has developed just such a product; it probably has
on the order of 100+ tables.

VB will <work> for such large applications, but it's a royal pain for
the developers. Let  me explain.

The major problem we've run into is that VB is not organized like a
compiled language IDE. VB wants to load <every form and module> into
memory when you load a project. For a large project like the one you
describe (say ~100 forms), this can be on the order of 2-3 minutes on
a 486/66 with lots o' memory. Then, while you're editing source code,
say when you casually move the cursor off a line of source code, VB
will inexplicably 'freeze' as it 'thinks' about source changes on the
line (particularly changes to global variable declarations.)  Managers
will not understand why the poor downtrodden developer in such a
situation 'goes postal' over GPFs and other such excruiatingly menial
and stupid hassles but suffice it to say that VB's heads-down,
clueless IDE architecture (duh! Let's load the user's entire tiny
little prototype app into memory! It'll never get very big!) will be
an ever increasing thorn in your side. Again, the management weenies
will think that developers are not in searing agony but just being
cranky (wrong, they're in agony!)

You can't even 'remove' a file and edit it outside the IDE in your own
text editor painlessly if the project is too large: simply removing
the file can take minutes when the app is very large. And those pesky
GPFS are a nightmare when it makes you have to restart Windows due to
orphaned VBXs in memory that prevent VB from loading again.

A second point: VB's architecture is oriented totally against generic
tool-building (like custom controls.) If you want to write in VB AND
you want to gain the <effect> of custom controls or OOP classes, you
must write gobs of hardwired 'platform' code that exploits quirky
behaviors such as the 'changed' event on hidden labels. When the
developers absolutely insist upon re-inventing the bound control
wheel, etc, (as most seem to want to do) the result is a mish mash of
custom low level screen scraping code. VB punishes you for wanting to
do things the 'right' way with 'your own' components; it rewards you
for following the book and sticking predefined 'code boogers' together
to achieve an end result.

Lastly, VB's design environment is notorious on large projects for
experiencing 'out of memory' errors. It just starts happening, usually
to code that someone changed something incredibly trivial on, and the
lack of diagnostic tools will have you hiring a shaman or a medicine
man in order to identify the cause. And it's always under the gun,
with a whizzed off customer waiting for a new build.

On the other hand, a person I work with has moved some VB code over to
Delphi and <loves it>. Delphi is as fast as VB in turning around
projects and it corrects the deficiencies of the VB IDE as well (IE,
it is oriented around a more traditional 'load only the object of
current interest into memory')  IDE model. It lets you write your own
custom controls. It's FAST. It's object oriented, so code  re-use is
not problematic, but it avoids the header file mish mash of C++ by
compiling the header files directly into the object modules (so I am
told.)

I personally would warn you away from VB for a project of that scale.
VB is great for small projects but its entire conceptual framework
will fight you for control as the project grows. You won't appreciate
what a hideous mistake it is until you are well committed to the
project!



Thu, 01 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?
I'm currently finishing a 20 table project, intended to run on a 486DX/2
66Mhz + 8MB Memory. At the end it will have about 10000 records in all
the tables together. Currently, the application runs quite good, with no
to-bad speed problems - but the database is only in the 1/10 of it's
final size of 10000 records. Will I have any problems I should know of ?

It's a product I made for Tel-Aviv University for compiling information
on students and their work, I'm going to get paid quite a lot for it - so
if VB will fail, I don't think it will be possible for me to return the
money... so Do you think VB is up to the job ??

--
Greetings from Israel,

        Dani Ben-Amar



Fri, 02 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:

>I'm currently finishing a 20 table project, intended to run on a 486DX/2
>66Mhz + 8MB Memory. At the end it will have about 10000 records in all
>the tables together. Currently, the application runs quite good, with no
>to-bad speed problems - but the database is only in the 1/10 of it's
>final size of 10000 records. Will I have any problems I should know of ?

I am assuming that you are using the Access Jet engine that comes with VB
Pro.  Hopefully, you are using the Jet engine 2.0 or 2.5 version, which
improves on speed over the Jet 1.1 version.  If not, you should.

Unless you are performing a lot of calculations, VB should not have a
negative impact on performance.  Your performance bottleneck most
likely will be with your database engine - Jet.  

In a single-user environment in which the database is opened in the
exclusive mode, 10,000 total records in all the 20 tables can be handled
in Jet.  If your performance deteriorates as you reach 10,000 records,
I would first look at my indexing and query optimization.  Jet 2.0/2.5
incorporates a query optimizer (Rushmore) that utilizes indexes in an
efficient manner.

You may want to replace the data control with code for further
performance optimization.  In the worse case, you can replace the
Jet engine with a more efficient desktop database engine, such as
Rocket (based on DBF file structure).

From a hardware point of view, adding more RAM helps, especially going
from 8 to 12mb really helps.  Ofcourse, replacing the 486 with a 100 mhz
Pentium with 16mb of RAM would help performance.

If you are running in a multi-user environment, using the Jet engine, then
performance (or lack thereof), is a function of many different issues.
Jet is not known for performance and reliability in a multi-user environment.

Quote:
>It's a product I made for Tel-Aviv University for compiling information
>on students and their work, I'm going to get paid quite a lot for it - so
>if VB will fail, I don't think it will be possible for me to return the
>money...

It would not be POSSIBLE or desirable?  

Steven R. Zuch
Cogent Management Inc.



Sun, 04 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:
>I'm currently finishing a 20 table project, intended to run on a 486DX/2
>66Mhz + 8MB Memory. At the end it will have about 10000 records in all
>the tables together.
> [snip]
> so Do you think VB is up to the job ??

I've successfully developed several systems with databases even larger than
you describe.  I've also known of other "developers" to have had smaller
databases fail from a performance point of view.  The performance you
achive will depend upon database design (level of normalization, index usage,
the physical layout of data on the disk, etc.), data distribution (will determine
the efficiency of indexes in performing data lookups), and the programmatic
methods you use (recognizing Access' internal algorithms, such as indexes
are not used in Dynaset seeks).  So unfortunately there is no canned answer
to your question.  When I design large systems one of the things I do early
on (sometimes even in constructing a response to an RFP) is to identify
critical performance issues and perform benchmarking to determine the
performance that can be realized for various design options.


Sun, 04 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:

>I'm currently finishing a 20 table project, intended to run on a 486DX/2
>66Mhz + 8MB Memory. At the end it will have about 10000 records in all
>the tables together. Currently, the application runs quite good, with no
>to-bad speed problems - but the database is only in the 1/10 of it's
>final size of 10000 records. Will I have any problems I should know of ?
>It's a product I made for Tel-Aviv University for compiling information
>on students and their work, I'm going to get paid quite a lot for it - so
>if VB will fail, I don't think it will be possible for me to return the
>money... so Do you think VB is up to the job ??

I think soo.
Use transactions for caching groups of operations and speeding up data
access. Also, use table objects and the seek method for searches,
because it uses the Index property and will find records the fastest
way.

Best regards,


Univ.Autonoma de Lisboa - Lisboa, Portugal - European Union
Departamento de Informatica (Computer Science Dept.)



Sun, 04 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 How good is VB for database development ?

Quote:

>I'm currently finishing a 20 table project, intended to run on a 486DX/2
>66Mhz + 8MB Memory. At the end it will have about 10000 records in all
>the tables together. Currently, the application runs quite good, with no
>to-bad speed problems - but the database is only in the 1/10 of it's
>final size of 10000 records. Will I have any problems I should know of ?
>It's a product I made for Tel-Aviv University for compiling information
>on students and their work, I'm going to get paid quite a lot for it - so
>if VB will fail, I don't think it will be possible for me to return the
>money... so Do you think VB is up to the job ??
>--
>Greetings from Israel,
>    Dani Ben-Amar

You can develop good & bad applications with every programming tool
from assembler to Smalltalk. Vb/Access is almost certainly up to the
job you describe. VB/Access won't fail as such but that doesn't mean
your application won't.

I would take your size estimates , double them and fill the database
with some generated dummy data. This will allow you to get a much
clearer idea of what your performance will be like. Doing this at the
start is much better than trying to firefight performance problems
once the software has gone live.



Mon, 05 Jan 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 9 post ] 

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