Online Database Applications - 2013 is the Year

Setting up or developing an online database application? Recently, we've written quite a bit about mobile applications. But the truth is that most companies have older desktop applications (usually Microsoft Access applications) that they need to get on to the web before they even consider making those apps mobile.

In today's post, award-winning writer and speaker Frank Ohlhorst, talks about what factors companies need to consider when taking on web based application development....

2013: The Year of the Online Database Application

It is no secret that businesses are rushing into the world of cloud based applications. However, there does seem to be some mystery as to how businesses are getting there. There are multitudes of solutions on the market, each of which with its own unique set of circumstances – often forcing organizations to compromise when looking to move a line of business application onto the web or into the cloud.

Some of those compromises include:

  • Having to maintain two completely different code-bases for web and desktop apps
  • Limiting features on “Web-Only” apps that prevent commonality between the web and the desktop
  • Limited Database support, where a web-app will only work with a particular vendor’s database engine.
  • A lack of rapid application development (RAD) tools, which forces extensive hand coding
The list actually goes on to include several other compromises that range from licensing costs to scalability, however those elements prove to be relevant to most any application development project. Nevertheless, it is compromises such as the above that can quickly derail the move to the web and nowhere are those compromises more prevalent than with tools such as Microsoft Access or FileMaker, which are marketed as tools to get simple applications onto the web quickly.

[Free White Paper: Move your Microsoft Access Applications to the Web and Mobile Devices]

Most businesses need to do much more than “simple”. Enterprises both small and large are striving to place complex applications on the web to enable their cloud services for customers and employees alike.

What’s more, a variety of endpoint platforms further complicate the situation. For example, do you know if a potential customer is going to use an iPad, Android Device or a PC to access your shiny new application? What about the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement that is sweeping the enterprise, where employees are encouraged to use their own devices on the corporate network. You will have to make sure both your desktop and web apps work across those various platforms.

Those are only some of the concerns that today’s application developer faces. Others include design questions, such as “How will I keep my app’s functionality focused?” and “What kind of simple navigation will I provide to users?”

With those concerns and questions mind, it becomes evident that a proper development tool should be chosen and compromise should be avoided when developing an online database application.

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About Author

Dave McCormick
Dave McCormick

Dave has a long history with Alpha and has a deep understanding of developers and the information they need to make informed decisions. He has developed numerous videos, print tutorials and other materials that make the developer's job easier. Dave joined the company in 1992, and served as support engineer, technical writer, and documentation department manager. Between 1998 and 2005, Dave was at Stumpworld Systems and was product manager for Online Merchant/Online Merchant Gold, which became the best-selling e-commerce application in the U.S. retail market. Prior to rejoining Alpha in In 2006, Dave started A5-Online, a hosting provider for Alpha Five Web applications. Dave received an Award of Achievement from the Society for Technical Communication for the Alpha Five User's Guide in 1995. He holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Arizona.

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