Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    261
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Can I create an HTML front end? (2000)

    The short version: : Can I create an HTML front end to my database? I want more flexibility for creating access to my reports, forms and queries. I don't want to use it over the web, just as a front end on a local machine.

    The long version: I've created a membership database for my volunteer organization. They keep changing administrators and these folks just don't know how to operate a database. I used to have a form that acted as a front end, but it just got too messy and too diffiuclt to maintain. Now, a web page would be ideal. I'd just make a link to every report, form and query so they can just click the one they want and don't get in and screw around ("Do we really need all these queries? It's so messy! Can't you get rid of some?").

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Evergreen, CO, USA
    Posts
    6,623
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 60 Times in 60 Posts

    Re: Can I create an HTML front end? (2000)

    I hate to dash your hopes, but . . . .
    HTML front-ends to a database don't really work - you need either ASP or some sort of other database interface such as DAPs (which look an awful lot like ASP), or something like Dreamweaver or PHP which lets you update the database. Access forms are much easier to work with, as they in general don't involve lots of code, while with web based interfaces, nearly everything you do needs some code. There are a couple of tools that will create ASP for you - one is the ASP.NET WebMatrix tool which you can read about at http://www.asp.net/WebMatrix. Another is a product called AspMaker.

    Having worked with several different methods, I would recommend the Access forms approach. First however you want to secure your database so that the user never sees the tables and queries, or the code. There are numerous threads about how to do this kind of thing, but basically it involves not showing the database container window on startup, and specifying a form that opens up as a menu or whatever. The switchboard is intended for just such an application. One other thing; Access forms are much friendlier than web based ones - the combo box and the subform are quite easy to set up in Access, and much more difficult to do well on a web page. Hope this gives you some food for thought.
    Wendell

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    261
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    No, don't dash my hopes!

    Thanks Wendell, I follow you, but I really am looking for something ultra simple (and I just KNOW that's asking too much of Microsoft). I've built basic ol' HTML pages with nothing but links and descriptions. That's exactly what I want to do with my membership database. The only reason I've stayed away from the forms (particulary the switchboard) is because the HTML page resizes automatically and can scroll for pages and pages. I just want the user to scan through groups of functions (queries, reports, etc.) click a text link to fire up the appropriate report or what have you.

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: No, don't dash my hopes!

    I'm afraid I don't follow. An Access database is as user-friendly as you (the developer) make it; Access offers all the necessary tools. You can provide a list box or combo box with all available reports, or create hyperlinks to reports, or whatever.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Evergreen, CO, USA
    Posts
    6,623
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 60 Times in 60 Posts

    Re: No, don't dash my hopes!

    Unfortunately web pages are not inherently simple, especially when you have to create the page dynamically. And you need a separate web page for each report or form that you have. But the kicker is that unless you use a technology like ASP or PHP, the data is not updatable. Finally, the automatic resizing of HTML is both a blessing and a curse - ever tried to print mailing labels from a web page - it isn't trivial unless everyone uses exactly the same paper, printer and font settings. Web reports are in general much more difficult to get to behave than Access reports in my view.

    I don't mean to diss web pages completely - if the usage is across the web it's the best game in town, and we typically use ASP.NET because our ISP supports it. But if you have the luxury of a LAN connection all the time, Access development is typically from 1/3rd to 1/10th the time it takes to build a comparable web interface.
    Wendell

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    261
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    How 'bout this?

    Thanks, guys, but what I want is more simple than I've described. Let me do it this way.

    You know how the panel with all the tables, queries, reports, etc? You know how you double -click something in there and it opens? Well, that's exactly what I want to do but have it be a web page instead. That way I can put on in only the queries, forms and reports I want that end user to see.

    The beauty of this, over a form, is that to add a new item, I just create the link. I don't have to worry about resizing the form, dealing with scroll bars, building buttons, etc.

    I'm trying to do as little work on this front end as possible because a real power user (read: someone smart who knows not to mess around) won't need it as they're likely to call me for help rather than go exploring and changing things.

    So, I don't want to use the web, just have a web page that replaces that panel. I don't want to build anything fancy either, just a description of what the thing does so they can click and go.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Redcliff, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    4,066
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Re: How 'bout this?

    Have you tried playing with the Switchboard Manager? Can't get any simpler than that....
    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
    WebGenii Home Page
    Moderator: Spreadsheets, Other MS Apps, Presentation Apps, Visual Basic for Apps, Windows Mobile

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    16,775
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: How 'bout this?

    I hope you find an answer, but it isn't going to be HTML, and nothing that will provide the same functionality is simple. You are talking about the database window, which is a graphical interface into the database objects. Learning to use the Access tools appropriately isn't too hard, but you can't just build a browser page to replace the Access interface, you would have to create an entire application that did all the "simple" things you want to do and use Access as a back end. That means you couldn't use the forms, reports, queries, etc., in the Access database the way you would like. In fact, you *must* have a session of Access open for those objects to be accessible at all. If you must have it open anyhow, what's the point of struggling so hard not to use the built in tools?
    Charlotte

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Evergreen, CO, USA
    Posts
    6,623
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 60 Times in 60 Posts

    Re: How 'bout this?

    As <!profile=WebGenii>WebGenii<!/profile> has noted, you've essentially described the Switchboard Manager. With it you simply do a bit of administration and presto, you have a nested menuing system that will let peoplle do just what you want them to do. We used that for quite complex menus with literally hundreds of forms and reports. But you do need to do certain things to make sure your users don't get into trouble, regardless of how you approach the problem.<UL><LI>Split your database into a back-end and a front-end, and deploy the front-end to each user's workstation,<LI>hide the database window and turn off options for getting into things you don't want users messing with,<LI>activate user security, and set up some simple groups so people can do either accidental or intentional damage to objects or data, and<LI>Build a menuing system so people can find what they need to use.[/list]In the end, you still have to build a form or report to let users see and/or edit the data, and that represents the bulk of the work - and it's lots more work using web-based tools that it is using the native Access tools.
    Wendell

  10. #10
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Vancouver, Br. Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    632
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: How 'bout this?

    How about this

    add a table to your application with three fields:
    - ReportFriendlyName
    - AccessReportName
    - LongDescription

    You (the developer) populate this table manually with the appropriate information to describe your reports.

    Build a form with a listbox. Display the ReportFriendlyName in the listbox. For the selected record of the listbox, display its LongDescription in an independent textbox.
    Add a CommandButton that opens the report named by the AccessReportName field when clicked. Or use the ListBox's Double-click instead of the command button. Lock down your application so that the database window is hidden upon opening the database, and that the single form is displayed. Add a Quit button.

    It would take a little VBA programming to accomplish, but your users won't see anything except the list of reports.

    As others have pointed out, trying to control Access via the web will be difficult. Making a form appropriate to your user's needs is by far the easiest method.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Jack MacDonald
    Vancouver, Canada

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    16,775
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: How 'bout this?

    A demo of a method for handling this can be found at DisplayNames.
    Charlotte

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •