I am hoping that someone can help me out with my situation. Over the past several months, I (and our database engineer) have developed a fairly complex Access database that encompasses all divisions and departments within the company. The database includes an internal request system for each division (that utilizes Outlook for notifications), automatic document generation for our sales processes, etc. We now have this placed on our Sharepoint server and is strictly on our intranet. Some employees have the ability to VPN into the database, but the execs are now on me to get the database accessible and functional from a web page so they can access it from anywhere. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to make this happen? I need to consider functionality, accessibility, and security. Thanks for any help that you can give me.
If you want to re-use the Access forms and reports on the web - so sorry, that's just not possible.
The closest you can get is to write an Access 2010 web database where you can create SharePoint-compatible forms. They will not be as rich as your VBA forms because VBA is not allowed and the macro language is rather basic. Of course this would also require SharePoint to be exposed to the web, requiring an expensive license and setting up specific Access support.
Or you could rent such SharePoint installation for a monthly fee.
Or you could re-write the forms needed on the web in a web-development tool like Visual Studio.
Or you could use a Terminal Server kind of solution and have those external users run standard Access sessions on your TS server. That's the route I would go, until the need for a more elaborate solution becomes apparent.
-Tom. Microsoft Access MVP
I outline the road and considerations for moving applications to the web here:
Just as a note and follow-up to the above article, since you are running SharePoint then most of the significant major portions of the issues in that article in the guards to security in managing users is solved for you.
What I would suggest in your case is to take some parts of your application such as some reports or perhaps some basic data entry forms and convert them to web based.
Remember access 2010 does allow you to publish forms and reports to SharePoint. Here's a video such an application I built using access 2010, and you can see at the halfway point, I switch to running the whole application entirely inside of a web browser.
You'll need SharePoint 2010 enterprise edition to do the above, but if that is what your organization has or plans to adopt, then you could certainly consider using Access 2010 to portions and parts of your existing application into 100% web based parts. If you take time to read my above article, you'll see it might not make sense to convert everything to web based, but identify those parts that would benefit the most.
Albert D. Kallal (Access MVP)
Edmonton, Alberta Canada