I Am STILL Pleased With Access Services

Just a quick note in a busy day to state unequivocally that my experience with Access Services in Access and SharePoint 2010 has been a huge success so far !! 

I have now worked for several months on a conversion of a large application from Access 2007 with linked tables to a “Hybrid” app using Access 2010 with Access Services.  Although there are not a lot of users (15+), these users are spread out World-Wide and are usually connecting through a VPN from outside a corporate office (including myself).  Several have been working off-line successfully.

The performance is exceptional, since the users are effectively running everything off their local cache of the database.  Updates to forms, reports and tables are quick and efficient.  While major “batch” data updates take longer than if using a SQL backend, the performance of these MAJOR data upgrades is better than I expected and will only get better over time.

I have had quite a few people reach out to me asking about this technology.  Most are asking about the issues involved in a “write-one-sell-many” scenario, where there are multiple indivdual databases who use the same exact Front-End code.  I am working on that and hope to come with a logical solution soon.

But for “one-offs” where there is a single dedicated Custom application for one specific Audience within a business, I am having trouble finding a downside to Access Services.  In fact I enjoy working in Access Service applications more than a traditional Access application, because changes CAN be propagated instantly to the users.  And of course the Deployment story for Access Services “Hybrid” apps is a true “No-Brainer”.

Dick

About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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9 Responses to I Am STILL Pleased With Access Services

  1. Omar says:

    Your comments about Access and Sharepoint have me intrigued. I have some projects in mind that are meant for 15 to 20 people in five locations (maybe more in a year or two) connected by a wide area network. Your thoughts have made me think this technology is what I need. However, the cost seems to be very steep. 60k to get up and running? Maybe I’m looking at the wrong Sharepoint product.

    Have I overcomplicated this? It wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Omar:

      If you are not a BIG Corporation then you can simply sign up with a company like http://WWW.ACCESSHOSTING.COM and “Pay as you Play”. They are targeted at people EXACTLY like you. There are millions of us out there that could use that service right now. If you combine AH with the Runtime of Access 2010 you can start shipping right away.

      Dick

  2. Omar says:

    Thanks for the lead on the hosting service. That might be the solution we need.

    I have a big learning curve in front of me as my primary experience is Excel. I try not to store business data in spreadsheets, especially in a multi-user environment. So far, I’ve been able to tuck information into spare fields in our business system, but we want to go beyond that.

    We have a project going on right now where we are getting a web app custom designed, but the cost is going to be 15k plus (that’s with me doing the majority of the front-end design work), and I’m frustrated with losing flexibility for on-going changes.

    I’m hoping to take my knowledge up a notch and get some of our projects back in-house. Your comments about Access Services look like that is a good fit for us, and for my abilities.

  3. Esau says:

    Hello Dick, I have been looking for something like this for quite a while (more than a week).

    I would like to share a database used by 4 simultaneous users. Although, I’m not sure if I understand all these SharePoint stuff.

    Do I need to have a server to be able to share my Access 2010 database? And if so which kind of server?

    I did visit the “Access Hosting” site. But I think that $49 for 1GB of storage is too expensive. I will start attaching pictures to some of my records. And I am assuming that 1GB will go fast.

    Godaddy is offering a Virtual Dedicated Server with Windows 2008 Enterprise for $24/month for 2 years.
    • RAM: 1 GB
    • Storage: 15 GB
    • Bandwidth: 500 GB/mo

    But that generates another question. Can I use just the SharePoint services that come with the Windows 2008 Enterprise server? Or do I need to buy and deploy SharePoint 2010 server?

    Please give me some advice. I could really need some help right now. Thanks!

    P.S. Could I convert my Access 2010 database and use SQL Express (free edition) on the Godaddy server?

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Hey Esau…

      Actually 1 Gig is a lot of space for just an Access Services applicatin. Remember, tis site wouldn’t be for Web pages and FTP and such. It’d only be for your database(s). I addition IF you end up pushing it near 1 Gig you can aleways buy more space there … which would probaby be justified if your pushing tat much data through it (on the assumption you’re either making money or getting value from all that data (??)

      You need to find an SP 2010 Hosting site that provides Access Services if you’re looking elsewhere. I’m not sure the other Hosting sites provide Access Services.

      I can’t see the value of you going through your own Hosting regime at least until your business deserves it.

      Dick

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    Hi Dick,

    I have a small client that has a FE/BE Access mdb application running on 2007. The db is around 50 MB and users are getting close to 20. The next logical step is to port the BE to SQL Server.

    Is there a different migration path using Access Services that he should consider? He does not have SharePoint and is unlikely to go that route at this time (cost likely the reason)

    And he would love to have the FE application working on a browser hence my interest in Access Services, however there is a lot of vba code, and I understand it would have to be converted to the new macro language. Is that correct? Have you done a conversion and is it painful?

    Thanks in advance
    –Charlie

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Charlie:

      First, your client can get SharePoint from http://www.accesshosting.com for a reasonable monthly fee.

      Second – Yes converting an existing Access app to a purely Web version would be beyond painful😦. I think your best Access Services solution would be to use the “Hybrid” model where the app stays on the client. Then the conversion is manageable.

      Frankly, IMHO, the Browser-only features of Access 2010 are limited and best used for providing SOME Browser-only capability to a “Hybrid” application (things like basic reports and some data entry).

      Dick

  5. Jeff Spardy says:

    Greetings Dick,

    I’ve been building apps and distributing them as mdes for a while and the possibility of going online is very exciting! And with accesshosting solving the Sharepoint cost issue I think I’m getting close.

    My concern has to do with securing the app so that ‘adventurous users’ cannot get into proprietary design and code after Sharepoint downloads it to their client pc.

    Let’s face it – not all of Access’ security features are as strong as we’d like them to be, but with mdes (accdes) I felt reasonably well protected.

    Your thoughts on this ‘last hurdle’ would be so very much appreciated! Thanks in advance,

    Jeff

  6. bob alston says:

    I also share this concern:

    “My concern has to do with securing the app so that ‘adventurous users’ cannot get into proprietary design and code after Sharepoint downloads it to their client pc.”

    How to achieve that??

    bob

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