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SQL server as a back end for Access Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:11 AM


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Grant Fritchey (5/7/2013)
Sean Lange (5/7/2013)
Grant Fritchey (5/7/2013)
Funny you should ask this because the newest version of Access is running SQL Server. The Jet engine is gone. It's just a really fancy GUI on top of SQL Server Express way deep under the covers.

As to the utility of it, it depends on how you program it. Yes, it works fine with sQL Server as a back-end, but, by default, no other settings modified, it takes locks on tables that make multi-user access difficult. You can just use it as a programming/reporting front end, running everything through stored procedures and, from the SQL Server side, it works as well as any other application. But, this means learning quite a bit of Access Basic (or whatever they call it these days).

So, the simplest, easiest way to use it is not the best for SQL Server. The more complex approach works great with SQL Server.


Interesting that Jet is finally gone. Too bad that one of the biggest challenges of using it (table locks) still exists.

Is the code still VBA?


You're asking the wrong guy. I just know the basics at this point in time. Access is WAY off my radar (thank the gods).


More curiosity than actual interest. I suspect I let my feelings be known about Access in this thread already.


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Post #1450232
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:31 AM


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OK... so in lieu of access what could I use to act as a GUI for the users?
Post #1450243
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:57 AM


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todd.ayers (5/7/2013)
OK... so in lieu of access what could I use to act as a GUI for the users?


Well don't just take my opinion as the direction you should go. I am jaded against Access. Access has worked as the front end for a lot of applications for a lot of people. It is pretty easy to use and the learning curve is not too bad.

If you are looking for alternatives it might depend somewhat on how you want to interact with your application. Should it be available as a website or is a windows application preferred?


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Post #1450254
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:01 AM


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todd.ayers (5/7/2013)
OK... so in lieu of access what could I use to act as a GUI for the users?


Well, there's the rub. There isn't both an easy and effective way to put together interfaces. Access using forms and no code is easy, but not terribly effective. Anything else requires code which generally means it isn't easy.

I'd use Access. For example, I have an Access app connected up to a Windows Azure SQL Database that our local Boy Scout troop is using. It works, but I don't want to program stuff, so it doesn't work terribly well. But considering the number of simultaneous connections in the system (usually 1) there's not an issue.


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Post #1450256
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:13 AM


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todd.ayers (5/7/2013)
The applications consist of an inventory manager db, a workorder db, an ops db, and a lumber inventory db. Each of these databases have multiple tables on the back end with around 20 users total. The users are on a LAN. We are basically one company underneath a parent company located elsewhere but the dev and prod instances are located locally. And the largest database that would reside on the SQL server is around 400 MB


are these existing Access dbs that you want to upgrade to SQL?
you say you have six weeks experience in MS Access...what SQL experience?
ever designed a front end app before?


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Post #1450261
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:24 AM


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are these existing Access dbs that you want to upgrade to SQL?
you say you have six weeks experience in MS Access...what SQL experience?
ever designed a front end app before?


I have no SQL experience and am trying to learn on the fly... With the mentione of lockups in SQL my concern would be multiple users trying to access the front end and getting locked up. Would that be common with using SQL server as the back end and Access at the front end app?
Post #1450264
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:44 AM


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todd.ayers (5/7/2013)
are these existing Access dbs that you want to upgrade to SQL?
you say you have six weeks experience in MS Access...what SQL experience?
ever designed a front end app before?


I have no SQL experience and am trying to learn on the fly... With the mentione of lockups in SQL my concern would be multiple users trying to access the front end and getting locked up. Would that be common with using SQL server as the back end and Access at the front end app?


ok...
minimal Access experience / No SQL experience and I am going to assume no app dev skills either...correct?

you talk about existing databases...what platform are these currently on...who currently manages them...could those people assist you?


if your app is mainly read only / reports then I wouldn't get too hung up about "locks"...
if it going to be mainly data entry (create/amend/delete) then you will need a reasonable level of experience in any front end on how you intend the app to manage situations where possible locking may occur...and manage it gracefully so that the user understands what is happening.

Todd...I do not wish to dissuade you from your pursuit...only to point out that there is no easy way and a steep learning curve ahead;..whatever your preferred option.

Good luck.


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you can lead a user to data....but you cannot make them think
and remember....every day is a school day
Post #1450272
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:52 AM


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ok...
minimal Access experience / No SQL experience and I am going to assume no app dev skills either...correct?

you talk about existing databases...what platform are these currently on...who currently manages them...could those people assist you?


if your app is mainly read only / reports then I wouldn't get too hung up about "locks"...
if it going to be mainly data entry (create/amend/delete) then you will need a reasonable level of experience in any front end on how you intend the app to manage situations where possible locking may occur...and manage it gracefully so that the user understands what is happening.

Todd...I do not wish to dissuade you from your pursuit...only to point out that there is no easy way and a steep learning curve ahead;..whatever your preferred option.

Good luck.


Unfortunately no app dev skills either. I have an IT background and a degree in computer science but nothing concerning RDBMS. The current databases are on the Access 2007 platform and not being currently administered. I was given this position because I already worked for the company and the plant manager knew I had the closest background available to address issues that are arising.

Concerning the Databases themselves there will be 50/50 relationship between entering data within the databases and retrieving reports and other data from those databases.
Post #1450277
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:57 AM


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todd.ayers (5/7/2013)


ok...
minimal Access experience / No SQL experience and I am going to assume no app dev skills either...correct?

you talk about existing databases...what platform are these currently on...who currently manages them...could those people assist you?


if your app is mainly read only / reports then I wouldn't get too hung up about "locks"...
if it going to be mainly data entry (create/amend/delete) then you will need a reasonable level of experience in any front end on how you intend the app to manage situations where possible locking may occur...and manage it gracefully so that the user understands what is happening.

Todd...I do not wish to dissuade you from your pursuit...only to point out that there is no easy way and a steep learning curve ahead;..whatever your preferred option.

Good luck.


Unfortunately no app dev skills either. I have an IT background and a degree in computer science but nothing concerning RDBMS. The current databases are on the Access 2007 platform and not being currently administered. I was given this position because I already worked for the company and the plant manager knew I had the closest background available to address issues that are arising.

Concerning the Databases themselves there will be 50/50 relationship between entering data within the databases and retrieving reports and other data from those databases.


Welcome to the wild, wild world of the data professional. Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times and avoid shrinking databases and using no_lock hints.

But seriously, you're stepping off into some deep weeds here. I'm not saying don't do it. Absolutely. Go for it. Access is actually a good way to learn the basics of both development and database management. But it does have some gotchas. I'd strongly recommend doing some research to track down a book specifically on Access as a front-end development software. They're out there. That will be your best friend going forward. If you get stuck on SQL Server points, always stop by here. If you get stuck on Access stuff, I'm not sure where to send you. Maybe we have an Access forum too. If not here, then try Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) because I'm sure they do.

Best of luck. Go slow. Learn how to take backups of the SQL Server database before you do anything else.


----------------------------------------------------
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
Post #1450279
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:58 AM


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as a start...worth reading

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh313039.aspx


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you can lead a user to data....but you cannot make them think
and remember....every day is a school day
Post #1450280
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