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Provide view-only access to MS Access database + using Sharepoint to simulate client/server setup

Hi, at work I have developed a relational database and done take-on into MS Access. The idea was originally that this would be a prototype that would eventually be ported to MS SQL, because a client / server setup and is needed due to geographically dispersed users, and because access control must be set up on a per-table basis ... things I believe are not possible in MS Access.

However, I read snippets suggesting that MS Access might be used in Sharepoint in a manner that facilitates geographically dispersed users - could you please advise?

I would also like to know whether read-only access on MS Access is available free of charge, on a similar basis as Adobe Reader?

1 Solution
Are you working on a licenced version of MS Access, in that case there is no additional cost for administration.

To make the application read only you need to set the user permission from windows explorer where the file is hosted.
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:

Please be aware that this is an extremely complex question, and a simple "Answer" is not possible without us knowing all of the intimate aspects of this project.
-Your Skill level in Access MySQL, web development, ...etc
-The scope of this application
-Your budget
-Your time horizon.

There are many ways to share data over a wide geographic area. The ones applicable here would probably be:

1. Use a web platform (.net, PHP, ...etc) and MySQL/SqlServer

2. Use Access and Sharepoint.

3. Use a Access Web database

..each of these technologies could be the subject of an entire book or college level class, ...so a real discussion in a forum like this may not be possible.

If it were me, I would go were ever your skills are strongest.

<whether read-only access on MS Access is available free of charge, on a similar basis as Adobe Reader?>
Not really, there is a free  "Run time" version of Access , but you can edit the data (but this gets us a bit off the subject, because there are other ways to make an Access app "Read only")

Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
You can also create the database as a standard Access FrontEnd/BackEnd, and use RDP to allow remote users to work with it. That is often the simplest choice, if you have the budget to setup and maintain an RDP system.

There's also www.eqldata.com, which is a paid service that will host your Access db online. It's not cheap, but when you consider the overhead of setting up and maintaining an RDP system it might make sense.

Unless your needs are fairly simple I'd stay away from the web databases. They're nice, but they are still very early in the development cycle, and they don't really have the feature set necessary to support a complex operation.

As far as Sharepoint and Access ... just say no <g>. That was a poor idea from the start, and it hasn't gotten better.

As far as readonly, you can set your forms to be AllowEdits = False and AllowAdditions=False and AllowDelete = False, and users would then be able to see the data but not manipulate it. Note they could still do so through queries, or directly in the tables if you don't lock the app down fully.

As Jeff said, this is a very complex question, and one that can take many different approaches. Pick which one is best, and then ask more focused questions to receive more complete advice.
lina_wentzelAuthor Commented:
Thank you LSMConsulting - your answer as well as Jeff Coachman's give me very good perspective and direction on what I see is not a simple topic - will investigate all your suggestions and come back if I have more specific questions.
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