I need to take the data entry portion of my database and make it web enabled. How do I start?

making a web enabled screen.  How do I start?
Startrac98Asked:
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PatHartmanCommented:
Why?  Are you going to make the app accessible to everyone?  Do you need to support remote users?  Do you know any other programming languages?  You are probably going to need ASP or VB.net or whatever people are using these days to create web apps.  If you have the latest version of SharePoint and Access 2013, there is a very small possibility that an Access web app might work for you but you will need to a very detailed needs assessment and ensure that the Access web app can actually do what you need to do.  This is a very weak technology with lots of limitations and there is no conversion path anyway.  You will need to rewrite the app from scratch using macros rather than VBA.  Make sure you can find a macro that does what you need or there is no way to do what you want.

The best option for sharing an Access app with remote users is Citrix.  No changes are required to the Access app and it is very fast for the remote users, sometimes even faster than for the local users due to the way Citrix works.
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Nick67Commented:
making a web enabled screen

What's the budget?
Small:
Your backend will need to be on a web-friendly platform (preferably SQL Server Express Editon)
And then you download the latest version of Visual Studio free editions
And then you begin the steep learning curve of figuring out ASP.NET
Greenfield, I'd go with MVC 4.5, probably
Learn C# and JavaScript -- although I do VB.Net and make my code almost all server-side so I am not cursing {;} the syntax.
And then try to embody all the business logic of your form in ASP.NET and roll it out.

Medium:
Citirix and/or Remote Desktop with big enough host machines and good enough network connections to get the job done.

Large:
SharePoint, SQL Server, Server 2012, WIn 7+ Enterprise, Office 2013 and maybe build a hybrid app.

Building it in Access, today?
Not happening.
Tomorrow doesn't look good either.
Been waiting a dozen years for MS to bring the tools to the table to translate MS Access VBA-driven objects to the interwebs.
I may die before the tools ever arrive.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
There have been many posts on this subject over the years...
Bottom line is that this will not be as "easy" as you hope.
If your time, Budget and skills are all at the low level, ...then any approach will require a curve...
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
making a web enabled screen.  How do I start?

1.) Move the Back-End tables of your existing Access db to SQL Server or MySQL.

2.) Connect/Link your existing Access Front-End that contains (Forms, Queries, Reports, Modules, etc.) to you Back-End SQL or MySQL server.

3.) Hire an experienced web developer to review, study and evaluate what your existing Access Forms/Reports are doing from a data entry standpoint and replicate it for you as a web application.

ET
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Startrac98Author Commented:
I did some searching on the internet and came across a product called dbBee.  Anyone familiar with the product?  Its free for small applications.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
There are dozens of products/companies that claim that they can move your Access app to the web.

It is not clear how good of a job they do:
Security
Scalability
Functionality
Updates
is this technology using someone else technology?
How is their support?
How much does this cost?
What if they go under, ...what happens to your app/data?

If it were me, I would go the Citrix route, as Pat suggested, ...it is tried and true and you can always get support...
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PatHartmanCommented:
Plus, once you get prices from web developers, you will find that it will take years of Citrix services to equal what they will charge you not to mention the amount of time it will take and the risk involved.  So--- unless you have major changes that you want to make to the app along the way, Citrix will be the least expensive and most painless alternative.

Just FYI, a moderately complex application that took me 4 months to develop was webified by my client (against my advice).  It took 4 people 9 months and cost $750,000!!!!!!  and that was with a fully functional "prototype".
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
Startrac98 ...  There's really no rapid development applications for web applications like Access is for the desktop  or I should say none that I know of to be honest.  However I believe I understand what you are trying to accomplish as I had that same request from a client a while back.  They wanted an employee in the field using a laptop to be able to enter data into their database just like a person sitting in the office.  To develop a web application to replicate this was going to be very expensive and time consuming.  They asked me what could I do with Access to provide this functionality.  

1.) Since the data tables were already in MySQL on their web server, I built a "Lite" version of their CRM Access application that included just the functionality they wanted for their field/remote users.

2.) The concept used ADOB Connections and Command methods to post data collected in Unbound Controls on the forms to their MySQL server tables.  In other words, the Lite version did not link/connect all of the tables on MySQL when it started up ... It was designed to connect and update specific tables when needed based on the action users selected on the forms.  

3.) As long as the laptop was connected to the Internet ... This worked flawlessly and they were very impressed with the performance ... never had an issue to be honest.

4.) The application was distributed using the free Access Runtime version so no need to install Office on each machine.

If you are experienced with VBA this can be done or if you decided to hire it out the cost and time would still be a lot less expensive compared to developing a web application to do the same thing.

If you are interested, contact me using the information found in my profile.

ET
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
Just FYI, a moderately complex application that took me 4 months to develop was webified by my client (against my advice).  It took 4 people 9 months and cost $750,000!!!!!!  and that was with a fully functional "prototype".

That's the one thing I always dislike when clients make the decision to "webifi" a good working desktop Access application.  They will turn blinders on regarding how much they are spending, don't really realize they are working with a team of developers and the fact that they are starting from a fully functional prototype.  

ET
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Startrac98Author Commented:
all I want to do is have data entry posting hours worked for the week.  Then import to my access database.  The individual can enter their empl number and hours for 7 days.
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Nick67Commented:
If the requirements are simple then the webpage to get it done can also be not-so-painful.
I have been building 'side-views' into the data created by my MS Access application with the data stored in SQL Server.
Things like WebMatrix and Lightswitch exist because MS is still stuck on the 'look-ma-no-code' mantra--which might work out well for you in this instance.
Providing what you want is very simple, and doesn't need to be too pretty, these are tools that can work for very simple requirements. Light CRUD (create read update delete) work on straight-forward queries is about all those tools are good for -- but that may be enough for what you need.

But it would be a lie to say there isn't a learning curve, because there is.
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
all I want to do is have data entry posting hours worked for the week.  Then import to my access database.  The individual can enter their empl number and hours for 7 days.

Move the data tables to MySQL or SQL server where web applications and processes can get to it.  Access is not a web application.   As long as a web developer can get to the data tables he/she can easily build you a little web interface to accomplish that.  Both your Access Front-End and the little web app will share the same tables.

ET
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Startrac98Author Commented:
I am going to create the small web app on a sql server and use that data for the access database.
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
I am going to create the small web app on a sql server and use that data for the access database.

Yes, that's one of the easiest approaches to your original question given so much integration is moving to the web simply because you can use a web browser as opposed to a desktop application installed on the remote end.  The nice part is both your Access Front-End and any web apps will share the same data tables.  Same with smart phone applications.  Someone will come to you and request an Android app to do the same data entry from their phone.  Now that you have the data tables exposed on SQL Server ... any Android developer can create a small app to accommodate the type of data entry you are looking for.  IMO, Access and its development environment simply works best in a full Windows desktop environment.  It is an excellent tool when selected for the right task and I enjoy developing with it but the key is selecting the right tool for the right job at hand.  

Thanks for the points.

ET
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