Microsoft yesterday unveiled a developer tool for presentingSQL Server data through Web-based applications. Previously referred to by the code name "Grizzly" and named Access Workflow Designer for SQL Server, it's a free CD-ROM add-on for Microsoft Office 2000 Developer that customers can order online (http://msdn.microsoft.com/officedev/).
The software lets developers generate procedure calls for Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 database from within Access 2000, its desktop database, using graphical wizards instead of handwriting code. That's important as Microsoft's customers build Web applications on intranets and extranets, enlisting millions of Visual Basic developers who aren't always familiar with writing to the enterprise SQL product, says Microsoft product manager Benzi Ronen.
Access Workflow Designer addresses the problem of quickly writing replication schedules and security measures into Web-based applications, says Brian Randell, a senior consultant at MCW Technologies, a Microsoft consultant and integrator in Endicott, Wash. Business managers who access sales and other corporate data through company portals need to also view this data from the road, making offline access important. "This is a good 1.0 product," he adds.
Bit by bit, Microsoft is fleshing out its knowledge- management strategy with developer tools for linking Office productivity apps, its Exchange messaging platform, and back-end corporate data. "They did it in typical Microsoft fashion," Randell says. "The said, 'Let's take something complicated and try to simplify it.' "