What if i make webbased alternative for MS Access

Andrew Kakurin
Andrew Kakurin used Ask the Experts™
I had this question after viewing MS Access alternative for the web.

Frankly, I was looking for cheap alternative for MS Dynamics. The only way to get something like that is to develop by myself.
So how do you think if i start to develop the system built like this scheme:

Javascript UI (frontend)  - PHP (application server for business logic) - MySQL (or Maria DB) as storage.

I want to make frontend fully emulated desktop application with code run on client side. The software has to be simply and fast customizable, also the software has to be lightweight and able to be placed on vitual hosting, with no limits (per user, per record) , no monthly payments. Once developed and works for free.

I wonder if someone else needs such software?
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Top Expert 2010

You might want to review other free options that are out there.  Google for "Free CRM" and "Free ERP".

You should consider whether your planned idea will fill requirements / needs not currently offered in these alternatives.  You should also review the "competition" if you want other people to choose your app over the others.
Elvio Lujan.Net Senior Developer

PHP in BE side i think will  be good and the same for MySQL, but in UI i advice you to use some javascript framework in order to work faster, I think the best one to do the things fast is AngularJS and lot of addins that you can find in google.
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2016

This is not really a technical question with a succinct answer; it's more of a business question with opinions and few, if any, facts.  If you want to do this for your own use and you find app development fun, I would not try to dissuade you.  Rolling it out to more than one client may be a different thing, entirely.

As I see it, the key to MS Dynamics is that apps work together "seamlessly" in the cloud.  If you can do that, and beat Microsoft on pricing, your only hurdle to widespread adoption would be convincing loyal Microsoft customers to turn away from Microsoft and choose your system.  One thing that might factor into your thinking: Microsoft has a large sales force and it is one of the best-paid sales forces.

For existing Microsoft customers, the problem is not really the application software -- it's getting hold of the client data.  Microsoft already has done that.
You have to ask yourself, "Why hasn't anyone already done this?"

The answer, in this case, is that someone already has. Take a look at vTiger or SugarCRM. Almost every idea starts out simple ("I just want to do X and Y").

You get it working, but then realize you need one feature you didn't think about before, feature Z. So you add feature Z. That cycle continues again and again as your understanding of the market needs expands, and you eventually end up with something that has a lot of features but isn't as light-weight as it used to be back when it only had features X and Y.

Meanwhile, someone else comes along and sees your product but says, "I only want features X and Z" so they build out their own version and they fall into the same cycle.

Mind you, it's not a BAD thing - you end up with a lot of alternatives and you'll learn a lot while doing it, but one of the problems is that it's ALWAYS a lot more work than you originally think it is. And often times, you have to ask yourself what your time is worth. If it costs $1000 to buy a fully-featured program, but it takes you 300 hours to build out a stripped-down version of the same program that you release for free (and then you have to support it and fix the bugs that other people find), are you investing your time wisely? You also have to be careful with your security and legal disclosures - what happens if someone uses your product, gets hacked, and has lots of credit card data stolen - are you protected against a lawsuit?

I think re-inventing the wheel can be tremendously beneficial to your own learning and experience, but I'd suggest you establish a limit ("I will only spend 100 hours doing this") and review your progress every day to see how your development time compares to the end result.

Also, I want to reiterate the importance of the cost of support versus customer expectations. You mention "no monthly payments" - that's fine and all, but if you want a commercial business to make use of your software, then they need to be sure that if they run into a bug, that it gets fixed promptly.

So ask yourself what happens if someone uses your product and runs into a bug that prevents them from using the product (some data bug causes it to crash immediately every time)? If they don't have to pay for support, then that usually means a support model where "you'll fix it when you get some time", but a business might not be able to wait that long.

So monthly payments are not always a bad thing - often times, they are paying you for your time to support the businesses and companies that use your software.

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