Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    107

    which db to use...

    hi there. i have a few questions about which database to use to complete a new project. I don't have all the information yet but i'm trying to identify factors that i need to consider before i commit to one technology over the other.

    i've been asked to help build some electronic surveys... which will be filled out by a CSR answering telephone calls.
    there will be multiple surveys - may or may not be related to one another. the goal is to record all answers and report on them. later on down the road - there will be a need to report across all the different databases.
    the objectives are:
    1. get them off a paper system.
    2. build reports
    3. consolidate all databases later and build a web ui at some point to access the information.

    The problem is this: I won't have any support from any IT folks in this place because by the sounds of it, they don't really have IT support. I'm tempted to use SQL server express because it's free and i can manage multiple databases from one management tool.... but then i need to build the UI outside of the db itself... which is fine ... but i don't know if i'm going to run into brick walls trying to publish a site using IIS etc.
    I know, there's a lot of unknowns.
    if i go the ms access route, i think i'm essentially looking at building multiple standalone "survey" applications - which is fine for now because each survey database will only be updated by one individual... I don't have to worry about politiking with the IT folk(s). but... later when i want to considate everything and they decide to create some sort of a central site for all this stuff, i have a lot of work to do.
    any comments? I apologize for the lack of details. just fishing for high level info.
    btw. anyone try Access 2007 yet?
    thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    11,434
    Why use multiple databases - what's wrong with just using one?
    George
    Home | Blog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    if you are planning down the web route and you think there may be more than say 15..30 users then consider using a server based data storage mechanism.

    there is nothing to stop you using Access as yoru front end to do the data capture, but store the data in something like MySQL or Postgres, or if your budget stretches to it SQL Server, DB2, Oracle or whatever.

    if you don't see the application ever needing to be used by more than 15..30 concurrent users then stick with Access and its default storage mechanism which is fine for small applications. Mind you Access is (imhv) fine for large applications, just not using its default storage mechanism JET, but instead a server back end.

    if you are considering a web front end. then there may be a lot to be said for doing that from day one... with a scritping language such as ASP, PHP, Coldfusion or PERL or something else, again its down to you, down to budget.

    In some ways PHP is a bit like Access.. its relatively easy to get something useful quite quickly, however just like Access its also possible to develop something poorly, in an unstructured manner which is a nightmare to debug and maintain. Before launching on a development cycle I'd want to make sure the application is properly thought out, properly designed and that you have a clear idea of what it is your users actually need and what is acceptable for their use.

    mind you the item that Georgev picked upon rings warning bells in my mind... why would you want to have multiple databases in a server product.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    107

    Multiple database

    i guess i don't have to... i can put separate tables for each survey.
    but I'm not sure about what the regulations are - this is for a government agency and they have a bunch of regulations that need to be followed. i just thought if for whatever reason, everything needs to be kept separate, we could manage / report on all using one interface like SQL Server Management Studio Express. It's free....
    i'll think over what you guys have posted... if you think of anything else, please let me know !
    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    134
    I am not sure what type of survey this is, but if it is just questions then you could create one set of tables that covers all surveys so that you only have to enter new surveys and not worry about the db so much.

    surveys
    survey_name

    questions
    survey (FK)
    question_number
    question

    answers
    survey(FK)
    question(FK)
    user_answer

    I am sure it would be a bit more than this, but that is the basic idea. Also, you wouldn't really need a survey foreign key technically, but it might make it easier for you

    As to which db.. that probably depends more on how much you know now and how much you want to learn. Some of the free ones have been listed above. I would probably recommend MySQL for someone starting out. Lots of paid support is there if you do need it from what I understand. Good documentation. It should be well supported as far as drivers so that you could connect with whatever app/web stuff you make.

    I will refrain from suggesting a web language to use, but I would ask.. where are the people filling out these surveys going to be? How you answer that might determine is it would be better to build a web app verses and access front end. Of course, you could push out new front ends as needed, but web stuff makes all that very hidden from users
    Vi veri veniversum vivus vici
    By the power of truth, I, a living man, have conquered the universe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    107

    thanks

    that was very useful information. Ultimately, their long term vision they said is to have the end customer input this information over the web or touch screen at some designated location - this is really a long way off. but for now, they are under gun to get these surveys in electronic format asap so that a rep. can call and save the data some how.

    I'm not sure how far off they are from implementing their "dream system"...
    I was thinking of creating a temporary system that will address the immediate needs - maybe with a ms access ui - and then when i have some breathing space, evaluate what really needs to be done. I hesitate to learn something new at this point because time is of the essence. I only know access (and not that well. only created a web app a few years ago with access in the back end) and i've recently been playing around with sql server express.

    if i summarized everything in the following manner, would i be correct?

    option1:
    ms access db
    ms access UI
    - good for standalone or a handfull of users.

    option 2
    ms access db
    asp.net UI
    - good for many users... although I read somewhere that ms access behind an asp.net front end is a bad idea.

    option 3
    sql server express
    asp.net front end.
    - many users. easier to "grow" the solution later.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    134
    I would say option 2 is not good. I don't think 'many users' and ms access go together well. Although I don't work with access and others may know better, I think it was intended for a desktop db system for users and limited concurrency capability.

    I will give one caution... Most of the time when a company needs something they are past or well past the point they should have started on it correctly. I guess this is somewhat natural. Doing it fast and dirty now will mean whatever is built is status quo. People get anchored to status quo really well from my short experience in the development world and 'better' usually means building on top of what already exists. Just be careful and good luck!
    Vi veri veniversum vivus vici
    By the power of truth, I, a living man, have conquered the universe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    107

    thank you

    thanks alot for your comments

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •