Access Split Database deployment methods

Experts:

How would you deploy a new front-end version of a production Access split database when you're not a Sys Admin?

Is the better method to
-email users a new packaged installation (msi) file or
-put the new front end on the network and have some comparison trigger an event that copies it to their machine?
  -would I want to compare Version Number or Last Update Date/Time?
  -where would it be stored?

Thx very much
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DavisroBudget AnalystAsked:
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
"  -would I want to compare Version Number or Last Update Date/Time?"

NO!  That is a fallacy of most 'auto updaters' (etc).  Problem is ... if a local copy is corrupted or borderline (and user does not know this), and it's checking a version number in the BE or wherever ... oops!

My Database Loader *always* loads a fresh copy of a given front end master from the server (never opened there)  down to the local workstation each time the user clicks the Database Loader shortcut on their desktop.  It's super fast and has worked great for several years - for more than 40 dbs in use by some 200 users.

mx
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Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
I can second that. Copy of the full database frontend on a modern network is so fast that it is not worth considering given the advantages that follow.

/gustav
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
Yeah ... typically less than 5 seconds in our case ... which included also copying a library mda and icon file.
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PatHartmanCommented:
I've been using a batch file.  Once I decided to always load a fresh FE, there was no reason to do anything fancier.
md c:\ClientMgt
del c:\ClientMgt\AOAClientManagement.accdr
copy \\dc01\tns\AccessApplications\ClientMgt\AOAClientManagement.accdr c:\ClientMgt
c:\ClientMgt\AOAClientManagement.accdr

Open in new window

To do the initial install, I send the users a shortcut to place on their desktop.  The shortcut points to the .bat file on a server drive.  The .bat file creates a directory on the user's local C: drive if necessary, deletes the app if it is there, then copies a new version from the server.

I recommend using UNC naming convention to avoid mapped drive conflicts.
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DavisroBudget AnalystAuthor Commented:
Nifty! So new versions of the Front End replace the old version, in the same network location and with the same filename, so that the installer (or Bat) file always finds it? And is the new version notification emailed to the users to update their database?
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PatHartmanCommented:
No.  I just replace the FE in the shared folder.  Occasionally, if I am pushing out a fix that someone requested or it is an update I want them to make ASAP, then I send an email.   If you want tighter control over this, you can have the app check periodically to see if the version in the network folder is different from the one that is running and ask the user (or force him) to shut down and restart to load the new version.
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
"so that the installer (or Bat) file always finds it?"
Well ... in my case ... the Database Loader shortcut always finds it, because all of the front ends are in an FE Master folder on the Server ... and it's always the latest version.  I generally notify users of a new version of a given database if it's a function or feature change, or for any other reason if they should load the new version immediately.
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
Most users see a subset of the databases, typically 4-5.  Of course I see all of them since I am the developer :-)
If a given db is not available, Avail will show NO ... with a ETA and Reason.  I have a automated Forced Shut Down utility that can close any or all dbs within 3 minutes.

User can load as many as needed (one at a time). Each goes into a separate folder in C:\users\<UserName>, as does my library MDE and icon for the db.

 Database Loader
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DavisroBudget AnalystAuthor Commented:
Wow. Another great set of answers. Thanks to both of you for two options (bat and msi files) !!
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
"(bat and msi files")

Or in my case ... the Database Loader (not a bat file or msi ... actually an ACCDE)
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DavisroBudget AnalystAuthor Commented:
Yes, I was curious what that was. Very inventive.
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