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How To Make An MS Access Web App

Build Microsoft Access web apps.

Developers must build database applications that make legacy Microsoft desktop databases web-based applications. One solution enables developers to build MS Access web apps that work on any and mobile device.

Because Microsoft 365 and Office 365 software included MS Access for free, these databases are still critical to many businesses. Developers are seeking new solutions to build web-based Microsoft Access apps that can take their legacy applications to web browsers. Read one developer's success story about building a custom MS Access web app.

Challenges Around MS Access Web Apps

Arthur Fuller is a top Microsoft Access developer. In his developer blog he regularly describes his experiences with database management, desktop databases and other data sources. He has blogged about his recent challenges. Because Microsoft has failed to introduce new capabilities developers have challenges taking legacy databases online for the web and to smartphones.

Arthur explains his frustrations with building web applications for Microsoft Access databases in his blog, "The Access Developer's Dilemma":

"Access developers were (and are) faced with a dilemma: there seems to be no future in continued Access development.

  1. Microsoft appears to have abandoned this community.
  2. The alternative provided by Microsoft, Visual Studio, is by anyone’s standard, large and complex (perhaps not as large and complex and unwieldy as Java has become, but that is another story). Even with professional training and years of experience, a developer has little to no chance of becoming genuinely productive (e.g. able to bill for hours worked) in less than a year or two.
  3. The world is moving rapidly away from desktop applications to web-based apps.
  4. Now the developer is faced with the problem of developing apps for smartphones, tablets, and other new technologies."

How to Create an Access Web Application

Arthur continues to explain how he's researched, developed, and tested solutions for the web. In his blog article, he outlines why he has selected Alpha Software for rapid web application development. He's using the Alpha web and mobile app development platform to turn legacy Microsoft Access desktop databases into web databases. It speeds the toughest parts of developing and running your web apps. He writes:

"In a word, I love Alpha. It answers every demand I currently place on a development product:

1.   RAD – in spades. You can do significant things more quickly in Alpha Five than in any other development environment I know.

2.   Programming language – Alpha Five is built on XBasic, a solid programming language that also happens to be cross-platform. Among its virtues are:

a.   Friendly – XBasic is a lot like VBA, but more powerful and more concise. Access developers will feel comfortable almost immediately. There are differences, of course, such as slightly different names for events and properties, but these are easily handled.

b.   Classes – XBasic implements true classes, as opposed to the tricky, shoddy, half-assed implementation in Access.

c.   Wizards and Genies – Alpha Five includes numerous wizards to guide the developer through various tasks required to build applications. Genies are code generators that can build complete chunks of an application automatically, based on the structure of the database.

3.   Database connections – Alpha Five has its own native database format but also provides easy connections to Access databases. It also offers ODBC connections to every serious database, and one or two you may not have heard of.

4.   Web development processWeb app development is where Alpha Five really shines. Frankly, it blows the doors off of Access (not to mention numerous other platforms). At the outset of a project (or anytime during development), the developer can choose whether this project is for the Desktop or the web. This choice affects the Toolbox and the tools it offers.

5.   TutorialsIn this category, Alpha Five blows the doors off of Access. While Microsoft does provide some sample applications, probably the most advanced is a simple Time and Billing application. Alpha Five goes much further, in both quantity and quality. Its web app templates are professionally designed and coded.

6.   Performance – I’ve tested Alpha Five against Access in several contextsThese include native/native, back ends, and connections to SQL Server and MySQL. In every case, Alpha Five outperforms Access by far.

7.   Runtime – this is a significant concern to Access developers. Microsoft includes a free Runtime package that allows the developer to create an application, then deploy it. ...Instead of a Runtime, Alpha provides an Application Server, which is included in the software for a modest fee. The Alpha developer then has the right to distribute Alpha Five applications to an unlimited number of clients.

8.   Community – Access developers know that the developer community is a vital component in successful development. Access enjoys several communities where developers can turn when they have development problems. The Alpha website provides such a community as well." 

Learn How to Make a Web App Using Microsoft Access for Free

We're thrilled Arthur believes Alpha Software offers the ideal low-code business solutions for building Microsoft Access web apps. Alpha Anywhere Community Edition allows full, open access to any developer needing to build a web app, mobile app or wanting to prototype new web app ideas.. Because the solution is low-code, developers can speed web app development without having to write code as extensively as if they built a native app. Build Microsoft Access web apps with our free app builder.


For years, Alpha Software has supported Access customers. We've worked to migrate database and table templates with developers in a range of industries. We helped connect to Sharepoint Server 2016, Sharepoint online or leverage on-premise Sharepoint as part of these projects. We've researched important Access Services 2010 as part of mobility projects. We offer tutorials, database templates, and professional services to take your legacy data where it needs to go. Contact Us.

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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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