In the world of software development, one size does not fit all! What may be an appropriate solution in one context may be wholly unsuited to another. Microsoft Access is a desktop-based relational database management system, meaning that it depends upon a unique and locally deployed application to operate. This mode of operation has significant advantages in terms of customization, speed of development, and security; however, as with any "installed" application, it somewhat restricts its ability to be deployed broadly and seamlessly across disparate platforms, environments, and locations. As such, Microsoft Access applications traditionally are employed for department-level, internal business operations, rather than in public-facing portals. That said, when structured properly, Microsoft Access applications can function in parallel with web-based applications, and even significantly enhance their utility.
While Microsoft Access natively supports its Microsoft Access Database Engine (formerly Microsoft Jet Database) architecture, Access can readily interface with alternate data sources, including Microsoft SQL Server. This capacity to layer Access's visual toolsets and business process automation potential with such a robust relational database engine means that your web application and your Access application can "talk" to the same underlying database, permitting you to take advantage of what Access does best, without sacrificing generalized accessibility.
For example, you may have a public facing e-commerce website that drives your direct-to-consumer sales. At its core lies a Microsoft SQL Server database, housing records of all the products you offer and the purchases that have been made on your site. While your website undoubtedly is the best way to present your products to the public, allowing them to be viewed and bought on almost any platform, you may want markedly more detailed and bespoke reporting on sales performance and product metadata. That's where a Microsoft Access integration may prove invaluable! By connecting a custom Microsoft Access application to the SQL Server data source of your e-commerce store, you can tap into all the relevant data you need to facilitate advanced analytics directly through Access. Rather than having to hire a costly web programmer to design custom reports each time you need a new view/perspective, your Microsoft Access application can remain almost infinitely flexible, allowing you to quickly customize existing reports and queries to output only the data that's most relevant to your specific context.
With over 25 years of experience in both Access and web-based software development, we know the pitfalls of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Fortunately, with the power of Microsoft Access and its ability to interface with external data sources, you no longer need to relegate yourself to an "either/or" solution - you often can have the best of both worlds! Call us now to discuss how we can help craft the perfect application for your business needs.