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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    7

    New Member asking for direction

    Hi Everyone.

    Quick background. Just retired from US Navy (21 years), where I picked up a little experience with Access as well as writing basic code behind forms.

    I got hired last year at a SMALL software company that developed a database using Paradox. The program works okay, but as you may all know Paradox is dead. We have around 6K customers.

    I was asked to recommend a platform to rewrite (or contract someone) the program with would allow us to take our database to the web and for our customers who can't/don't access the web, to install on a local machine.

    The database will contain member info as well as a "checkbook", many reports, labels, etc.

    I'm looking for your recommendations or ideals of how to research this.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    Is this evaluation a "one time shot" where you'll do this task and then periodically think back fondly about the pain, or is this going to be a significant part of your job going forward? The two problems have radically different solutions.

    For the "one time shot", you really ought to engage someone with more experience to sit down, listen to your problems, and help you to pick an answer. The cost of acquiring the experience needed to make a good decision and the potential cost of a mistake make it economically unfeasible to do this yourself unless you plan to do it at least a dozen times.

    If you plan to do this repetatively, I think you need at least a couple of basic classes in software design and implementation. You need to learn at least three different platforms (like .NET, LAMP, etc) and implement at least three minor projects using each platform. Once you've done that, implement a major project using the platform of your choice and migrate two or more of the minor projects from one platform to another platform. This is probably a five year undertaking if you do it right.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    7
    Pat -

    Thanks for your great insight. This wouldn't be a one time deal.. once we are up and running on the web, I'm sure we will continue to update the software adding/fixing issues.

    We may do as you suggest and bring someone in to do the initial work (get us up and running) and then I'll fuction in the update/maintain role.

    I also agree this will not be an easy undertaking and have already begun to realize this is almost it's own industry.

    I've read where Access 2010 will add new features geared toward this and I will continue to watch as the relase gets closer.

    Identifing the parts is kinda where I am today. Rewriting the database in Access is something I'm pretty sure I could do (again, this isn't a very complicated database), but I don't want to do this, if using another technology would allow me to either initally or later convert this to a web based database.

    Our model will work like this: Customer purchases our software, we create a new folder on our server (which we would rent), put database files in there, which would contain only their data, and as long as they pay the monthly fee, they would have access to this folder.
    I'm assuming the forms, reports, queries, etc would be in a central location and as I make updates they are seen by all.

    I'm still trying to get my head around (completely) how platforms like .NET, ASP, etc come into play? So the database is written in Access... the .NET and ASP platforms allow me to display this data on the web? I guess I need to look at some ASP stuff and go from there.

    Thanks again,
    Kevin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    Actually I was envisioning finding a consultant that would essentially make the architecture choices for you (picking the platform and doing the gross design work), then would mentor you on the platform of choice. When a company has someone willing and able to do their coding, the company needs to tale advamtage of that opportunity.

    I envision you doing the bulk of the development work, but based on what you've described so far you really need someone with a lot more experience to get you started.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    7
    Pat -

    I completely agree with you. Thanks for the help and advice.

    Kevin

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