Even if you are running a large scale client server application, you would like to innovatively use MS Access.
A client – server architecture is precisely a two tier computer system. Where one computer is the server, which provides data, and another is the client, which requests data. The system can consist of multiple client/ server computers, where server computers create a workstation, which runs an application, and the client computers are connected to that application through a network. It is often believed that only heavy applications like SQL Server can function as a client – server applications, whereas the lighter and basic ones like MS Access can’t. This is however not true, there are certain ways using which you can put MS Access to use in a client server architecture.
Role of MS Access in Client – Server Computing
Apart from being a database administration application, Access can also function as Application Development tool. It thus has a dual nature. Although Access Database Engine does not provide a multi-tasking atmosphere that is as powerful and efficient as the one in SQL Server, it does provide users with efficient report and form builders. The report building tool in MS Access is so good that it actually leaves behind the The SQL Server Reporting Service.
Apart from a better reporting tool, it is applications like Visual Studio, and SharePoint which provide SQL Server with a user interface since it lacks a user interface developer or design. Another way in which Access Database Engine scores better than Jet Database Engine is; by supporting in-built integration with SharePoint Services.
Challenges with Using Access in Client – Server Architecture
Access has long been considered as an application that is mainly used by individual users, small businesses, or work groups. It is an application that is a perfect mix of database development tool, application development tool, and Database engine. One of the main reason why Access is often considered unfit of a client – server architecture is the fact that Microsoft has always advertised it that way. Whereas, in reality MS Access has the potential to service a large number of users, who are using the application at the same time. This has been made possible mainly because it’s capabilities have improved a lot over time.
MS Access today is very much capable of building a client side application that is efficient enough to deliver data provided by the server. Consuming data that is provided by SharePoint is something that can be done very seamlessly while using MS Access, irrespective of the location of that data. Similarly, managing data held by SQL Server, anywhere on the internet is also equally easy for MS Access. However this does not mean that there are no limitations of this application in a client – server architecture.
When used in client – server architecture, Access will not be able run an online portal and overloading it may lead to mdb corruption. However, even when used in a large scale computer system, Access can very well work as a frontend development tool.
Vivian Stevens is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including SQL Server fix and excel recovery software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com