convert a custom made microsoft access database to web app

Posted on 2015-02-21
Last Modified: 2015-03-05
Hi all,
I don't know too much about databases, but someone created me a microsoft access database, which i'm guessing it has some custom coding, but not 100% sure, and not sure how to check for that.

I used to use this db for myself, now i hired 2 people in the company, and they work from home, and i want to give them access to the db, I've done it with myself to share it via a shared folder over the internet, but because sharing it like that would give them the access to delete it and/or do some other damage, i prefer to convert it into a web-app, so each user has their own login/pass with their permissions.

basic info about the db: it's a list of my clients and their information, which has a search option which searches all the data for anything. each customer's profile, has name, phone, address, email, account#, service type, and a notes section where we write notes on each call when the customer contacts us for any reason.

if there is a way to convert this to some kind of web-app, or a tool that does it, or even someone/company that does this type of thing for an affordable fee, i'm interested.

thank you
Question by:Giggz
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:Gustav Brock
ID: 40623093
Judging from your scenario and your experience, it would be far easier and faster and cheaper to let the new users connect via the Remote Desktop Client to one or two computers (or a terminal server) in your office.

Any skilled network supporter can set this up literally in minuttes. You should not play with it yourself as a few settings in your router/firewall have to be done.


Author Comment

ID: 40623113
Hi thanks for your response, I've done this actually, but the issue is that the 2 staff members are on slow Internet speeds, running rdp is going to bog them down to a crawl. This is why i think a webapp would solve this issue.
I have a Linux hosting server which i could use to host it, but converting it is the main issue.
LVL 50

Accepted Solution

Gustav Brock earned 168 total points
ID: 40623124
Hmm, in my experience just about any modern internet connection is usable for an RDP connection - at least if you adjust it to use lowest resources possible. Of course, a 56K modem line may prove too slow but who runs these nowadays?

Unfortunately, converting is not the word for moving a desktop application to the web; it's a complete rebuild from scratch.

An alternative, often mentioned by Jim Dettman, is the EQL service:

I haven't used it myself so I can just your attention to it. It may suffer at low bandwidth as well.

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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 40623569
It is not as simple as it sounds and I agree with Gustav, you will be writing something from scratch.  Try a service like microsoft 365, google apps for work or even if all you are needing is to share contacts and notes.

Author Comment

ID: 40624372
thanks everyone for the suggestions so far.

>, won't help as it will be the same problem i'm having, actually maybe even worse because it's proprietary software.
> rdp, their internet speeds are 1-2mbps, i've used rdp for other work required, and it ran horribly slow. the other issue is that those employees have many other tasks, and most of these tasks are done on their own computer, having an rdp session open, and minimizing it to do other work, then going back to rdp session will be a pain. if their internet was fast enough, i would have created all their work on an rdp account per employee, that way they can do all the work on their account. but that will kill their time before they accomplish much work.
> office 365, honestly i never used it, i'm not sure how it will work with my database, and i have no idea what it costs.
> google apps, i thought about it, but that wouldn't work for my needs.
>, doesn't have what i need, and it's over priced for business use, for what it offers.

i thought of another thing, one of our virtual machines is hosting sharepoint 2013, is it possible to move it so it's web-based on sharepoint? and how is it done?

i have dedicated servers in a datacenter, if there is an opensource solution which has my needs, i don't mind hosting one myself. otherwise something web-hosted.

i'm ok with having to rewrite the code if it won't cost an arm and 3 legs ;)
LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:Gustav Brock
ID: 40624379
As for your comments on RDP, I wonder if we speak about the same thing?

I can not at all recognize your experience. We have employees working at clients all day with a mix of an RDP session to our in-house terminal servers and local tasks like Outlook and Excel. They experience virtually no difference between operating the remote apps and the local apps. And that is via 1.5 Mbps lines each shared by about 3 employees.

LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 166 total points
ID: 40624386
Sharepoint integration is not the ticket for this, at least in my opinion. If your at-home employees would have troubles with an RDP connection, they'd hate having to muck around with SP.

Unfortunately, if you can't do RDP or eqldata, then you'll need to rewrite it as a true web app. Access 2013 introduced the concept of web apps, but they are still in the infancy stage. From what you've written, your app might (and i stress "might") be a candidate for a web app, but that would have to be determined by a full review. For the most part, an Access Web App can perform basic CRUD operations (Create, Read, Update and Delete). If you have anything that is based entirely in VBA, and that could NOT be moved to macros, then you would lose that functionality - web apps don't support VBA in any way.

You could perhaps try a "hybrid" app, with your data hosted on a server, and the users connecting to that from their home machines. I've used methods like this, and depending on the amount of data, you can often get a fairly decent to very good experience.
LVL 52

Assisted Solution

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 166 total points
ID: 40624573
Evernote  may or may not be your ticket, but if you are not willing to spend $10/month for what I think you said are 3 users, you may be out of luck because most of these services are per user per month at about that price.

Contacts, notes, documents etc are all things google apps or office 365 will do

You can also use Highrise  or salesforce but you will find their pricing even higher.  

If you try this on your own and you are very familiar with a serverside language, hosting & security and front end programming you can pull of a simple contact and notes web app from scratch inside of a month. Using an admin template will help speed things up but remember there is no server side coding in any of those.  You can also use front end apps from, or and even   Jqueryui is free.  Kendo-ui has 80% of it's widgets open source but important ones like a grid are part of the paid.  But you can use for your grid.

What typically happens is it seems "free" to start this on your own. But I can tell you from seeing others start projects like this and asking help on EE, they tend to go on for 6 months to a year and many times end up just abandoning it and figuring out buying something or somebody would have been easier.  

While it may cost $30 to $100 per month to use a lower end 3rd party system like google apps/office365 or a higher end like salesorce/highrise, when you figure in the value of your time to reinvent the wheel...these other projects become a lot less expensive.

I can concur on using rdp with 1.5Mbts or less that it works fine although I also agree it is not an ideal solution.  What you want to do is simple enough and I would seek out a 3rd party ready made app.

Good luck on your project.

Author Comment

ID: 40628456
it's not that evernote being expensive, but it's overpriced for what it offers. if it's a choice i would rather take office 365 before going for evernote.

but actually what will happen is that i found someone who will convert the db to web app for me for a small fee.

but thank you for the suggestions everyone.

Author Comment

ID: 40629331
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for Giggz's comment #a40628456

for the following reason:

found an expert to do the work myself
LVL 84
ID: 40629332
Your comment is not really a "solution" to this question. Hiring someone to do the work is great, but you asked about tools and methods to convert this to a web app, and several of the Experts provided you with valid suggestions.

Author Comment

ID: 40643832
As i mentioned in my original post even if someone/company can do this for an affordable price, I'm interested. I found the "someone" outside experts exchange, this is the reason i selected my own solution as the answer.

None of the above recommendations are solutions that i would consider, that was the reason i went the route of hiring someone to complete the project.

Never the less, i do appreciate everyone's help and suggestions.
LVL 84
ID: 40644216
EE doesn't allow you (or us) to solicit on the threads, so the Experts could not have written "I'll do it for you for xxx". That would get the question shut down immediately, so you can pretty much discount that option.

Fact remains, however, that you asked for opinions and suggestions, and that's what the Experts provided you. It's impossible to be more specific given the level of information we were provided.

My suggestion is to accept:


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