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ecovindaloo
post Sep 13 2019, 10:56 AM
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From: New York Area, USA


I just found out that an Access database that I upgraded needs to be used out in the field for a construction company. They are all using iPads.

Besides using RDP are there any solutions for running Access on an iPad? Can a virtual machine be created on an iPad?
This post has been edited by ecovindaloo: Sep 13 2019, 10:56 AM
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GroverParkGeorge
post Sep 13 2019, 11:03 AM
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MS Access is a Windows application that runs on Microsoft Windows devices.

If you can provide an RPD to a Windows desktop running your Access application that runs on the iPad, I guess that might be the optimal approach.

I'd be interested to know, too, if iPads support Virtual Machines. I know that Macs do.

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ecovindaloo
post Sep 13 2019, 11:38 AM
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Thanks for the response.

I came across a program called Dataglass which says it allow Access to run on an iPad. Have you ever heard of it?
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GroverParkGeorge
post Sep 13 2019, 11:52 AM
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Sorry, I never heard of Dataglass. Their website seems to offer the option of consuming Access data through their smart device interface, sort of similar to what PowerApps do for other data sources. All I can see, though, is that it connects to the existing data via a new interface you'd have to design and build. If you were to go that route, you might consider moving the data out of Access and into a "cloud-based" database that would be better suited for that kind of remote work environment.

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My Real Name Is George. Grover Park Consulting is where I do business.
How to Ask a Good Question
Beginning SQL Server
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ecovindaloo
post Sep 13 2019, 01:11 PM
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The more I search around on the internet it seems like using RDP might be the only realistic way to run Access on an iPad.
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nvogel
post Sep 13 2019, 03:51 PM
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I suggest you don't restrict yourself to Access. It seems like a web-based application would make more sense if you want to support different OSs and mobile devices.
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MadPiet
post Sep 13 2019, 04:16 PM
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PowerApp?
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ecovindaloo
post Sep 13 2019, 04:53 PM
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This was an old Access 97 program that's been upgraded. I don't think the company would want to pay the extra expense of moving the Access database into a web based program at this point.
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GroverParkGeorge
post Sep 14 2019, 09:12 AM
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At the risk of being offensive, the old saying, "Penny wise and Pound foolish" comes to mind.

The client want the benefits of a modern web app running on iPads but don't want to invest in getting there? I've had that same discussion with clients over the years. It's a hard one, to be sure. In the end, though, any kind of make-do work-around comes with its own costs.

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My Real Name Is George. Grover Park Consulting is where I do business.
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ecovindaloo
post Sep 14 2019, 09:20 AM
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The other problem is when this Access conversion project was first discussed no one at the company said that the outside users were using iPads. If I had known that from the start I probably would have told them that it would be better to create something web based.

This is the first time the company is trying to use a database program out in the field.
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GroverParkGeorge
post Sep 14 2019, 09:25 AM
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Perfect opportunity to help them stretch. Good luck.

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How to Ask a Good Question
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jleach
post Sep 15 2019, 06:17 AM
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I would guess the easiest entry to this (in terms of investment, if not user friendliness) would be to download an RDP client for the iPad and try to do it that way. Then you have no changes at all to your infrastructure (a relatively simple matter of hosting an Access on a Windows system and allowing RDP connections).

But if I worked for someone and they gave me an iPad with RDP to use an Access program (or any other program that required a mouse pointer...), I wouldn't be very pleased to say the least.

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GroverParkGeorge
post Sep 15 2019, 08:36 AM
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But it would present an opportunity to recreate a touch friendly interface for the Access Database Application. ohyeah.gif

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Beginning SQL Server
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ecovindaloo
post Sep 15 2019, 09:54 AM
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From what I've been told if this company decides to go the RDP route they would have to open up their firewall and they may not want to do that.
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jleach
post Sep 15 2019, 10:05 AM
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Not necessarily. If it's only intranet (internal) stuff, they wouldn't.

In fact, if they're planning on using Access on a mobile device and have a shared backend, then it's impossible to do so without having established a network connection (unless they want to do replication, which is pretty much crazy).

Even if they did, RDP would only be one port. If you switch to SQL Express, you would have to open a TCP port for the database connection. If they were to go with something web-based, they'd still need to have a port open to host the backend (usually https, but it's still an "open firewall" - or host the backend outside their network to avoid that, but that wouldn't make any sense either)

A well-configured network has (has to have) some pieces of the firewall open in order to work. With RDP at least you can put extra security measures on (we use Duo for MFA on RDP sessions and love it).


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DanielPineault
post Sep 15 2019, 10:59 AM
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I such a scenario, using a data in the field, over an Internet connection, I'd be turning to proper web technologies (PHP, .Net, ...). I wouldn't even consider Access for this.

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AlbertKallal
post Sep 15 2019, 11:56 AM
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iPads (well, it is the same OS as their smartphones) supports a VPN. So, no, you don't really need to open up the fire wall.

No one would suggest just opening up some port, and then allowing some internet connection to the great wild outside internet.

So if anyone can just type in a URL, or say a IP address and get to some Remote Desktop logon, then their setup is wrong (not secure).

There are a number of VPN clients for iOS. FortClient (a VPN client) runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.

So, no question that some type of VPN setup will as a normal course of action be used here. Thus, just opening some RDP port is certainly way too risky these days.

So, a good number of options exist, and just opening up the RDP server to outside use without a secure VPN connection is really out of the question.

A bit safer is to use app publishing, and thus users hit a web site first, login, and then are able from the browser to click on published applications, and those published applications in fact are a RDP config file that the client side consumes and launches.

So, yes, some fire wall config may be required, but as a general rule, it no more, (or less) then say a company that wants to expose say a web server on their network to the web. This is done all the time.

However, in place of having to run a web server to then launch RDP, a VPN is typically used here.

To be fair, windows published applications are REALLY nice, since when you click on the published application, the client side (say on windows computers) will ONLY see the application without a border or even being able to tell the application is RDP (it is really cool - if I had time, I would publish a few windows applications, and let people here try this. You simply can't tell the difference between the local applications on your computer, or that you are running the app via RDP. (these config settings can be used without a published RDP application, but the web server does all that work automatic).

Anyway, I am straying off topic. The simple bottle line:
users on the road that need to use the "company" network, such as printers, shared folders, SQL server, or remote desktop simply need a VPN. Once the VPN is setup, then any printer, shared folders, SQL server, RDP, or anything that is available when you on a desktop at work is now the same no matter what location you are. (so, you are part of the company network when when you use that VPN. If if you browse network neighborhood, you see yourself, and all of the other computers at work. So, you become part of the company network as if you had hard plugged i your internet cable from your workstation at work to your laptop computer.

This is what a VPN does (Virtual Private Network). So, once you are part of that company network, then what you are able to do is the same as when you are actual hard wired into that network (with a Ethernet cable). So, the VPN extends that company network out, and you can use any wi-fi, or any type of internet connection at home etc., and once you launch the VPN client, you are now connected and part of the company's network as if you were physical on site.

So, no company is just going to simple "open up" some RDP port and allow "any" one on the internet to connect. Such users will require a VPN connection FIRST and then they will still have to logon.

So, yes, some kind of port setting will be required, but it likely will be a VPN, or it should be at at the very least. So, users will have to launch + connect via VPN first, and then launch the RDP application.

Regards,
Albert D. Kallal (Access MVP 2003-2017)
Edmonton, Alberta Canada


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