none
VPN

    Question

  • I would like to start a thread about utilizing VPN to solve a logistics problem I am having, so I need someone to help that has used VPN with routers and access databases, both with and without runtime modules. I am looking for different ideas and approaches -  not a single track approach until we narrow down what I should do.

     

    As background, a few things. I am a sort of decent hack at programming - never formerly trained. I do it in spurts every couple years - so I am rusty too. I use  an ACCESS DB application on a laptop with frontend and backend every single day which I built - and it is fairly elaborate. when I click ABOUT it says ACCESS2002. Frustratingly, I have 2 or 3 discs and one has long product key like numbers, but I have never been able to figure out how to successfully install a second copy on another desktop. I never successfully learned how to use RUNTIME with my applications so others could use my application on their laptops or desktops. That was the main reason I got ACCESS in the first place. Very frustrating. I have inquired on newsgroups long ago but never found anyone to walk me through it. Recently someone wrote I need to download RUNTIME and they gave me a link. I found that surprising and foreign but I figure they know what they are talking about and I need to check the link out. Also, I never learned webpages applications. And I suppose I should weigh webpages against VPN as my solution. Frankly, I would like to understand and use both.  I see VPN as being a quicker and easier solution.  I have very little spare time right now.

    So back to this thread. I have 2 logistic problems. let's start with the simpler one as it its solution might make the second apparent. I want an appointment book application that 4 people can use. The appointment DB is already designed. 2 of the people have APPLE MACS. Noone wants to buy new software. One person has an IBM laptop with no ACCESS.  I am the fourth and have an IBM laptop with ACCESS 2002.

    I have a desktop at home with no ACCESS. I thought I could dedicate it as a slave server to all four people. 

     

    I am conjuring notions that I could put a RUNTIME application version of the appointment book on the slaved desktop in a shared file and have it opened and running all the time on the desktop. I get a VPN router and authorize all four users. The MAC guys can remotely get into the desktop and view and put new appointments into the DB. So could the IBM laptop guys (all have wifi).  Can this work?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:23 PM

Answers

  • ..... so I picture in my mind that I have a laptop in city 1 and I use VPN to remotely double click on the desktop-runtime-version of my ACCESS APPLICATION.  

     

    To be clear here don't really click on anything on your computer anymore. You are simply viewing that remote computer desktop. This could be grandma's computer that you helping her fix a problem. If the user on that computer were to use the mouse, then you both would see the mouse move. So we are talking about using a computer that setup of the office for people to remote into, and use the desktop on that computer remotely. What software and icons and the layout you see on the desktop will have nothing to do with your local computer. This is why you can use an Apple Mac computer here since we not installing ANY software on your local computer (except for the remote desktop viewer software - this is installed into every recent copy of windows - for the Mac you have to download some software).

    Since you are not installing any software on your local computer, then you don't need the runtime or anything installed on your local computer.

    If you launch word on that remote computer and type in some text, and then disconnect. The word document will remain in place open. The next person that remotes into that desktop with a VPN connection will see that word document just sitting there with a cursor flashing in in that unsaved word document. So remote desktop means exactly what it means; you are using a computer remotely (this simply means that keyboard strokes and mouse clicks and screen updates are being transmitted from that one computer to the remote viewing computer. 

    So you don't need the Access runtime or anything installed on the client computer that's connecting to the host remote computer.

    Do they A) get blocked from double clicking application because it is still open on my laptop


    I believe they get a message and are told that the desktop is in use by someone else already, or in some cases they get an option to boot the other person off. Once you do this then you see the exact applications and desktop layout as to what the previous user had up to that point in time. So this means that perhaps the Access application was launched and running. But at the end of the day you are simply on the user's desktop and using this computer remotely - that's what remote desktop means.

     

    1. In order to create a runtime version of the application which has been on my laptop for 6 years. do I have to download some sort of "runtime software" from theinternet? to create a runtime version to put on my desktop?


     You don't actually create a runtime-version of your application.  What you do is you install the full eddition of access, or install the runtime addition of access. The runtime has the design tools removed.  Once you've installed either version of access, then to launch your program, you simply double click on it and launch it just like you always did.

    I mean you can browse to any word document or excel document on your computer, once you found the document in question you then double click on it and the appropriate software by windows is launched. Same goes for Access or Access runtime.

    So the access runtime is simply much the same as the full edition. This install can be about 175 MB in size and sometimes require reboot during install. For all essential purposes is a large regular type of install of Access for your computer. There is no inherit special connection of the runtime to YOUR software. You simply place or copy into a typical windows folder your mdb or accDE/accdb files etc and then click on them on to launch the application. 

    So once you've installed the access runtime on the target computer, then it's a simple matter to copy several databases to that target computer. To run them you simply click on the files and access will run as usual.

    The only difference here is that the runtime does not have the typical access user interface features available.  On the other hand if you're moving towards an application that you're going to distribute to many people, then it makes no sense to launch access and then have the user go to the forms area and attempt to figure out which of 80 forms there supposed to launch?  In other words it assumed that you've built a polished application with things like custom ribbons and custom forms and menus that allows the user to run that application without ever seeing the actual Access interface.

    In other words you don't have to specific write your application for the runtime, but you do have to set it up in a manner in which menus and features of the application are easily found by the user. Since as mentioned the design tools and built in options to select things like reports or forms are not available in the access runtime edition.

    So it is assumed forms etc. are setup for automatic startup etc. When the application runs you have to make the assumption that the user does not have to learn or know how to use access application itself.

    I explain what the runtime is about here:

    http://kallal.ca/RunTime/Index.html

    As for the cost of access? I don't know where you're getting these weird and bizarre numbers, but the cost of FULL edition of access 2010 last time I looked was $219.  And if you have any previous edition of access from the last editions, then you can purchase an upgrade to access 2010 and the cost of that last time I looked was $109.

    Albert D. Kallal  (Access MVP)
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada



    Sunday, October 30, 2011 8:07 PM

All replies

  • I think you first have to understand the different between "Front End" and "Back End" to help choose your solution.

    A Front End" application would be if all users had Access installed on thier PC's and the shared databae would be on the network drive.  The Front End application would connected to the remote network database and either store or retrieve data.

    A "Back End" application" would be more like the VPN approarch.  The users would send data to an application on the server that would store the data into the network database.  A VPN application the Users would send a UDP datagram (containing text message(s) and command(s) ) to a fixed IP address (the server IP address) and Port Number on the server.  An application would be set up on the server that would register the Port Number so that all messages received on the server with the Port address would be routed to the application.  The application when a mesage was received would connect to the database and store/receive the data.  The datagram can be setup so it will recognize commands like store or retrieve

    If Access is installed on all the PC I would probably recommend just using Access as the "Front End".  if you don't have Access installed on the Users PC then going to another method like VPN would be a possible solution.


    jdweng
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:08 PM
  • >The MAC guys can remotely get into the desktop and view and put new appointments into the DB. So could the IBM laptop guys (all have wifi).  Can this work?


    Sure this can work. Just keep in mind that without a server based edition of windows, then only one user is going to be allowed to use the "remote desktop" at a given time.

    So, you can setup your one desktop at home for all of the remote users to logon to and use. None of the users will need Access and the Mac computers can also connect since there is a good number of remote desktop programs for the Mac that allow connecting to windows desktops.

    Your suggesting is simple, but as noted not really multi-user since only one user can remote into that desktop at a given time. You could consider a windows server based edition, and that allows two remote users before a "licensing" server is required. So running windows 2008 R2 for example would allow two remote users at the same time without additonal costs.

    edit:

    Edit:

    Just as a follow-up and depending on how complex your application is, you can also consider using office 365.  You build your application using the new web capabilities of access, and then publish it to office 365.  The basic plan cost for one user is $6.00 per month, and I suppose you could have all users login to this same account.  The result would be a true web based system, and you would not even be using remote desktop anymore, therefore smartphone or any computer with a web browser could use the software.

    On the other hand web based development in access requires quite a bit of change in how you do things. Here is a video of mine showing a application running in a web browser that was built entirely using access and the new access web Services System:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU4mH0jPntI

    You  would require access 2010 for this ability, and also that of SharePoint or office 365.

     

     

    Albert D. Kallal  (Access MVP)
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada



    Thursday, October 27, 2011 12:15 AM
  • Albert - -thanks - - I will continue to follwo up with you. but first, would you please

    read what Joel Engineer posted and tell me whether his opinion and statements

     

    are relevant.  they confuse me.  They seem to contradict you. could you reinterpret what he is saying thanks

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:17 AM
  • Sorry that I confused you.  I don't think you really understand what VPN really is.  You can try to read the Wikipedia definition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_network

     

    There are many ways of sending and receiving data over the Internet.  All methods require an application running on both ends of the transfer.  VPN is the physical connections (wires, routers, telphone lines, modems) that the internet is built with.  VPN doesn't refer to the applications that are used to make the transfer.  Albert and I are proposing to use diffferent application and don't contradict.

     

    Alberts method doesn't require a lot of programming but does require the uses to log in to the server using a remote desk top application.  I'm proposing to make a connection between the computers and sending messages which requires writing custom application programs and not require Access to be installed on all your PC's.


    jdweng
    Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:24 AM
  • Sure this can work. Just keep in mind that without a server based edition of windows, then only one user is going to be allowed to use the "remote desktop" at a given time.

    ..... so I picture in my mind that I have a laptop in city 1 and I use VPN to remotely double click on the desktop-runtime-version of my ACCESS APPLICATION. On my laptop I see the application interface and I can use it to look up information in the database or to input new data just as if the application were resident on my laptop like I used to do. There might be a moment's delay on screen refresh since this is occuring over the internet.

     

    Now my assistant has a laptop in city 2. The assistant does not know I am remotely connected to the desktop in city 3.  The assistant waants to input new data. They try to open the VPN-remote connection to the desktop. Do they A) get blocked from double clicking application because it is still open on my laptop and I walked away to get pizza down the block and didn't logoff?  Or does it mean B) they can double click the app and open it . . .but if they hit enter to enter new data, they may be delayed if I just hit enter on the same record. So their data gets input AFTER my data gets in, potentially inputting data less current than the data I just entered.  or  C) something conceptually different.

     

    Other questions:

    1. In order to create a runtime version of the application which has been on my laptop for 6 years. do I have to download some sort of "runtime software" from theinternet? to create a runtime version to put on my desktop?

    2. If my assistnat had ACESS on their laptop I am picturing that I could just place the ACCESS file in a shared folder on the desktop, and then we could both VPN in to use it. Am I correct that there is effectiely no difference in this soltuion versus the runtime-version solution except that I don't have to create a runtime version and I have to purchase the extra ACCESS product.  I have conflicting reports on the cost of ACCESS. One says $800 the other $140 . . . . .Albert, can I get another copy o fACCESS for my assistant's laptop for $140 and would that make this entire idea easier?

    3. If I can get another copy for $140, if the assistant no longer wants to assist and I get a new assistant, can I somehow remove that $140 ACCESS form their laptop and place it on the next assistant's laptop?

    4. I have a second assistant. They use a MAC desktop.

    a) if I use the runtime version idea. . . . then they do not need ACCESS for MAC, since they can VPN into the desktop and use the runtime version resident there - correcT?

    b) can I get a $140 MAC version of ACCESS for them and once again avoid the "runtime version solution"?.

     

    So, you can setup your one desktop at home for all of the remote users to logon to and use. None of the users will need Access and the Mac computers can also connect since there is a good number of remote desktop programs for the Mac that allow connecting to windows desktops.

    Your suggesting is simple, but as noted not really multi-user since only one user can remote into that desktop at a given time. You could consider a windows server based edition, and that allows two remote users before a "licensing" server is required. So running windows 2008 R2 for example would allow two remote users at the same time without additonal costs.

    edit:

    Edit:

    Just as a follow-up and depending on how complex your application is, you can also consider using office 365.  You build your application using the new web capabilities of access, and then publish it to office 365.  The basic plan cost for one user is $6.00 per month, and I suppose you could have all users login to this same account.  The result would be a true web based system, and you would not even be using remote desktop anymore, therefore smartphone or any computer with a web browser could use the software.

    On the other hand web based development in access requires quite a bit of change in how you do things. Here is a video of mine showing a application running in a web browser that was built entirely using access and the new access web Services System:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU4mH0jPntI

    You  would require access 2010 for this ability, and also that of SharePoint or office 365.

     

    Sunday, October 30, 2011 3:42 PM
  • ..... so I picture in my mind that I have a laptop in city 1 and I use VPN to remotely double click on the desktop-runtime-version of my ACCESS APPLICATION.  

     

    To be clear here don't really click on anything on your computer anymore. You are simply viewing that remote computer desktop. This could be grandma's computer that you helping her fix a problem. If the user on that computer were to use the mouse, then you both would see the mouse move. So we are talking about using a computer that setup of the office for people to remote into, and use the desktop on that computer remotely. What software and icons and the layout you see on the desktop will have nothing to do with your local computer. This is why you can use an Apple Mac computer here since we not installing ANY software on your local computer (except for the remote desktop viewer software - this is installed into every recent copy of windows - for the Mac you have to download some software).

    Since you are not installing any software on your local computer, then you don't need the runtime or anything installed on your local computer.

    If you launch word on that remote computer and type in some text, and then disconnect. The word document will remain in place open. The next person that remotes into that desktop with a VPN connection will see that word document just sitting there with a cursor flashing in in that unsaved word document. So remote desktop means exactly what it means; you are using a computer remotely (this simply means that keyboard strokes and mouse clicks and screen updates are being transmitted from that one computer to the remote viewing computer. 

    So you don't need the Access runtime or anything installed on the client computer that's connecting to the host remote computer.

    Do they A) get blocked from double clicking application because it is still open on my laptop


    I believe they get a message and are told that the desktop is in use by someone else already, or in some cases they get an option to boot the other person off. Once you do this then you see the exact applications and desktop layout as to what the previous user had up to that point in time. So this means that perhaps the Access application was launched and running. But at the end of the day you are simply on the user's desktop and using this computer remotely - that's what remote desktop means.

     

    1. In order to create a runtime version of the application which has been on my laptop for 6 years. do I have to download some sort of "runtime software" from theinternet? to create a runtime version to put on my desktop?


     You don't actually create a runtime-version of your application.  What you do is you install the full eddition of access, or install the runtime addition of access. The runtime has the design tools removed.  Once you've installed either version of access, then to launch your program, you simply double click on it and launch it just like you always did.

    I mean you can browse to any word document or excel document on your computer, once you found the document in question you then double click on it and the appropriate software by windows is launched. Same goes for Access or Access runtime.

    So the access runtime is simply much the same as the full edition. This install can be about 175 MB in size and sometimes require reboot during install. For all essential purposes is a large regular type of install of Access for your computer. There is no inherit special connection of the runtime to YOUR software. You simply place or copy into a typical windows folder your mdb or accDE/accdb files etc and then click on them on to launch the application. 

    So once you've installed the access runtime on the target computer, then it's a simple matter to copy several databases to that target computer. To run them you simply click on the files and access will run as usual.

    The only difference here is that the runtime does not have the typical access user interface features available.  On the other hand if you're moving towards an application that you're going to distribute to many people, then it makes no sense to launch access and then have the user go to the forms area and attempt to figure out which of 80 forms there supposed to launch?  In other words it assumed that you've built a polished application with things like custom ribbons and custom forms and menus that allows the user to run that application without ever seeing the actual Access interface.

    In other words you don't have to specific write your application for the runtime, but you do have to set it up in a manner in which menus and features of the application are easily found by the user. Since as mentioned the design tools and built in options to select things like reports or forms are not available in the access runtime edition.

    So it is assumed forms etc. are setup for automatic startup etc. When the application runs you have to make the assumption that the user does not have to learn or know how to use access application itself.

    I explain what the runtime is about here:

    http://kallal.ca/RunTime/Index.html

    As for the cost of access? I don't know where you're getting these weird and bizarre numbers, but the cost of FULL edition of access 2010 last time I looked was $219.  And if you have any previous edition of access from the last editions, then you can purchase an upgrade to access 2010 and the cost of that last time I looked was $109.

    Albert D. Kallal  (Access MVP)
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada



    Sunday, October 30, 2011 8:07 PM
  • Albert,

     

    I have the logMEin installed and working. I do not yet fully understand how I am going to get the ACCESS Table and input interface running on my host desktop.

    I own ACCESS 2002. I see a DOWNLOAD for 2003 and 2007.  From what I am reading, it seems like it is insufficient to download the 2003 RUNTIME to my desktop. I am not fully understanding, but it sounds like I have to export a RUNTIME version of my application from within my laptop development environment AND I have to purchase some sort of downloadable EXTENSIONS for 2003 for my DESKTOP as well (The desktop, if you recall is where my Appointment application is going to reside so that my assistants can LOGmeIN to it ).

     

    I need a more take-me-by-the-hand-step-by-step outline what to do here. I am going to reread

    http://kallal.ca/RunTime/Index.html

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:38 PM
  • The Windows operating system on your DESKTOP has the Microsoft Jet engine installed.  The Microsoft Jet is the application that will connect to your database.  The Runtime version of access will only display the access data and uses the Microsoft Jet Engine to get the data from the database.

     

    Note: Access is only a front end tool that allows your to view and modify databases.  The connection is made using the windows built-in Microsift Jet application.


    jdweng
    Thursday, November 24, 2011 7:21 AM
  • REALLY Joel .. . .REALLY ?   you REALLY think your comment comes even close to answer my question?  REALLY?  Did you even bother to understand my question, let alone read it?  Huh? 

     

    What is your aim?  To be heard?  Volume? The more you post the greater you are?

    And now maybe no one else will bother to read my thread because they will think you answered it.  HAH !! 

    You didn't even bother to read the entire thread.  Maybe you were answering someone else's question and accidentally

    pasted it to my thread? In that case, I apologize.

     

    Otherwise, withdraw your post please and let Albert answer it, as it was addressed to him and he AAAALLLWAAAYS actually

    reads and understands end users. . . .. . . . REAAAAALLLY

    Thursday, November 24, 2011 7:38 AM
  • I'm sorry that I didn't fully answer your question.  I was trying to answer one part of the posting.  You said the following:

    "I have the logMEin installed and working. I do not yet fully understand how I am going to get the ACCESS Table and input interface running on my host desktop."


    jdweng
    Thursday, November 24, 2011 7:45 AM