SharePoint vs Access as Front-end Application

We are trying to make a decision on what front-end application environment to use between MS SharePoint or MS Access. In both cases, the work will be done by an outsider vendor. Here is the background info:

We have developed a version of what we needed 6-7 years ago in MS Access.  This application was design to use Access as a front-end and a back-end on two separate databases. However, unfortunately, we did not implement the application due to internal issues not related to the program. Most of the logic in the program still sound however, there are many other needs and changes happend in the company that would need to be included.  Some of the business rules and processes changed over the years.  In addition, since then, we also added another division.  Their needs are more complex and process driven.  We recently virtulized most of our server systems and invested in a new standalone SharePoint 2010 server. It has SQL 2008 back-end and waiting for the development.  We have also decided that SQL to be the back-end for Access if implemented.

I would like to know the following:

1.  Can you list a very high level list of disadvantages/advantages of using SharePoint as a front-end application to work with SQL 2008 over MS Access?
2.  Can the Access code (VBA) be transferred over to SharePoint environment?
3.  If we reused the existing Access code and build on it, and not use ShaprePoint in our application development, what are the disadvantages/advantages of doing so?


Thank you for your help.



big-turkeyAsked:
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CloudedTurtleCommented:
1.  Can you list a very high level list of disadvantages/advantages of using SharePoint as a front-end application to work with SQL 2008 over MS Access?

Adv -  SharePoint is web based, allowing multiple users the ability to access the site and use it without any additional software installed.
Disadv - You must modify your code based to work with the SharePoint framework
There may be other options, like using InfoPath forms services, or just use straight ASP.NET pages to act as your front end.

In my opinion if you are distributing an application to a number of users, and have the support model I highly recommend going web based; depending on the level of complexity of you application, SharePoint may not be the best option because you are forced into dealing with the SharePoint framework. the alternative would be to create standalone ASP.Net pages to handle your front end, and just server then through the SP pages. but at this point, you already have a FE built on ASP.Net, and are only using the SP to force branding.

2.  Can the Access code (VBA) be transferred over to SharePoint environment?
No, SharePoint uses .NET; VBA doesn't trasfer well to .NET

3.  If we reused the existing Access code and build on it, and not use ShaprePoint in our application development, what are the disadvantages/advantages of doing so?
You have to support access
you have to distribute access to all your users (if they don't already have it)



Obviously these are very high level, I am sure that all of them can be argued it really just boils down to what your users expect and what you can fesibly support. Do you have .NET programmers, or SharePoint programmers? What is the support for Access? Do you have VBA programmers? Do your users have access to Access, or will it need to be deployed? etc.
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chewhoungCommented:
There is an Office Developer version which you can generate msaccess application package and distribute it. you do not need every user to buy ms access.
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<There is an Office Developer version which you can generate msaccess application package and distribute it. you do not need every user to buy ms access. >>

 For A2007 and up, the runtime version is now free.  No need to purchase an Office Developer Edition any more.

JimD.
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