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What is the best way to install server-client applications?

Posted on 2007-04-07
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OK, none of my tech buddies can give me a straight answer to this question. And, the scenario comes up with each new version of the program. I am not even sure if this program is the definition of a server-client application.

We have a local area network all running Windows XP Professional with a SBS 2003 R2 server. The most important daily application is our electronic medical record. I generally install it by installing the program on each computer and then installing it on the server. When the program is run for the first time, it asks what database you wish to use, i.e. the local one or to browse to the database on the server. Obviously, we choose to use the database on the server. So, in this setup, each user is using the software program on his or her desktop and accessing the database on the server. FYI: the database is Microsoft Access and while the full program does not have to be on the server in order for this configuration to run, the Access database does have to be in the EMR folder on our database D: drive to work as the database.

The other way to set it up, which we have not done, would be to run it like our office management software is designed to run. Install the full program on the server and share out the executable file, copying it to each desktop. This does have the advantage of making up grades much easier. I have at least tried it on one machine that way and cannot tell any speed differences.

Is either way better than another? All server applications intended to be run in the latter configuration?

Thanks.
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Question by:Bert2005
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by:sirbounty
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Yes, for a server application, that is the proper way to set it up.  Not all apps will work this way, of course, but those designed to should, with minimal effort.
Especially since you have successfully tested this on one system, I would agree that this is the route you should take.

~sirbounty
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Lee W, MVP earned 400 total points
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I would suggest you follow the directions from the developer on how to install it for network use.  Access databases, in my experience, corrupt WAY too easily.  Installing the application on the clients and the server may be keeping the database from corrupting (one of the best practices for access is to have local instances of the front end accessing a single instance of the backend, which, in a sense, is what you have when you install it on multiple clients.  

I would also check your licensing and suggest that if this were a well designed application, it would be using an MSDE or SQL database and not access.
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by:Bert2005
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Hi. Well, that's two opposing views from two geniuses, lol. Actually, if you go to the site below, it does recommend installing on each PC. Of course, it pretty much talks about peer-to-peer and never even mentions a server set up. Not that it's all that different for this program except for the redundancy and the easy backups. I have a RAID 5 and a rather extensive over the top back up system. We have message boards for the AmazingCharts users, and you would die if you heard some of the backup methods. Most back up the main database to a thumb drive and take it home. This is mission critical data of patient medical data. But, I digress.

Leew, I agree about SQL Server. I have advised that many times. I think Microsoft even makes a free version. The entire software was made by a physician who had never even heard of Visual Basic six years ago so there is a lot of code which could be better.

So, what do you think. Based on his recommendations, do you both think I should go with the loading it on the clients as well?

http://www.amazingcharts.com/demo/index.htm
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by:sirbounty
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Not opposing...if the site recommends it - then I'd certainly go that route.  I agree with leew - go with what the vendor suggests...especially if it's an app that contains sensitive data! :^)
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by:Bert2005
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While leew's answer is the perfect answer for my application, I feel it is only right to reward sirbounty as well. Mainly, because it lets me know that the other way is a viable possibility for some apps, and because he was very helpful as well. I have a very difficult time not rewarding those that give good input, plus I know that you are not only in it to get points but to help.

Thanks.
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by:sirbounty
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"plus I know that you are not only in it to get points but to help"

I don't know what you're talking about...I'm only here for the points...haha!  

Just kidding of course - I think you'll find most of the 'real' experts are here because they like the challenges presented and they love helping others.  The 'contest' to be the best is a nice add-in, and I think what makes this site so exceptionally addictive!

Glad I could offer some assistance here.  Best of luck to you.

~sirbounty
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by:Bert2005
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Thanks. I am sure I will run into you again on another question.
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