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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 04:58 AM
Post#1



Posts: 246
Joined: 28-April 02
From: Heathfield, England


Hi, I want to develop a website using Access as the database. (I'm using Access simply because I don't know SQL nor website languages so am trying to limit my learning to one thing and not both!) I will not always be able to connect to the internet when developing the website such as on a plane or staying in out of the way places or hotels that still charge and arm and a leg for the privilege of connecting to their £20 router if they have one and it works at an acceptable speed! What changes would I need to make, if any, to my laptop so that I can develop the website on the laptop and then copy everything to a server later? This is if that is possible!

--------------------
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Marsupilami72
post Nov 23 2016, 05:38 AM
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From: Germany


To make it short: It is not possible to use Access as database for a website.


You can connect an Access application to a database Server over the internet, but that would be something like MySQL or MS SQL-Server.

Or you can create a desktop application and connect to it via remote desktop.


What is your database supposed to do? And who will be using it?
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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 06:28 AM
Post#3



Posts: 246
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From: Heathfield, England


Hi Marsupilami and thanks for replying. I have a database of sporting fixtures and results on my laptop that I am thinking of moving to a server initially for my own use by having what I will call a 'private' website before maybe publishing for others to use.

I am confused by your ascertion "It is not possible to use Access as database for a website". If I want to open a New database Access offers various web database templates and Microsoft gives a short tutorial https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/of...ffice.14).aspx)! I think I need help understanding the apparent contradiction.

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ScottGem
post Nov 23 2016, 07:26 AM
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To understand your previous answer you need to understand what Access is. My blog has an article that explains in detail. But the short version is Access is a development platform with many components. One of those components is a database engine. While it is possible to use the native ACE engine that comes with Access as the data store on a WEB site, you have to understand ASP programming to do so. And the ACE engine is not the best suited for this.

Starting with 2010, Microsoft has been trying to make it easy for Access users to put a database app on the WEB. The first attempt uses SharePoint lists and failed miserably. The second attempt with 2013, use Access Web Apps (AWAs), This stored the data in an Azure back end and just used SharePoint to store the WEB pages. This required a subscription to Office 365 that had development rights. Since the WEB feature of 2010 is a dead end I would not recommend using 2010. But, because of the need to store the data in Azure, developing in 2013, can be problematic if you don't have Internet access.

--------------------
Scott <>
Scottgem's Blog
Microsoft Access MVP since 2007
Author: Microsoft Office Access 2007 VBA
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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 07:47 AM
Post#5



Posts: 246
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From: Heathfield, England


Ahhh, OK, thanks ScottGem I think I get it now ... you can use Access linked with something else but it's likely to be a complicated disaster and better to learn something else! So is that likely to be PHP and MYSQL or is there a more modern, improved way of publishing a database?

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ScottGem
post Nov 23 2016, 08:40 AM
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MySQL is a database engine, PHP is a programming language. PHP is often used with database driven pages.

There are several back end data repositories like MySQL, SQL Server, Azure, Oracle, Postgres and more that can be used as the data store for a WEB page. There are also several technologies for designing interactive pages.

--------------------
Scott <>
Scottgem's Blog
Microsoft Access MVP since 2007
Author: Microsoft Office Access 2007 VBA
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GroverParkGeorge
post Nov 23 2016, 08:59 AM
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It might help to understand that ALL database applications, including your local Access accdb sitting on your laptop, consist of a minimum of two components. One is the database, or data, layer. This can be ACE in Access--as Scott pointed out--MySQL, SQL Server, or one of a number of other database engines. The interface through which you and other users interact with that data is the other. The interface is where you create forms, or screens, reports, and so on. It contains the code as well. In certain applications, there can be a middle tier as well, in which business logic is coded.

Now, in the web environment you have to use coding languages, as well as interface design elements, that work in that environment. Access is a Windows based application, not intended for, nor suited for, web development for a couple of reasons. First, the ACE engine is probably not secure and robust enough to really be appropriate for all but the most simplistic things; don't forget that you are potentially exposing your web site to anyone in the world with a browser and internet connection and time to figure out how to get to YOUR data. Second, the interface elements in Access need the Windows Operating System to run. That is, NOT a browser.

The point here is that talking about "an Access database on the web" is sort of meaningless. It's not just a "complicated disaster", it's just not something one can do.

As Scott also pointed out, there are a couple of alternatives using Access as the DESIGN tool. While the 2010 version turned out to be a dead-end, it did have some advantages over other options. It was a familiar Access design interface. If you know how to create tables in Access and how to design forms in Access, you can get up to speed fairly quickly. In fact, forms designed for an Access Web Database run both on the Windows desktop and in the browser. Moreover, because the tables are implemented on SharePoint as lists, and because the design incorporates local caching of all data in those tables, you can work in a disconnected mode as well as online. In other words, if you get up in an airplane and no longer have an internet connection, you can work offline and have your changes synched back to the live data store when your internet connection is restored at your destination. Of course, that also means you're not working with up-to-the-minute data in those situations. And it does require a hosted Office 365 account if your organization doesn't have its own SharePoint site on-premises. I assume you do not.

The 2013-2016 Access Web App version is still different. It consists of a SQL Azure database in one of Microsoft's data centers around the world, with a purely browser-based interface. That means it requires Access 2013 or 2016 to be able to design and build tables, and to create the interface. Because the interface itself is purely browser-based, it runs only when opened in a browser. It also requires an Office 365 account (starting at $60 a year, paid annually) to support that AWA. There are limitations here, imposed by the nature of what you are doing. For one, this implementation requires an internet connection. You can't get to the data any other way. No off-line caching. It also means that, as implemented, these things are quite limited in functionality compared to the more robust interface and coding possible in a traditional Access accdb.

For your purposes, therefore, the idea of an Access database in a website has very limited applicability. If you are willing to accept the risks, and if you can find a web hosting service that still supports deploying mdbs or accdbs in them, you can create a "database" in Access, move it to the hosting site, and create a browser based interface to use it. I don't think that's very common any longer, and I'm not even aware of any hosting services that still support it. Most offer either SQL Server or MySQL anyway. So there's little point in considering it.

PHP is certainly one viable tool to create an interface. There are others, classic ASP, ASP.Net (using C# or VBA.Net), and others. Usually we talk of "development stacks". That means when you choose the PHP-MySQL stack, you are going to be working with the technologies that work well together. A more natural path for an experienced Access developer might be ASP.Net, though. It's 100% up to you and you'll get a lot of support for each of the alternatives.

And still another avenue that was raised, I believe, is along the lines of a remote desktop. In this design, you do not have a web-based application. Your Access database application remains on a local Windows PC and you use remote connection software to get to it. For example, most of my client support work these days involves exactly that approach. I use a VPN and Remote Desktop to get to a dedicated workstation inside the client's network to work on their Access databases. There are also a number of ways to implement this solution, although they do have the same limitation with regard to connectivity. You must have a live internet connection to use them.

And finally, you pointed out that the 2013 Access design interface DOES offer you a choice of a Desktop or Web application. Correct, that's an alternative, BUT with a big caveat. In order to do that you must first have an active Office 365 account which supports it. The "Business" and "Enterprise" tiers of O365 accounts all do. None of the "Home" versions do. Beware of getting the right kind of account if you decide to pursue that route. Also, be prepared to learn a whole new way to create an interface. That's true of any of the webby approaches, though.

This is a long and complicated topic, and we've only scratched the surface. Post back with additional questions and we'll see what we can do to help. And be prepared for some disagreement among even "the experts" on what is the "best" approach.

.

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DanielPineault
post Nov 23 2016, 10:19 AM
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As others have said Access is not the right technology for such a project. Also, note that the learning curve is quite steep (New Back-end - MySQL, Front-End Language - PHP/.Net/...., HTML, JavaScript/jQuery, CSS, FTP, New development environment, ...). If you go the route of PHP (or even any other language) do take a look at using a FrameWork as they will provide you with lots of plug-and-play functionalities (Authentication, ...).


QUOTE
What changes would I need to make, if any, to my laptop so that I can develop the website on the laptop and then copy everything to a server later?

You'd need to install a web development software such as Dreamweaver (Paid), NetBean (Free), et al. then you can create a project area to do your development and then synch it to your server whenever you have a connection using FTP. Some program has synchronization tools included, others not. If you need an FTP app, look at FileZilla (Free).

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
Professional Help: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: http://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...
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Marsupilami72
post Nov 23 2016, 10:37 AM
Post#9



Posts: 429
Joined: 17-April 12
From: Germany


You can install a complete webserver on your laptop and use this for development and testing:

https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html

MariaDB is basically a free version of MySQL...
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GroverParkGeorge
post Nov 23 2016, 10:44 AM
Post#10


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MS SQL Server Express is the free version of MS SQL Server.

If you already have Windows installed, you can also set up a development IIS .

You do have a wealth of choices.

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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 12:31 PM
Post#11



Posts: 246
Joined: 28-April 02
From: Heathfield, England


Thanks everybody ... I know and understand just about most of what you have put I just don't put things as technical as you. I would say "PHP is the website and works with MYSQL to dump tables on a screen" but you would say something much more eloquently and technically structured than that! smile.gif To draw this to a close it's simple ... don't be drawn into Microsoft's claims that you can use Access with a website, it doesn't work satisfactorily!

I've set up an IIS on a previous PC mostly out of curiosity so going back top my original question ... if I set up an IIS now and use it to develop a website with database will it be an easy job to copy that across to a 'proper' online server later?

--------------------
Never doubt the courage of the French - they discovered that snails are edible!
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GroverParkGeorge
post Nov 23 2016, 12:38 PM
Post#12


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I have to take exception to your statement: "... Microsoft's claims that you can use Access with a website,..."

To my knowledge, no one at Microsoft has, or would, make such a claim. Please cite the place where you did say see that, or something akin to it.

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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 12:51 PM
Post#13



Posts: 246
Joined: 28-April 02
From: Heathfield, England


Well to cite two ...

Firstly if you want to open a new database Access offers you a Blank Web Database and many templates for themed Web Databases, and

Secondly https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/of...office.14).aspx (a Microsoft webpage) instructs on "Creating Web Databases with Access 2010 and Access Services"

--------------------
Never doubt the courage of the French - they discovered that snails are edible!
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DanielPineault
post Nov 23 2016, 01:05 PM
Post#14


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You can create Web Database using Office365.com (and a few other hosts) but they allow no VBA, so you have to be able to do everything you need using Macros.

If the web is your goal, alternative technology is advisable. If you're going to invest time and energies and money in a web application then use tool that provide you with the full power of the web!

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
Professional Help: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: http://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...
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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 01:09 PM
Post#15



Posts: 246
Joined: 28-April 02
From: Heathfield, England


Thanks Daniel, that's the message I'm getting clear and simple. I just thought Access would enable me to get something up and running on the quick to be polished later but I'm getting the clear message no, no, no!

--------------------
Never doubt the courage of the French - they discovered that snails are edible!
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DanielPineault
post Nov 23 2016, 01:22 PM
Post#16


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It isn't too hard to put together a Web Database, if speed is what you are after, but in the long run, in my experience, the functionalities will be lacking. I explored them some time ago and then ran the other way. Sadly, IMHO, MS is years off the mark with Access and the Web. Very sad!

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
Professional Help: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: http://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...
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GroverParkGeorge
post Nov 23 2016, 02:15 PM
Post#17


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From: Newcastle, WA


Note that neither of those is a promise that you can use "Access with a website" except in a very broad sense, and in neither case does it mean that Access itself is part of any "website". Both are methods by which you can create an application that can run in a browser. Perhaps that is a subtle point, but one worth understanding.

In the 2010 version, for example, "Access" is the design interface tool through which you created tables (actually, SharePoint lists) that are hosted on a SharePoint site (not on a website), along with forms that can then be run in a browser using browser technology. These also reside in SharePoint, not a website. The cool thing about them, as noted, is that those same forms CAN also be run in a local Access accdb, linking to those tables. Not what one would call "using Access with a website". Also, because the lists are cached locally inside the accdb, you can work totally disconnected from "any" web connection. I.e. no websites anywhere in sight.

And, in the 2013 version, again, "Access" is ONLY the design interface through which you create tables in a SQL Azure database. This SQL Azure database is hosted in a data center, not "in a website". Also in this environment, you create forms that run in a browser using browser technology. Access is only tangentially involved as the development application tool, and NOT as a way to actually use those Access Web Apps. Hence, the idea of "using Access with a website" doesn't attach.

As Daniel has observed, there are more robust ways to develop true web applications, but one very easily create a basic Access Web App in less than an hour. It's not going to extend to what most of us think of as a "web application". It is a functional, self-contained, application.

As we move forward, we're going to see a lot more exciting stuff coming. Take a look at PowerApps, for example.

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firlandsfarm
post Nov 23 2016, 05:01 PM
Post#18



Posts: 246
Joined: 28-April 02
From: Heathfield, England


Grover, I don't care how broad the sense, you asked for citations and I gave them, broad or otherwise. Microsoft clearly put out there that Access can be used for websites and it's that perception that I was referring to. If a car has a top speed of 100mph but the manufacturer suggests it can do 125mph the fact that it can only do 100mph does not mean the manufacturer did not claim 125!

I wasn't doubting there are more robust ways to do things, that became clear early on and I never disputed that.

--------------------
Never doubt the courage of the French - they discovered that snails are edible!
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DanielPineault
post Nov 23 2016, 07:35 PM
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Sorry George, there is no disputing that MS seems to, currently, be investing in PowerApps so they have potential, but currently they couldn't event replace web database technology so they truly are not worth looking at today in any serious way beyond being aware of the technology. We are all in a hold pattern waiting to see what, if and when MS decides to move the product forward for us Access developers.

--------------------
Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
Professional Help: http://www.cardaconsultants.com
Free MS Access Code, Tips, Tricks and Samples: http://www.devhut.net

* Design should never say "Look at me". It should always say "Look at this". -- David Craib
* A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it's not that good! -- Martin LeBlanc


All code samples, demonstration databases, links,... are provided 'AS IS' and are to be used at your own risk! Take the necessary steps to check, validate ...
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