When an Access database outgrows its original purpose, the next step is to upgrade to a more powerful system. Before you throw away your Access database, you may want to consider turning your Access applications into web-based applications. This won’t work for every situation, but it could work for you, saving time and money.
Let’s look at a few reasons why turning your Access applications into web-based applications might make sense for you.
Client versus Server
A server-side database such as SQL evaluates requests on the server side. It then returns data to the client. With Jet – the database behind Access – the client does all the work. The server is only responsible for responding to client file requests. Because of this, indexes and unused data slow things down.
To speed up your network, place the Access database on your web server’s local drive. Then build the interface on the web server. This creates an ad hoc server-side database that manages transactions on the server using your code.
No User Installation
With a web-based front end, installation issues are kept to a minimum. Users only require a browser. It doesn’t matter if the user is running Windows or iOS.
Simple Cross-Platform Usage
When creating the web interface and code that the server will use to interact with your database, you can use the language you want. However, it’s recommended that you keep the language simple so that everyone can use it. Thankfully, you get a clean and standard HTML that just about all browsers can use.
If you store the database in a non-shared folder, access is restricted. This means that only the web server’s administrator can access the database. This could be more secure in some cases, but it could also be less secure because the security is left to the web server only.
With VBA, you can determine the NT name of users logged into a database. This allows you to restrict what users can and can’t do. The thing is, this method is limited and doesn’t truly authenticate users. For improved NT authentication, a web interface can use Integrated Windows Security.
No Risk of Corruption
Corruption can be an issue with MS Access. Web-based applications, on the other hand, will not fall victim to corruption because they use an Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) and redundant drives.
More Concurrent Users
Web interfaces allow for more users compared to an Access database. When a page is loaded, the interface is no longer connected to the database. With Access, a connection is maintained, and Jet limits you to a couple hundred concurrent connections. A web application allows for far more concurrent users, unless everyone is hitting the database at the exact same moment, which usually does not happen!
If your Access database is no longer meeting your needs, it’s possible that turning your apps into web-based apps will accommodate your needs. This means that you don’t have to upgrade to a more powerful, complex and costly database – at least yet. If you have more questions about this process and when it’s time to upgrade your database, call Arkware for a free consultation.