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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Unanswered: Want to build Web App

    I had been building an offline database for myself, but now my small business would like to roll it out to other people who are not on the same LAN. We need to share data, and I would like to continue using Access (since I've learned it!), but what is an efficient way of deploying my application to others?

    Here's what I've considered:
    1) Hybrid application (using sharepoint as a back end) with queries, forms, reports all on a local Front end using access Runtime. I've heard that it is really slow.

    2)SQL Server Express. I've heard that using that as a backend with an access front end works well over a WAN, but I'm not sure.

    I will happily learn to use another application, but I'd like to get it working as quickly as possible, and I've already done a lot of VBA coding.

    Let me know!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Inside your mind
    I like mySQL, as its free... Either buy yourself a PC to use as a webserver, or outsource to a company for a fee.

    The beauty of using your own in-house webserver, is that it's free (after you've bought a PC), and you don't have to deal with customer support, no waiting around for them to update Apache/mySQL (or watching them never do it, as is usually the case), etc.

    If you're happy with WAN, then that's cool, less to worry about... If you're looking for people to be able to connect remotely from anywhere, just with a username and password then I'd suggest having:
    - Apache and mySQL installed and setup on your own machine
    - Syncing it with a dynDNS address to avoid purchasing a static IP from your ISP
    - You should then be able to simply give employees the URL, and have a download link on it to download the latest Access front-end.

    The front-ends can use ODBC to link to the web based tables (with some security setup, obviously).

    mySQL should be pretty snappy. Depending on the size and complexity of your data, you might need to outsource the server to another company to get reliable speeds, but this all really depends on your current internet speeds, number of simultaneous users, etc. etc.

    Without knowing more details about the database, it's going to be difficult to recommend anything really, but I thought I'd chip in with my 2 cents.
    Last edited by kez1304; 12-06-11 at 08:40.
    Looking for the perfect beer...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    out on a limb
    Provided Answers: 59
    running an Access application over a public network is I suspect a no,no. the reasons are legion.
    all your users must have a copy of Access or runtime, or be prepared to download runtime for the front end. and that means they use Windows
    JET databases do not scale well across large applications (the precise value where they tend to crap out is anywhere over 15..30 users depending on design.)

    if you plan on replacing the Access back end with a server such as SQL Server is fine on an intranet, but I still wouldn't use it on a public website. SQL Server Express is limited deliberately to encourage you to switch to the paid for version, it may not be appropriate for your needs now or in the future. there is no such thing as a free lunch, MySQL should also be fee based but many ISP's seem to avoid that problem.

    Id suggest you need to separate your web application from the internal system, and that probably means using a scripting environment such as ASP, PHP, PERL Python, Ruby whatever.

    if you use Access as your internal system then it would make sense to use a common database backend, and that probably means a server.

    Unless you are up to speed on security issues I certainly would not recommend that you run your own webserver. ISP's may not seem to be especially active but at least the security side is their responsibility.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Inside your mind
    Quote Originally Posted by healdem View Post
    Unless you are up to speed on security issues I certainly would not recommend that you run your own webserver. ISP's may not seem to be especially active but at least the security side is their responsibility.
    The reason I mention not being happy with ISP and hosting services solutions, is because; if you don't update Apache regularly, exploits are found, released and documented.

    In response to this Apache will create an update, that plugs the hole. Obviously, if the update is never done by the ISP in question, then the hole is still there. As there's plenty of documentation on these exploits almost as soon as they are discovered, and as it's pretty simple to find out what version of Apache any given website is using, then it makes it a whole lot easier for someone to obtain root access to your data.

    Also, anything sensitive (credit card details, personal information, etc.) should be encrypted, even in an offline solution. I'm no lawyer, but I believe if someone provides you with these details electronically, it is the receivers responsibility to either not store them, or store them in an encrypted form, provided permission is given from the consumer. If not legally required, at least ethically.

    If you don't wish to operate your own webserver, then there are alternatives, such as Free Web Hosting with cPanel, PHP, and no Ads who provide unlimited bandwidth and webspace FOR FREE. If you're really not sure about your security (and want to rely on someone else to handle it), then they're probably your best bet. They have PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET, Python and Perl, all set up and ready to go, and if you find the speeds are lacking, you can always upgrade to a month of premium for a couple of bucks and see if it makes a huge difference.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck buddy.
    Last edited by kez1304; 12-06-11 at 09:53.
    Looking for the perfect beer...

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