Unanswered: help me gauge the effort in my first db setup
Hello there... Happy New Year!
A client of mine, a group of 4 doctors, are interested in implementing a small office network in which they will switch to a digital filing system. I have recommended a Microsoft Server 2003 system, therefore the patient information will be stored in the SQL server.
I have never administered, administrated?? (see, I really need help here!) a database, but have built small databases from scratch in C and with Access, so I feel confident that I could set up a system for them. I need to have some kind of estimate, both a fee and implementation schedule. Can you help me get a handle on the scope of this?
You Access experience will give you a leg up on the learning curve for developing a SQL Server database, but you will still have a lot to learn about administration. Security (which I think would be important for a doctors office) is much different, but is also much better and much simpler in SQL server than in Access. You will also need to write your SQL queries, so I hope that you are somewhat fluent in that and have occasionally looked at the SQL code that Access creates. Be aware that there are some subtle differences between SQL Server SQL and MS Access SQL.
Your best for a small application like this is to create it as an MS Access ADP project. This will allow you to use Access as an efficient interface to SQL Server. This is not the best solution for large applications, but for what you are describing it should be fine. If they want to scale it up in the future, they can drop the Access interface and still retain the SQL Server database with a new interface.
I can't, of course, give you an estimate on how long it will take you to complete it. Personally, since you are learning on the job, I think you should quote them based on how long it would take to develop the database in MS Access and consider any additional time as training and career development.
You have many client tools in sql server that you need to research:
Enterprise Manager - This is a gui interface to manage your sql server instances.
Query Analyzer - Interface to run/test transact-sql statements.
BOL - Books Online - This is the online reference guide to sql server - You will use this frequently as you work with sql server. (Almost) Any question you have, go here first.
Profiler - captures events from sql server - allowing you to debug/analyze a problem/performance.
For books, look for books by Ken Henderson, Mark Spenik and Staneks pocket admin.