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  1. #1
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    SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    I have databases's on the network that range from 95, 2000, 2002, and now testing 2003. I would love to be able to upgrade to a SQL server and get this junk out of here. I have about 50 people inhouse and about 30 more in Atlanta...All our exisiting networks are connect so we know there would be time delay in them access it. My main question is...What could I use as a frontend? At first I was thinking of using VB 6 to create forms that they would use to enter the data. I also plan on using Crystal Reports for the reports, as we have this software now. I am wondering about using Coldfusion and dreamweaver as we have copies of this already.

    Can anybody bounce some ideas - pro/con on this?

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    What's your problem with using Access as a front end? Are you trying to build a web/browser based front end (Dreamweaver, ColdFusion), or what?
    Charlotte

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    The problem with using Access is that every few years the format changes. We started with a Office 95 database and now that we are using 2002 we can't open the database without asking us if we want to change the format. Not to mention the databases formats that were inbetween. So, even if we are Offical using 2002 Windows/Office on our computers I have to keep one machine at 97 so we can work with the database (reports, queries). I have also taken over some of the database's created by the programming team, and they were created in 2000 format. So I have another machine at 2000 so we can do maintenance and reports.

    Now I have been told that I need to see about converting all these databases into 2002 format along with the old MS Outlook forms into 2002 forms. Management is not to happy with Office changing so that its harder to use the older versions. Thus, I have been told that I have to see about converting ALL (12) the databases into MS Access 2002 and then in 1-2 years into MS SQL. I have been also told that I need to come up with a front end that works with SQL and will work Inhouse, Network, and Web based. At this time the Programming dept. has extra copies of ColdFusion and VB and to see about using those as I am not allowed a budget to purchase Hardware and Software.

    I hope to use the frontend mostly inhouse (90%), Remote offices via the network (9%) and then the future to see if the client or someone from home can enter a request.

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    I sympathize with your dilema - keeping in synch can be a pain. I would resist moving all databases to 2002, and then going to SQL Server. For one thing, Access 2002 can work just fine with 2000 format databases, and there isn't any advantage I've found in storing data in an Access 2002 back-end. I would jump directly to SQL Server, and modify your front-ends to use ODBC linked SQL Server tables - it's a pretty simple upsizing process in most cases.

    As to the front-end, in our experience there is nothing that comes close to Access in terms of development cost - VB will probably take 3 or more times as long, and you will find some things (such as subforms) are much harder to do. The same is largely true of web-based interfaces, and in addition you have limited functions and programming capability for data validation as well as added performance issues. It is true however that the development environment is more stable, and it can be argued that in the long run you have lower development costs - my view is that it is more or less a wash and you get better function and shorter development cycles with Access front-ends. Another thing you might look at if you don't have a huge number of users is something like Windows Terminal Services or Citrix. In that way you can control the Office environment, and workstations are pretty simple PCs with minimal application software. It works pretty well over the internet as well.

    Finally, where does the issue with Outlook forms arise? Are you using them to display or edit data in Access databases?
    Wendell

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    We tried using Access as a front end, local we were limited on the number of users that can be log in at the same time without using Replicator and other tricks. If a Network user tried to use it, it eat up the network usage. Then when a user Office was upgrade we had to convert the database to the newer format.. but not everyone was updated to the same Office at the same time. Right now we have people using 2003, 2000 and a few 97.

    Yes, I used MS Outlook to create a form. After the Client filled out the form, the form was mailed and the request form updated the database using VB script. It was the "cheapest" way to create a front end without having to purchase VB or something else. It seems that by using the MS Outlook form it didn't matter what version of Access was load and used.

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    Obviously there is something here I don't understand. With SQL Server as the back-end and an Access .mdb or .mde deployed to the workstation, you are only limited by the number of seats you've licensed for SQL Server - we have clients using over 200 workstations connected to a SQL Server database. In that scenario, you do need to have a client version that is compatible with the Access version they are running, but 97 is the only one with an issue. 2000, 2002 and 2003 can all run a 2000 format database without complaining, and you only loose the added features in 2002 or 2003 - which are minimal for most applications. So I don't understand why you are limited on the number of users that can login?

    You make a good point about Outlook, and Automation in general. As long as you don't use syntax that is specific to a version, you can do lot's of interesting things with Outlook, Excel, Word and even PowerPoint.
    Wendell

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    Thank you. You just gave me some information I didn't know. I fact, I know nothing about SQL database or Serve. All I know is you spell it this way, I have request in a budget for money to go to school and learn more as an Administrator and programmer. In return I was to to buy a book and learn it. In late 2004 or early 2005, I will have to convert (again) all the databases to a SQL system, reason not given. Just get ready.

    Right now I am trying to borrow a computer big enough so I can Install and learn about the Server. Then I hope to get a copy of the software and learn how to build database around sql. Later try to build a frontend. Once, I can fine a person/company that is willing to loan me a computer (I don't make enough for this expense) I can start to look for a site where I can ask the most simple question. So far all the replys I have gotten here have been very good with information on what I need to learn.

    So it may not seem like it to you... Thanks for the help

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    Re: SQL server (MS Office 2002)

    FYI, you don't need a huge PC to run SQL Server in a single user mode, so you could probably run it on any PC capable of running Access 2002. In fact, Access 2002 includes the Microsoft Desktop Engine, also referred to as the MSDE. The only problem with it is it doesn't include the Enterprise Manager and some of the other tools, so if you can swing a copy of the Developer version of SQL Server 2000, that would be a better choice. I just checked and it appears you can get if for $50 or less - check Amazon for example. SQL Server databases do require a bit more care and feeding from a maintenance perspective - backups and dumping the log for exampe, but give you better functional capability, stability and performance. Best of luck with your upgrades.
    Wendell

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