PDA Run MS Access

What would be a good PDA which can run Microsoft Access?
Must be a familiar story, Access app running in office, 'we are thinking of buying PDA's, can we use the same Access screens in the warehouse?'
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
Not as familiar as one might think.

 Most PDA's don't have the horse power to run standard Windows and hence Access.

 Your best bet is to run a terminal services server, then use the PDA to remote into that using a web browser.

There is also Access Web Apps, which can be run through a Sharepoint site, but they are limited in what they can do.   They don't look or work like what most think of as "Access" (the desktop version).

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
There's also this service out there:


 which is not quite RDP, but it effectively works the same.   it is however a subscription based service.

Silas2Author Commented:
Really, none of those PDA's can run Windows? Don't fancy the Access-in-a-browser idea I must admit.
Suppose i'll have to make some .Net screens - they'll run .Net I guess?
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<they'll run .Net I guess? >>

 Depends on what you mean by "PDA", but even today, most lack the horsepower.

 Technology has come a long way however and you now have some laptops that can work as a tablet, and there are some tablets that are approaching laptop type processing.

 But if your thinking of a true tablet or phone, then no, they won't run  Access (or any of the office apps for that matter).

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
There's one other thing that's critical; if your using ACE/JET as the data store, you won't have stability running over a wireless connection.  Wireless is to prone to dropouts and latency issues.

If your planning on wireless, you'll need a SQL Server (or the like) back end to hold the data.

Unlike iPad's and their ilk, Microsoft Surface Pro's are real computers and will run Windows and Office and that includes Access (according to the promotions).  But, once you are off the Office LAN, you will be unimpressed with the speed of an Access database app.  Also, if you are in the office but connect to the LAN via wireless rather than wires, Access isn't a good choice if the BE is Jet/ACE.  it would probably be OK if the BE were SQL Server.  The nice thing about the Surface Pro's is that they can use a stylus and that takes the place of a mouse very nicely. Working with your fingers, would be clunky.  And finally you need to consider screen size.  What size is too small?  If you have an existing app, you may need to recreate many of the forms to fit a smaller screen size.
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
The way that PDAs can be used are :
Through the use of a Terminal server / Remote Desktop....this is a simple scenario that works (Requires Terminal Server /Licenses)

Through the use Compact Framework <-> SQL Server<->Linked Server i haven't tested this yet but  should be good (Doesn't Require Terminal Server/Licenses)
Through Web Page (Doesn't Require Terminal Server/Licenses)
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
Just to clarify a bit...
You still have not clearly defined what you are calling a "PDA"

PDA's (as there were know) were not cell phones or tablets like most users have today, ...and the term "PDA", is obsolete, and not commonly used to describe cellphones and tablets.

The current term used to describe most tablets and cellphones is: "Mobile Device"

This all being said....
Ultimately, ...you may need a web application for this.
Ms Access now supports creating "web Databases", ...but this would require redesigning the existing database.

If you need this "Now", then you should go with Jim's suggestion of using
This may look a bit sketchy on a cell phone (as Pat states), but it does work, and is easy to implement.

But again, a lot of what is being run today on most mobile devices are dedicated websites, ...some designed with a bespoke "Mobile Device" interface (app).
...so that users with smaller screens and no mouse, ...can effectively navigate the site.

Silas2Author Commented:
Sorry a bit tardy with my responses...just waiting to go on the client site....they are suggesting a Psion BIp 7000.

These will be used within wireless range so it maybe that the issue of slow network access may not be an issue as its not using the GSM network (is that how PDA's in the 'field' work?)

If they get this device and I write some screens/front-ends for it, is browser based? I have seen people referring to a flavour of C# which will run on this , is that any good? is it WinForms only?
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
You can forget about running standard Access on that.

One, because of the wireless, unless you use a SQL Server backend.

Two (and most importantly), it comes with  Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Windows CE 5.0  for the OS.  Windows CE cannot use Win32 binaries, libraries, and drivers without modification, which is what Access is.

 Access only runs on standard Windows.

So your looking at either:

1. Using www.eqldata.com, which put's your app in a browser.
2. Using terminal services, again so your app can appear in a browser (app is actually running on a server somewhere else-Just Keyboard, Video, and Mouse run over the network).
3. If your needs are simple, use AWA (Access Web Apps)
4. Write a true web app with something like PHP or ASP.net
5. Have a dedicated app written for the handheld.

Silas2Author Commented:
I've given up on the Access! I'm thinking about the Visual Studio PDA app template.
The wireless lan should make the db ok performance shouldn't it?
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<The wireless lan should make the db ok performance shouldn't it? >>

 A lot will depend on development, but I would say yes.  As long as you develop a true client/server app, then you will find it acceptable.


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Microsoft Access

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