VB Data Entry Application without Microsoft Access

I need to build an application for QAQC and Data Entry.  We have field crews that download information to gps devices and export that data to access tables.  I would like to build a vb application that could import that access table and edit it using a form.  I currently have a very complex access application that does the job, but we would like to share with clients without asking to install ms access and with a more professional (unique) look.  I have visual studio 2008 and am sure that this should be possible, I just need some guidance as to how and where to get started.
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Jon500Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, from your "I know this should be possible" statement above, I thought "this" meant a migration and not a rewrite from scratch.

What you need is to create a data-access tier using ADO.Net to Access. There are entire books written on this subject so I am not so sure how to advise here, but I think I can point you in the right direction with respect to free web sites that discuss this matter.

I would prototype your GUI using VB.Net and then wire-up your tables/queries using ADO.Net. I have attached a code sample that includes a connection string and the code required to pull data using a SQL query into a dataset table (see attached).

A good starting point for you is here:

I hope this helps. My intentions are to get you started on the right track, as you requested.


Dim ConnString As String = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=C:\pathinfo\yourdb.mdb"
Dim SQLString As String = "SELECT * FROM YourAccessTable"
Dim OleDBConn1 As System.Data.OleDb.OleDbConnection = 
   New System.Data.OleDb.OleDbConnection(ConnString)
Dim DataSet1 As New DataSet()
Dim OleDbDataAdapter1 As System.Data.OleDb.OleDbDataAdapter = 
   New System.Data.OleDb.OleDbDataAdapter(SQLString, OleDBConn1)
OleDbDataAdapter1.Fill(DataSet1, "DataSetTableName")
DataGridView1.DataSource = DataSet1.Tables("DataSetTableName")

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You are really facing a very difficult problem. I have used MS Access for years as well as VB6 and VB.Net. There are (sadly) no migration paths from MS Access to the other two programming environments. In fact, it is even difficult to migrate VB6 to VB.Net, even though two companies claim to do it well.

The problem is that Access uses a different form-processing subsystem. Also, there are thing in Access (such as macros) that just don't exist as such in VB6/.Net.

Your best bet is to preserve the database schema (tables, relations, queries, etc.) and write a new GUI on top of it. You can migrate your Access schema to SQL Server with relative ease, but the user interface is a different matter.

My advice is to try to choose a GUI this time that is more future-proofed. For example, Windows Forms apps are nearly ubiquitous but Silverlight will run on virtually any browser. Lots to think about.

Sorry I couldn't be more optimistic. Don't penalize me because I could give you a path to follow--there simply is no viable one in this case other than a hand-coded solution, and that is the answer to your question.

Good luck,
tiggapoohtvAuthor Commented:
I am fine with starting from scratch that is the meaning of my question.  I have tried and know it is impossible to simply migrate.  I want to start from scratch and build an app that i can package and send to another user that takes the data and gui along with it.  Id like to be able to import new tables to this app as well.
tiggapoohtvAuthor Commented:
I will look into the wonderful informatiion you have given me... Thanks!
Thank you and good wishes,
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