Alpha Software Blog

Should You Move Your Microsoft Access Database To The Web?

Alpha Software has been speaking with Sean O'Kelly, owner of XAPP Design, Inc., about his Microsoft Access database work with clients. Sean is seeing movement in his own client base, and across the Microsoft Access user community, to migrate Microsoft Access database files to web based systems. Experience shows this can be a very daunting effort, but it doesn't have to be if your'e prepared, have the right software, and have the right partner. We invited Sean to provide his perspective.

Microsoft access databaseGiven the complexities of doing business today, including the need to work remotely due to the Covid pandemic, is it time to finally migrate your Microsoft Access application to the Web?

Microsoft Access Databases

A number of factors are converging that are driving businesses to make the decision to migrate their MS Access desktop databases and related applications to the web:

  • Numerous US states have agreed to band together and drop Microsoft Office 365 and move to Google cloud. This is a long range plan and estimated to take a year or two at least. This is causing agency departments within those states to make a move from MS Access to another solution (as Google has no replacement for MS Access). Here is a link to just one such story from my home state, but there are a bunch of states making this move.
  • Due to COVID-19 requiring people to work from home, using MS Access over a VPN connection presents all kinds of issues, not the least of which is performance. One could go to Citrix (and use MS Access through that), or virtual PC’s now being offered, but then there are licensing issues, additional cost, user training, etc. Using MS Access over VPN can cause a variety of issues: a decrease in productivity because it’s slow, potential data corruption, record and file locking issues, just to name a few.
  • IT departments have always tried to shun away from MS Access, but because users required it, they had to stick with it. However, now, due to Covid restrictions and the need to use VPN, the primary users are finding MS Access to be a problem as much as a solution. This is a fundamental shift in the user community for MS Access and this sentiment will most likely grow.
  • Microsoft for years has tried to move MS Access data to the web, but without much success. However, I think the end is in sight now due to the clamoring from users to find a solution to the remote work issues. This external push may finally give MS a final justification for ending MS Access support.Although we have no way of knowing for use, it appears the writing is on the wall.
  • MS Access is an easy development tool to use for creating an application to store data and allow easy creation of data entry forms, and because it's part of the Microsoft Office Suite, people can freely use it.  However, this ease of use has lead to many security vulnerabilities within organizations and has lead to outright data theft in many cases. What has been an asset in the past, gets turned into a liability today.

New Technology Presents Opportunity

Businesses can take advantage of microsoft access databases and move them to the webBesides the issues driving conversions to a web based system, the pace of change in the software development industry has brought about new technologies making it much easier to take the leap. Let’s take a look at some of those advancements:

  • Web based database storage systems are now readily available and affordable, such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc.
  • With the right tools you can easily connect those web based database storage systems to websites and mobile apps, and manage the data using a dashboard or portal of some kind.
  • Newer technology such as HTML5, Javascript and CSS allow you to leverage a design that can work on any desktop system or mobile device.
  • More MS Access developers, such as my company, are becoming experts at converting MS Access databases to web and mobile based systems. We’ve done so many of these conversions that we can help you navigate the issues to a successful conclusion.
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools, such as the highly rated Alpha Anywhere IDE by Alpha Software, can greatly reduce the time it takes to convert your app. With conversion tools and helpers built in, you could have a basic web app with an administrative dashboard up and running quickly – greatly reducing the cost traditionally associated with conversions. Alpha Software puts on a free conference call each week to learn about their product.
  • Help in the form of online video conferencing is available from the Independent Application Developers Network. You can attend a free video conference IADN hosts each week and learn valuable insights from other developers.

As you can see, there are many issues driving the desire to move from MS Access to more modern web and mobile based systems, and, we now have the tools available to rapidly develop a new system for you. If you are even remotely considering taking the step then please reach out to us today to discuss your situation.

Contact Sean O'Kelly to learn more at XAPP Design, Inc.:

Convert your microsoft access database to webAlpha Anywhere Community Edition lets you build web and mobile apps for free. Once you're ready to deploy your new app, you pay as little as $99/month. If you'd like to speak with Alpha Software about using Alpha Anywhere for bringing your Microsoft Access databases to mobile devices contact us or learn how to take your Microsoft Access databases mobile.

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About Author

Sean O'Kelly
Sean O'Kelly

Who is Sean O'Kelly? - Owner of XAPP Design, Inc. - 22 consecutive years of business application development experience - Loves hoping in his Jeep and taking his dogs on hikes in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia - Developer of custom applications for nearly any business need - Speaker at Alpha DevCon - IADN Advisory Board Member Got a problem? Let’s figure out a solution! Have an idea? Let’s make it a reality!

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.