I have now developed quite a few Access applications that run mainly in small - medium organisations.
They are all business process / data manipuation intensive applications - order processing, production scheduling, shop floor reporting, quote production, pricing, client management and performance reporting etc. Some are pretty advanced in terms of calculations and status’s or condition of an item/order etc. One system uses treeview to display a bill of materials.
I only started the company about 6 years ago but during a career in production and distribution management and IT management I had used Access a lot – though not used much VBA. Prior to all that for 2- 3 years I was a COBOL programmer.
I have loved Access. But I have been keeping an eye on its future. More and more I see opportunities to use some of the systems (or parts of them) I have developed as internet accessed applications – for easy remote use, or as cut down tools on websites for customer use.
Jim Detmann’s pod cast via EE on the future of Access last week tipped the balance and I have decided to seriously look at learning an alternative. I immediately looked to .net (I already have a copy of Visual Studio 2008 - I won it…) and I’ve started reading up on MSDN and looking at the walkthroughs on Visual Studio. Also most of my customers tend to use Office and many of my systems make use of the integration.
BUT I thought that seeing as I would need to invest a lot of time learning I would make sure .net was the right choice.
For developing business process / data manipulation intensive applications like those above for small to medium companies, what should I learn? Given that the ideal solution - a fully web enabled Access - doesn’t look likely :-( .
If the answer is .net, am I looking at ASP.Net/C++(C#?) and SQL server combination solutions? VB would be a lot easier for me to learn but I thought if I was going to invest the time I might as well go for the most future proof option. Learning SQl Server would also give me a potential route to upgrade a growing Access system.