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  1. #1
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    Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Hi

    I've created many Access Databases, but I'd now like to create an Access Project for our company that has 2 sites with about 45 users. We are running Windows 2000 Server, and all the Clients are running XP.

    Before I venture into this unknown area, I was hoping to get a bit of information on things that I need to know or be aware of. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding things I should look out for?

    The Database is quite simple: it's mostly a Contact Management Database, containing the Names and Details of companies we contact. It would (obviously) contain information about every time we contact them, and there would also be Tables containing Mailing Lists, as we often send out a lot of mailshots to our Member companies. The small amount of functionality we would like on top of this would be the ability to send a piece of information to WordPerfect (i.e., Name and Address of someone within the company) for use when sending Letters.

    Does this seem like the type of Project that could contain unforeseen problems?

    I'd also like to know if it's easy to link the Project to the Server? How do I find the SQL details when I want to connect? As I understand it, Win2K comes with SQL Server installed by default; is this correct?

    Any thoughts or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for such.

    Kind Regards

    Brian

  2. #2
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Unless you are running Win 2000 SBS, you don't get SQL Server installed by default. With Access 2003 Beta, and presumably the real mccoy, you get a cut down version of SQL Server that is known as the Microsoft Desktop Database Engine, but it won't be happy with 45 users - they deliberatly throttle it to handle a maximum of between 5 and 10 users. On the other hand, an Access MDB file would probably work just fine for you unless people are constanly entering data all the time. And the kind of application you envision is a common one with Access. Getting data to Word Perfect may be a bit of a challenge, but you can certainly export to files and do it that way. I've never tried to do Automation to Word Perfect, but it works very well with Word. Finally, with two locations, you may have some challenges, as databases don't work very well at anything less than broadband WAN speeds. There are several possible alternatives ranging from WWW applications to replication, but we would need more details before making a recommendation.
    Wendell

  3. #3
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Well, the remote Site will have a reasonably high-speed connection: 256Kb. We're on ADSL.

    RE: SQL not being installed . . . so, we just buy it from a Reseller and install it from CD on the Server? Do I choose the Name of the SQL Server, or does it take on the name of the Win 2K Server? When I start the project, I presume it doesn't try to locate a Server running SQL2000, i.e., I will have to know the name? Will I have to give myself Admin Privileges in order to be able to connect to it?

    If we do use SQL instead of Access, I presume it'll be much, much faster than what it would be as just an Access DB?

    One other question, you know the way in Outlook, when you send an E-mail and you have a TO Dialog Box? You click from a Selection on the Left, and it gets added to a Selected Box on the right. Is there any way in Access to accomplish the same thing? If we do build this database, it will mimic one we already have (which we want to decommission) that was built with Borland Delphi. It has a really nice interface that allows people, who are performing Mail Merges, to select from a Group of Mailing Lists on the Left; each Group that is selected gets 'sent' to a Selected List on the right. I'd love to be able to replicate this in Access, but I fear I would have to use VBA, which I don't know. However, I thought that maybe there would be an easy way to do this in Access that I don't know about. A pipe dream, perhaps, but I thought it would be worth asking.

    Sorry for so many questions, but I'd like to get off on the right foot. [img]/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

    Thanks for your super-fast reply!

    Take Care and God Bless

    Brian

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    May I recommend that you NOT create any project for your company in Access 2003 Beta? At the very least, wait until the actual product is released and final fixes are made. Use 2002 and upgrade later, but don't build a mission critical app in a beta product version.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Even at 256Kb you will find Access pretty slow if you try to connect to a back-end on a server from a front-end on a remote LAN. A better solution would be either a web interface or Windows Terminal Server or pcAnyWhere or similar software that simply sends keystrokes and screen updates. Replication is an alternative if users from both sites are updating data - if remote users don't update you could simply ship them a copy of the data on a frequent basis and let them run a local copy on a remote server (or workstation).

    SQL Server is a independent database product that provides the back-end database functions. As such it has a complete set of administrative tools and in many respects is a more complicated beast than Access. It's primary advantages are the ability to maintain a log of pending and completed changes for disaster recovery, an integrated backup facility, a robust security model, and improved performance for a large number of users. However you aren't likely to notice that last part if you don't have lots of activity in the database, and contact management systems don't typically have all that much activity. Also be aware that you must have a client license for each SQL Server user in addition to the user license, so the cost is a consideration. My advice would be to start with Access using a .mdb back-end, and when the need becomes clear, look at upsizing to SQL Server.

    Yes, you can send email from Access using the basic MAPI facilities, using Automation with Outlook, using SendMail, or you can do it from Word, which often turns out to be the best choice of all. With Word you can actually do a MailMerge to eMail, and customize each email in the body of the message - we've done that for as many as 30,000 recipients with a customized website link for example and it works pretty well. And with Word MailMerge, you don't need to know VBA. Hope this helps in your planning.
    Wendell

  6. #6
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Re your question about having two list boxes and the ability to move items from one to the other: that can only be done using VBA, there is no "easy" way. Sorry.

  7. #7
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    Thanks Charlotte for the comments about 2003 vs XP. If we do go with this project, it may not be for a few months, in which case, I hope the Gold version will be released.

    Wendell,

    When you say a Web Interface, what would be the advantage of a user logging in to a web site as opposed to running a front end on their PC? I'm sorry, but I don't understand that completely.

    Terminal Services. Well, I understand the concept of Terminal Services, but I don't understand how they would be implemented on a PC running XP. We don't use Terminal Services at all, so I'm not very familiar with implementation.

    Regarding a lot of activity, well, there are about 6 people in the Remote Office; they would be making their own changes, amendments, new records, etc on a daily basis, so I'd want them to be able to access it quite quickly and not have to wait for updates or anything.

    Regarding the Mail Merges, well, I was just going to have the user click the Export to Excel Button, and then they'd activate a macro in WordPerfect that would pull in the data from the Excel Table. What I was talking about was this kind of example:
    * User locates Company, e.g., Microsoft.
    * They want to send a letter to Joe Bloggs who works for Microsoft.
    * Their cursor rests on the Joe Bloggs Record.
    * They click a Command Button, and the following details are sent to WordPerfect: Name, Address 1, Town, Postcode, and Salutation
    * User continues to write letter in WP.

    I wasn't really talking about a Mail Merge Facility as I know I can do this easily as outlined above. I think what I'm talking about is what maybe referred to as a DDE link. The 2 issues I'm interested in would be how Access would know that when I click a Command Button, I want the person's name, the company's address details, and a Salutation Field sent to WP. I'm presuming the Command Button activities a query and macro then opens a port to WP?

    Hans

    Thanks for clarifying the List Box Question. Do you think it's a big undertaking to learn VBA specifically to perform this one function, i.e., is it difficult to learn?

    Thanks for everyone

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    As Charlotte wrote, you will need to learn VBA if you want to do anything more than the basics in Access. Moving items between list boxes is going to involve several aspects of Access VBA programming, it won't make any sense to you if you try to do just that.

  9. #9
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    Re: Access 2003 (BETA 2)

    If you are planning to build a database application in Access, you had better start learning VBA now, because otherwise you will never have anything ready for prime time.
    Charlotte

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