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Which is best for my application - SQL Server or others? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am creating a db for informational purposes. This is not for a business, but rather for historical purposes to find and possibly locate former USCG personnel who served in certain units. Since our organization is non-governmental and have no sponsors per se except for ourselves, we don't have many outside resources. What might be the best way of moving forward for publishing our database in such a fashion that would make easily accessible to the public "wired" and "unwired" users?
    Saturday, February 13, 2016 12:46 PM

Answers

  • Those features can also be implemented in Excel, but if you really think Access is the better way, you would essentially need to deploy an application. That is a non-trivial task. Just think of the various versions of Office your users may have. Those may or may not include Access, so you may want to also distribute the free Runtime version of Access. Your application may be using References that may not be on the target machine. This is a big topic.

    The built-in tools depend on which version of Access we're talking about. They would be found under File > Save As or similar menu. These tools may or may not suffice, but perhaps you can try it out and distribute first in a small group of testers and get feedback from them.


    -Tom. Microsoft Access MVP

    Saturday, February 13, 2016 8:41 PM

  • You could consider the free edition of Access. Users would have to download + install this program (it is free, but it quite a large download + install).

    You could consider “cleaning” up the Excel sheet, and improving the “user” friendly part – this as you noted is most easy.

    It also depends on how “often” the data is updated. You could move the data up to SQL server on a web site (say update once a week), and THEN provide a web page that has some filters and user friendly drop-downs. This would suggest you would have to build at least one web page with correct “user friendly” drop downs and filter options. So say adopting asp.net + SQL server would work (but this depends on what services and options your web hosting provides. If the web hosting is say based on MySQL, then you likely not be using SQL server and asp.net.


    So what technology choices you make are limited to what software systems your current web hosting provides (you either adopt what tools your web hosting supports, or you change your web hosting to work with what technologies you are familiar with, or want to adopt).

    it not clear if existing Access users “just” have the front end on their computer, or they have both the front end part and  the back end part on their computers now. If your existing split database shares the same back end, then you could migrate that back end to SQL server. You then build a web page say with asp.net that has the correct filters etc. Then once daily, or say once a week, you simply upload the SQL data file from your local system up to the web site. How well this works would much depended on how often the data is updated. If the data is updated all the time and you need users to “see” these updates, then some kind of replication from your local SQL server to the web based one would be a possible choice. The only real downside to building a web based system to display this data is the availability of web development resources you have.

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

    Monday, February 15, 2016 7:48 PM

All replies

  • You could save the data to an Excel file and have a web page from which it can be downloaded.

    So many options. It really depends on the finer points of what you want.


    -Tom. Microsoft Access MVP

    Saturday, February 13, 2016 5:27 PM
  • Thanks for the quick reply Tom.

    Unfortunately that is what is being utilized right now....a series of spreadsheets that aren't very user friendly (and no offense to the web site creators - I realize that Excel is quick way to get a ton of info out).

    Using an Access db provides a more user friendly environment with clearer available choices (drop down selections, search by date functions, etc). So how to get it out there for anyone to view is now the question.

    Saturday, February 13, 2016 8:01 PM
  • Those features can also be implemented in Excel, but if you really think Access is the better way, you would essentially need to deploy an application. That is a non-trivial task. Just think of the various versions of Office your users may have. Those may or may not include Access, so you may want to also distribute the free Runtime version of Access. Your application may be using References that may not be on the target machine. This is a big topic.

    The built-in tools depend on which version of Access we're talking about. They would be found under File > Save As or similar menu. These tools may or may not suffice, but perhaps you can try it out and distribute first in a small group of testers and get feedback from them.


    -Tom. Microsoft Access MVP

    Saturday, February 13, 2016 8:41 PM
  • If it helps, I'm using Access 2010 and file saved as an "accdb" for now with an "accde" front end.

    Saturday, February 13, 2016 8:46 PM
  • Hi Colin,

    >> how to get it out there for anyone to view is now the question

    I agree with Tom, you could split Access 2010 into Front End and Back end. You could use SQL or Access database as Back end. With a simple database, I think you could use Access as Back End.

    Best Regards,

    Edward


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    Monday, February 15, 2016 6:31 AM

  • You could consider the free edition of Access. Users would have to download + install this program (it is free, but it quite a large download + install).

    You could consider “cleaning” up the Excel sheet, and improving the “user” friendly part – this as you noted is most easy.

    It also depends on how “often” the data is updated. You could move the data up to SQL server on a web site (say update once a week), and THEN provide a web page that has some filters and user friendly drop-downs. This would suggest you would have to build at least one web page with correct “user friendly” drop downs and filter options. So say adopting asp.net + SQL server would work (but this depends on what services and options your web hosting provides. If the web hosting is say based on MySQL, then you likely not be using SQL server and asp.net.


    So what technology choices you make are limited to what software systems your current web hosting provides (you either adopt what tools your web hosting supports, or you change your web hosting to work with what technologies you are familiar with, or want to adopt).

    it not clear if existing Access users “just” have the front end on their computer, or they have both the front end part and  the back end part on their computers now. If your existing split database shares the same back end, then you could migrate that back end to SQL server. You then build a web page say with asp.net that has the correct filters etc. Then once daily, or say once a week, you simply upload the SQL data file from your local system up to the web site. How well this works would much depended on how often the data is updated. If the data is updated all the time and you need users to “see” these updates, then some kind of replication from your local SQL server to the web based one would be a possible choice. The only real downside to building a web based system to display this data is the availability of web development resources you have.

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

    Monday, February 15, 2016 7:48 PM