What front-end / back-end setup is best?

Posted on 2006-03-22
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
On a network with about 10 users, Access 2000 databases, XP Pro, what is the best way to
set up front-ends and back-ends?
Should every user have a front-end on his PC or should everyone have a shortcut to
one front-end? Or should each user have a shortcut to a seperate replica of the front-end?

I thought replicas were only useful for synchronizing back-ends.

I'm surprised to walk in to a job and see different setups and I wonder if there
is any reason that these have been built different ways.

Question by:machine_run
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    If you're running over a LAN, keep the BE on the server, and give each user their own copy of the FE, either on their HDD (what I personally do) or on the server I guess.

    Replicas are generally used for when people can't access the data from one source, ie sales reps out on site on a laptop.


    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    1) do not use Replicas.  Replication is only applicable when you have some users who t\otally disconnect from the network (travelling with a laptop for instance).

    2) I prefer the Single 'FE" with Links on each user's desktop - makes updating the FE a breeze - and I have never had any problems with that configuration.  Others will argue the other way - a copy of the FE on each Desktop., but to me that makes it a real challenge to make sure that, if and when you change the FE, everyone is now using the newest version.

    LVL 84

    Accepted Solution

    Typically all users should have their own frontend, and all frontends should connect to the same backend.

    You are correct: Replicas should not be used to deploy frontends. Replicas should be data only, and typically you would distribute a replica to a "group" of users (like a remote office, for example). All of those remote users would connect to the replica. Replicas should never deploy objects; doing so almost guarantees corruption of the replicas (and eventually the design master).

    As network speed increases, we seem to be seeing an increase in the "link to the frontend on remote server" setup, however the only benefit this provides is easier deployment (at the expense of performance, of course).
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    the way i do it is have each user have their own front end on their local hardrive.  keep the main one on the server.  then when u update the one on the server, when someone goes into their local ones on the hard drive, a seperate program deletes the local one and updates it.  this makes it very easy,.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    A little late, but I'm going to echo what everyone else here has said.

    I've developed a few database apps in my day and I've found that the best way to go is BE on the network and FE on each users machine.  

    Typically what I do with my apps to make new FE deployment easier is write a VB EXE that I stick on the network and tell everyone to run.  That EXE then copies the new FE off the network down to their local hard drive and also adds their name to the "update log" so that i can track users that have updated.  

    Anyways, that's what has worked best for me in the past.

    One other point to make note of is that some companies are going to "locked down" PCs where each users PC is "locked" and they can't write anything to the hard drive.  I know this sounds silly, but in this day in age of spyware, adware, viruses, etc. some companies are going toward this locked down approach and all of your data storage is on the network.  All software, patches, hot fixes, etc. are installed remotely by Administrators.  Anyways, just throwing that out there to point out that the FE on the users hard drive is not always possible.

    Hope this helps.

    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    Along with the above votes for local FE for each user I like to put static tables, personal tables (user settings) and temp
    tables for those impossible reports into the FE. I find this makes enough things easier so it outweighs any issues I have with distribution.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks to all.

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