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Problems Caused By Several Users Using A Single Frontend

P: n/a
I have several Access 97 databases which are split into front end and
back end running off a server. The front end mde is shared by 2 or 3
- absolute maximum of 6 concurrent users. This scenario has been
working flawlessly for about 2 years. I am now at a point where these
databases need to be converted to Access 2003.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that the newer versions of
Access are not as tolerant to multiple users sharing the same front
end (not sure why this would be - I thought MS would try to add
robustness, not subtract it in newer versions).

Have I been/will I be taking too great a risk of corruption of the
database due to incorrect shutdown etc by using the above method of
sharing the database? If corruption does occur is it more likely in
the frontend or backend?

I would much rather stick with the shared frontend scenario as it is a
lot less messy than having a frontend on each machine when there are
6-8 databases to administer - especially when some of these are still
evolving and undergo frequent frontend updates.

As usual, any help/comments would be greatly appreciated.
Nov 12 '05 #1
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16 Replies


P: n/a
On 19 Feb 2004 12:52:47 -0800, Wayne Aprato wrote:
I have several Access 97 databases which are split into front end and
back end running off a server. The front end mde is shared by 2 or 3
- absolute maximum of 6 concurrent users. This scenario has been
working flawlessly for about 2 years. I am now at a point where these
databases need to be converted to Access 2003.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that the newer versions of
Access are not as tolerant to multiple users sharing the same front
end (not sure why this would be - I thought MS would try to add
robustness, not subtract it in newer versions).

Have I been/will I be taking too great a risk of corruption of the
database due to incorrect shutdown etc by using the above method of
sharing the database? If corruption does occur is it more likely in
the frontend or backend?

I would much rather stick with the shared frontend scenario as it is a
lot less messy than having a frontend on each machine when there are
6-8 databases to administer - especially when some of these are still
evolving and undergo frequent frontend updates.

As usual, any help/comments would be greatly appreciated.


Regardless of what you may have heard about 2003, sharing a front-end has
NEVER been a good idea. It may be more work to update them, but giving each
person thier own copy is more stable, less likely to cause file locking
errors, and less likely to corrupt the either ends of the application.
--
Mike Storr
www.veraccess.com
Nov 12 '05 #2

P: n/a
Wayne

"Wayne Aprato" <cq*******@volcanomail.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:4d**************************@posting.google.c om...
I have several Access 97 databases which are split into front end and
back end running off a server. The front end mde is shared by 2 or 3
- absolute maximum of 6 concurrent users. This scenario has been
working flawlessly for about 2 years. I am now at a point where these
databases need to be converted to Access 2003.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that the newer versions of
Access are not as tolerant to multiple users sharing the same front
end (not sure why this would be - I thought MS would try to add
robustness, not subtract it in newer versions).
This has never been a good idea, even if it worked without error's fore
a long time-;)

The FE should be installed on the workstation of every user, so they
only have to share the data of the backend.

There are other possibilities if you use a terminal-server or
cytrix-mainframe, but that's annother story-;)

Have I been/will I be taking too great a risk of corruption of the
database due to incorrect shutdown etc by using the above method of
sharing the database? If corruption does occur is it more likely in
the frontend or backend?
The risk is much lower if you transfer the frontends to the users. Of
cource, they'll need a access (or runtime) licence.

I would much rather stick with the shared frontend scenario as it is a
lot less messy than having a frontend on each machine when there are
6-8 databases to administer


I do not know anything about your design but: mormaly, you do not have
to admister the frontends, exept you have do install modifications.
There should not be stored any userdata in the frontend, so it can be
done with a simple copy or automatic update while the user log's into
the network. (zen-works or equal)

I prefer mde's as frontends...

Peter
Nov 12 '05 #3

P: n/a
"Peter Steimann[MVP Access]" <PS************@Timesoft.ch> wrote:
The FE should be installed on the workstation of every user, so they
only have to share the data of the backend.

There are other possibilities if you use a terminal-server or
cytrix-mainframe, but that's annother story-;)


But each user should still have their own FE.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #4

P: n/a
cq*******@volcanomail.com (Wayne Aprato) wrote:
I have several Access 97 databases which are split into front end and
back end running off a server. The front end mde is shared by 2 or 3
- absolute maximum of 6 concurrent users. This scenario has been
working flawlessly for about 2 years. I am now at a point where these
databases need to be converted to Access 2003.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that the newer versions of
Access are not as tolerant to multiple users sharing the same front
end (not sure why this would be - I thought MS would try to add
robustness, not subtract it in newer versions).
Actually if two developers were in the same A97 FE wierd things started happening.
Even when working in different objects. As I can personally confirm.

So ensuring only one person at a time can edit an A2000 or newer app is quite
reasonable from my viewpoint.

Now you may very well be able to share an A2000 MDE or newer. Some have done quite
well. Others have not. We're not sure exactly why though.
Have I been/will I be taking too great a risk of corruption of the
database due to incorrect shutdown etc by using the above method of
sharing the database? If corruption does occur is it more likely in
the frontend or backend?
Corruption is far more likely in the FE than the BE.
I would much rather stick with the shared frontend scenario as it is a
lot less messy than having a frontend on each machine when there are
6-8 databases to administer - especially when some of these are still
evolving and undergo frequent frontend updates.


But that's where the Auto FE Updater comes in.

I specifically created the Auto FE Updater utility so that I could make changes to
the FE MDE as often as I wanted and be quite confident that the next time someone
went to run the app that it would pull in the latest version. For more info on the
errors or the Auto FE Updater utility see the free Auto FE Updater utility at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/access/autofe.htm at my website to keep the FE on each PC up
to date.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #5

P: n/a
NB
Each PC has its own front-end is THE standard (and best) practice

Automate the update of front ends by using Danny's solution here:
http://www.databasejournal.com/featu...le.php/3286111

NB
Nov 12 '05 #6

P: n/a
Pat
At any opportunity, I will thank Tony for the FE Updater. It's worked
simply for my projects. Moreover, since it updates all contents of a
folder, it's also simplified the distribution of supporting elements, such
as .dll's, seperate mde's I use to hold class modules, and icons.

Thank you, Tony.
"Tony Toews" <tt****@telusplanet.net> wrote in message
news:4j********************************@4ax.com...
cq*******@volcanomail.com (Wayne Aprato) wrote:
I have several Access 97 databases which are split into front end and
back end running off a server. The front end mde is shared by 2 or 3
- absolute maximum of 6 concurrent users. This scenario has been
working flawlessly for about 2 years. I am now at a point where these
databases need to be converted to Access 2003.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that the newer versions of
Access are not as tolerant to multiple users sharing the same front
end (not sure why this would be - I thought MS would try to add
robustness, not subtract it in newer versions).
Actually if two developers were in the same A97 FE wierd things started

happening. Even when working in different objects. As I can personally confirm.

So ensuring only one person at a time can edit an A2000 or newer app is quite reasonable from my viewpoint.

Now you may very well be able to share an A2000 MDE or newer. Some have done quite well. Others have not. We're not sure exactly why though.
Have I been/will I be taking too great a risk of corruption of the
database due to incorrect shutdown etc by using the above method of
sharing the database? If corruption does occur is it more likely in
the frontend or backend?
Corruption is far more likely in the FE than the BE.
I would much rather stick with the shared frontend scenario as it is a
lot less messy than having a frontend on each machine when there are
6-8 databases to administer - especially when some of these are still
evolving and undergo frequent frontend updates.


But that's where the Auto FE Updater comes in.

I specifically created the Auto FE Updater utility so that I could make

changes to the FE MDE as often as I wanted and be quite confident that the next time someone went to run the app that it would pull in the latest version. For more info on the errors or the Auto FE Updater utility see the free Auto FE Updater utility at http://www.granite.ab.ca/access/autofe.htm at my website to keep the FE on each PC up to date.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm

Nov 12 '05 #7

P: n/a
"Pat" <no*****@ihatespam.bum> wrote:
At any opportunity, I will thank Tony for the FE Updater. It's worked
simply for my projects. Moreover, since it updates all contents of a
folder, it's also simplified the distribution of supporting elements, such
as .dll's, seperate mde's I use to hold class modules, and icons.

Thank you, Tony.


Thanks Pat. Your comments are appreciated.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #8

P: n/a
"Tony Toews" <tt****@telusplanet.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:lh********************************@4ax.com...
"Peter Steimann[MVP Access]" <PS************@Timesoft.ch> wrote:
The FE should be installed on the workstation of every user, so they
only have to share the data of the backend.

There are other possibilities if you use a terminal-server or
cytrix-mainframe, but that's annother story-;)


But each user should still have their own FE.


Yes, of course. That's what the user-directories are for on the
server-;)

Peter
Nov 12 '05 #9

P: n/a
Tony Toews <tt****@telusplanet.net> wrote in
news:4j********************************@4ax.com:
Actually if two developers were in the same A97 FE wierd things
started happening. Even when working in different objects. As I
can personally confirm.

So ensuring only one person at a time can edit an A2000 or newer
app is quite reasonable from my viewpoint.


Well, I'm not sure which is chicken and which is egg. Let me
explain.

The limitation that only one person can edit a A2K or later file is
due to the change in the way the project is stored.

In A97 and before, each object in the project was stored in a record
in the Access system tables. Now, the whole project is stored in a
single record. As we all know, Access won't allow two people to edit
a single record at the same time.

Now, I can see benefit to that from the stand point of limiting
people to one editor at a time in terms of increasing stability and
lowering the chance of corruption.

But the downside of storing the whole project in a single record is
*terrible*, in my opinion:

1. slow save speeds (not as bad as when it originally came out, but
still bad).

2. the monolothic save dialog (i.e., you have to choose which items
you're saving).

In my opinion, they could have implemented single-user editing
without shmushing the whole project into a single record. But if
they did that, they certainly could have had the default Ctrl-S
action save only the currently active object. They could have set up
something like Ctrl-Alt-S to save all.

And the worst downside of it is the loss of module-level user-level
security. Of course, that is only partly related to the new save
model. Most of it, I think, is due to the absolutely unnecessary
introduction of the VBE into Access, which was justified on the
grounds that it made the IDE the same for all Office program.

But why does anyone care?

The people who could use the old Access IDE would have no trouble
adapting to the VBE, while the people who would use the VBE were
unlikely to be using the Access IDE in the first place.

So, this is yet another "feature" implemented for no real gain to
actual users of the product.

Yes, I know, I'm bitter, and this was all settled 4 years ago.

But I still see this as evidence of Microsoft's lack of concern (or
outright hostility) to the community of developers who actually use
Access on a regular basis.

I very much dislike the way code works in A2K (I don't use anything
beyond that). It is executing in contexts where I don't believe it
ought to be, and it is just very unpredictable.

It wasn't broke.

I don't know why they fixed it.

Thus endeth the rant.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 12 '05 #10

P: n/a
"Peter Steimann[MVP Access]" <PS************@Timesoft.ch> wrote:
>The FE should be installed on the workstation of every user, so they
>only have to share the data of the backend.
>
>There are other possibilities if you use a terminal-server or
>cytrix-mainframe, but that's annother story-;)


But each user should still have their own FE.


Yes, of course. That's what the user-directories are for on the
server-;)


Not always. A client has a WAN. Some users are 3000 kms away. Their user directory
is on thier local server. But we wouldn't want put the Access FE on thier local
server. So in that case we've configured the Auto FE Updater to use a directory on
the same server as the BE. I would've preferred a directory on the TS/Citrix box but
they didn't want to do that.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #11

P: n/a
ni******@lycos.com (NB) wrote in message news:<5c**************************@posting.google. com>...
Each PC has its own front-end is THE standard (and best) practice

Automate the update of front ends by using Danny's solution here:
http://www.databasejournal.com/featu...le.php/3286111

NB


Thanks for all the feedback folks. The deluge of feedback has
convinced me that individual front ends are the way to go. I've looked
at Danny's auto updater. It seems to run fine when all the folders
and files are on my "C" drive, but fails to work when I try to update
a frontend on my "C" drive when all the other stuff is living on a
network drive. I'm still looking at why this is so - maybe I've
missed something. I also intend to look at Tony's updater, but from
what I've read about it so far, it's a bit quirky to get working, but
works well when you do get it working. Having said that, as
mentioned, I still haven't got Danny's to work for me yet.
Nov 12 '05 #12

P: n/a
Hi Tony

"Tony Toews" <tt****@telusplanet.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:4o********************************@4ax.com...
"Peter Steimann[MVP Access]" <PS************@Timesoft.ch> wrote:
>The FE should be installed on the workstation of every user, so they
>only have to share the data of the backend.
>
>There are other possibilities if you use a terminal-server or
>cytrix-mainframe, but that's annother story-;)

But each user should still have their own FE.
Yes, of course. That's what the user-directories are for on the
server-;)


Not always. A client has a WAN. Some users are 3000 kms away. Their user directory
is on thier local server. But we wouldn't want put the Access FE on thier local
server. So in that case we've configured the Auto FE Updater to use a directory on
the same server as the BE. I would've preferred a directory on the TS/Citrix box but
they didn't want to do that.


Thanks for that information

During my (bad) experience the last few years concerning terminal-server
and citrix-mainframes, i try hard to stay away from such environements
and let the responsibility on the client's side (experts), without any
guarantee from my side.. as long as he does not want to switch to a
sql-server-;)

Peter



Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm

Nov 12 '05 #13

P: n/a
"Peter Steimann[MVP Access]" <PS************@Timesoft.ch> wrote:
During my (bad) experience the last few years concerning terminal-server
and citrix-mainframes, i try hard to stay away from such environements
and let the responsibility on the client's side (experts), without any
guarantee from my side.. as long as he does not want to switch to a
sql-server-;)


They've been running 5-10 users all day long for over a year on a Citrix/TS system.
There was several corruptions but they all were on the same TS system, out of four,
so we took that one out of the "rotation" for the app and things ran smoothly after
that.

Also when the client moved to new servers they decided to put that app on only one
server and then let TS/Citrix load balance all the other apps on all the TS/Citrix.
This way if there were any problems it was only with one system. And it's worked
quite well.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #14

P: n/a
cq*******@volcanomail.com (Wayne Aprato) wrote:
I also intend to look at Tony's updater, but from
what I've read about it so far, it's a bit quirky to get working, but
works well when you do get it working.


Yup. But I've also been making sure I update the FAQ whenever any questions have
been coming in lately. I think that's helping a lot.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #15

P: n/a
Tony Toews <tt****@telusplanet.net> wrote in message news:<v1********************************@4ax.com>. ..
cq*******@volcanomail.com (Wayne Aprato) wrote:
I also intend to look at Tony's updater, but from
what I've read about it so far, it's a bit quirky to get working, but
works well when you do get it working.


Yup. But I've also been making sure I update the FAQ whenever any questions have
been coming in lately. I think that's helping a lot.

Tony


Tony, I've learnt a lesson today - not to believe everything I read
and to check things out for myself. I had a look at your updater
today and got it working in about 10 minutes. It's brilliant. Thanks
for an excellent utility.

Wayne.
Nov 12 '05 #16

P: n/a
cq*******@volcanomail.com (Wayne Aprato) wrote:
>I also intend to look at Tony's updater, but from
>what I've read about it so far, it's a bit quirky to get working, but
>works well when you do get it working.
Yup. But I've also been making sure I update the FAQ whenever any questions have
been coming in lately. I think that's helping a lot.

Tony, I've learnt a lesson today - not to believe everything I read
and to check things out for myself.


Well, I'm the one who said it was quirky so you can blame me. <smile>
I had a look at your updater
today and got it working in about 10 minutes. It's brilliant. Thanks
for an excellent utility.


Great. Glad it helps.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Nov 12 '05 #17

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