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  1. #1
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    Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    Can anyone give me a link to a good FAQ about creating stand-alone applications based on Access-files?
    Of course the most will depend on the questions you have. Therefore I'll provide some more information... being aware that they must sound pretty silly for those who are familiar with the subject.

    I would like to send my friends a copy of a moderately complicated database I developed without having to worry about Access being installed, in which version, vb references set, etc. The same case happens at my work... Now...

    - is this a reasonable question/starting point, or can I better look for an alternative (or stop dreaming)?

    - I've got the permission to have the Office 97 Developers Edition (yes, it's still alive) installed by our IT department. I asked for it as it is said to contain an Access runtime.
    => If I understood it correctly, you still can't create a real stand alone application with this one: you need to install a many megabite runtime at the pc's of those wanting to use your app...
    => Does this conflict with higher/previous versions of Access? Or with lighter versions of Office, containing e.g. only Word?
    Do there arise problems when anyone later on upgrades/installs Office/Access on their pc, or can they peacefully "live together"?

    - are there many changes in the way stand alone app's can be developed in XP (because at a still undefined moment, we'll be able to migrate to XP...)

    - as an alternative I consider converting it to a vb-app with a little (?) help of a friend... but I'm wondering about the (dis)advantages. For example, I have no idea if the conversion can be done for all forms, reports, queries, code,...

    Thanks!

    Hans Vanmechelen, Belgium

  2. #2
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    Re: Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    Responding to your last question first, Access forms, reports and queries don't convert to VB - you would have to recreate them using VB as it doesn't know about Access controls. Some code might well run, but VB also uses different events. It would be lots of work, even if you know VB fairly well.

    There are also issues with Access run-times, but they can be made to work. The biggest has to do with the installation process it's self, and most people choose not to use the tools that come with the Access Developer Edition. Many places use the WISE installer based on other threads I have seen. <!profile=Charlotte>Charlotte<!/profile> especially has extensive experience with it, and with runtime packages in general, and she may want to comment further. Finally, whatever you do will be large and require several floppies, or a CD-R, to distribute in on.
    Wendell

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    Re: Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    Thanks Wendell.
    I'll wait with blinking eyes for any possible comments by Charlotte.

    ps In the meanwhile: I know it's not legal, but... when I reading about the efforts to be done, it makes me think about whether it's all worth the hassle and, certainly because it's not for commercial use, we might be better of by just i n s t a l l i n g an Access 97 copy right away (?)

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    Re: Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    No, it isn't legal and we do NOT sanction that here in the Lounge. I don't know precisely what you mean by "not for commercial use", but that has nothing to do with making an illegal copy of the software. The licensing agreement spells out exactly how you can use the software and if you don't have a license that allows installation on mulitple workstations, then it isn't legal, commercial use or not.

    The developer's edition gives you a license to distribute a runtime version of Access with your application, and it gives you the distributable files as well. An installer like Wise is used to "package" the database, along with the runtime files and any other required files so that all the necessary pieces can be installed on the target machine and work properly. If you're installing an Access 97 runtime on a machine running a later version of Office, then I definitely recommend using Wise Installer and purchasing a Sagekey script for that purpose. That becomes somewhat pricey, but it is the only really safe way to do it and it will do things that the setup wizard won't do reliably--like create desktop shortcuts to the application. The Wise installer requires a script (unlike the setup wizard included with the developer's edition) and Sagekey provides the script so you don't have to write it yourself. The setup wizard, on the other hand, is an exceeding stupid packager and is highly likely to break things on the target machine. It is not smart enough to correctly handle later versions of libraries than those in the setup, so I strongly recommend against using it.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    There is a product from Greenwich Financial Modelling called AccessToVB, which will do some conversion from Access to VB, but you need someone who knows VB well in order to fix the things that don't convert. That includes things like subforms and subreports, nested report groups and things like the multi-column comboboxes that we are so acustomed to in Access. The product is a shortcut that prevents you having to *totally* start from scratch in a VB app, but it is no quick fix and it doesn't handle complex apps well at all.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Standalone applications FAQ (97/00/XP)

    Charlotte,

    It's good to know that such tool as AccessToVB exists, so I can check it out with one of my friends who is a professional VB programmer. Still, based on your & Wendell's information, the application concerned probably is too complex to convert it to VB.
    Therefore, most of all, your comments on the developer's edition-Wise-Sagekey is most valuable.

    By 'not for commercial use' I meant: we play a game with a couple of friends in which each of us, based on certain criteria, puzzles together a virtual team of sportsmen which gather points in races throughout the year. The calculation of the results of this competition can be done in Excel but then, you can't do much more with the data. Therefore, I created a database application in which all information is far more easy to manage, consult & analyse. I would have liked to share that with my friends, but (even though some have it available) not all of them can or want to pay for it the Access market price... it's still just a game... Now, at my office, I got the chance to get the developer's edition installed & I thought: well, here we go... But (as often occurs) this didn't seem so evident as well.

    The end of the story is that I probably only send the application to those friends which can run it & when I have some time to spend, dedicate myself to the possibilities discussed above.
    By the way: in the meanwhile another possibility came up in my mind: an Access driven interactive website... but that probably will be a completely different story...

    This thread remains red flagged for when I need to share a database for professional use...
    THANKS!
    Hans

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