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Runtime DB?

P: n/a
I have a client who is requesting the following:

Description:
-database should be a runtime version of MS Access so that it would not be
necessary for the user to have any Microsoft products in order to operate
the program.
-key function is to help automate some time consuming tasks that occupy a
business owner the most and join several other programs functions into one
precise and easy to use system that will eliminate other bulky programs and
system resource hogs.
-program should be designed so that it is upgradeable and expandable.
-database should be designed in two parts
-Front End (Forms)
-Back End (Tables, Queries, Macros and Modules)
-Optional password protection defined by end user

Features:
-Contact Management
-Task List Management
-Time Keeper Function
-Rate Organizer
-Rate vs. Time Calculator
-Invoicing for Retainer and Project
-Time Reporting
-PC compatible only
-Password Protected (optional) - prompt in install
-Duplication Protected
-Run Time Version (Don't need Access to use it)
-Network Install
-Help File
-Suggestion List

Is it possible to design an *MS Access* db as a runtime version? Just what
kind of programming is involved here and what would it require and
potentially cost?

Thanks in advance to any kind soul who can help. Feel free, if you prefer,
to contact me off list:

ch*****@comcast.net

--
Charisma

someone's alterego

Nov 13 '05 #1
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9 Replies


P: n/a
On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 22:21:10 -0500, "Charisma" <ch@risma> wrote:

A few hundred bucks to purchase the Access Developer Toolkit for
whatever version of Access you were intending to use. MSFT calls this
product differently with each release - check their website. This
product allows you to redistribute the runtime version of MsAccess.
Typically this is done in the form of a setup program that installs
this runtime (a collection of msaccess.exe plus several DLLs and aux
files) plus your application. There is no special programming needed;
actually you have to go out of your way to detect if you're running on
the runtime version of Access versus the full version. Most apps are
totally agnostic to this.

One requirement is peculiar: in a split db design, the Back End should
contain only tables, and everything else should be in the Front End.

Ask client what is meant by "Duplication Protected". Surely anyone
with access to the files can make a copy (=duplicate) of the files. To
what extend are we going to make life difficult for the duplicators?

-Tom.

I have a client who is requesting the following:

Description:
-database should be a runtime version of MS Access so that it would not be
necessary for the user to have any Microsoft products in order to operate
the program.
-key function is to help automate some time consuming tasks that occupy a
business owner the most and join several other programs functions into one
precise and easy to use system that will eliminate other bulky programs and
system resource hogs.
-program should be designed so that it is upgradeable and expandable.
-database should be designed in two parts
-Front End (Forms)
-Back End (Tables, Queries, Macros and Modules)
-Optional password protection defined by end user

Features:
-Contact Management
-Task List Management
-Time Keeper Function
-Rate Organizer
-Rate vs. Time Calculator
-Invoicing for Retainer and Project
-Time Reporting
-PC compatible only
-Password Protected (optional) - prompt in install
-Duplication Protected
-Run Time Version (Don't need Access to use it)
-Network Install
-Help File
-Suggestion List

Is it possible to design an *MS Access* db as a runtime version? Just what
kind of programming is involved here and what would it require and
potentially cost?

Thanks in advance to any kind soul who can help. Feel free, if you prefer,
to contact me off list:

ch*****@comcast.net


Nov 13 '05 #2

P: n/a
Thanks Tom. I'll talk to him tomorrow, I hope, and will try to fine tune
the parameters. Just let me recap here and make sure I understand. If I
purchase the Developer Toolkit I can just go ahead and work on this as I
would any other Access database being run within the Access environment
(basically it still is but its just a per incident use instead of the
installation of Access that resides there until you uninstall), if I'm
understanding you correctly.

Is there anything else besides the duplication question and one of my own
regarding the timer request I should find out?

Thanks again .. I had visions of having nightmares for a few minutes ;)
"Tom van Stiphout" <no*************@cox.net> wrote in message
news:54********************************@4ax.com...
: On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 22:21:10 -0500, "Charisma" <ch@risma> wrote:
:
: A few hundred bucks to purchase the Access Developer Toolkit for
: whatever version of Access you were intending to use. MSFT calls this
: product differently with each release - check their website. This
: product allows you to redistribute the runtime version of MsAccess.
: Typically this is done in the form of a setup program that installs
: this runtime (a collection of msaccess.exe plus several DLLs and aux
: files) plus your application. There is no special programming needed;
: actually you have to go out of your way to detect if you're running on
: the runtime version of Access versus the full version. Most apps are
: totally agnostic to this.
:
: One requirement is peculiar: in a split db design, the Back End should
: contain only tables, and everything else should be in the Front End.
:
: Ask client what is meant by "Duplication Protected". Surely anyone
: with access to the files can make a copy (=duplicate) of the files. To
: what extend are we going to make life difficult for the duplicators?
:
: -Tom.
:
:
:
:
: >I have a client who is requesting the following:
: >
: >Description:
: >-database should be a runtime version of MS Access so that it would not
be
: >necessary for the user to have any Microsoft products in order to operate
: >the program.
: >-key function is to help automate some time consuming tasks that occupy a
: >business owner the most and join several other programs functions into
one
: >precise and easy to use system that will eliminate other bulky programs
and
: >system resource hogs.
: >-program should be designed so that it is upgradeable and expandable.
: >-database should be designed in two parts
: >-Front End (Forms)
: >-Back End (Tables, Queries, Macros and Modules)
: >-Optional password protection defined by end user
: >
: >Features:
: >-Contact Management
: >-Task List Management
: >-Time Keeper Function
: >-Rate Organizer
: >-Rate vs. Time Calculator
: >-Invoicing for Retainer and Project
: >-Time Reporting
: >-PC compatible only
: >-Password Protected (optional) - prompt in install
: >-Duplication Protected
: >-Run Time Version (Don't need Access to use it)
: >-Network Install
: >-Help File
: >-Suggestion List
: >
: >
: >
: >Is it possible to design an *MS Access* db as a runtime version? Just
what
: >kind of programming is involved here and what would it require and
: >potentially cost?
: >
: >Thanks in advance to any kind soul who can help. Feel free, if you
prefer,
: >to contact me off list:
: >
: >ch*****@comcast.net
:

Nov 13 '05 #3

P: n/a
So all this client wants is a program that will run several required
components of a small business, can't be duplicated, is scalable and
self-contained? Did I mention compact and fast?
Sounds like a marvel and really simple too. I wonder why there aren't
tons of these floating around. If there were, there would be no point in
creating a new one, right?
I suppose it doesn't have to do everything the whole MS-Office Suite
does right away, just the important stuff. But maybe the other things
are coming on down the road in version two?
You're going to write it and he/she is going to own it?
I suppose the pay will be top dollar and you'll retain a 70% share of
all proceeds?
And he/she will keep you in comfort during the several years it will
take to create this?

AND he wants the modules in THE BACK END?

I think you'll be bored, maybe even drilled ....
Nov 13 '05 #4

P: n/a
"Charisma" wrote
Thanks Tom. I'll talk to him tomorrow, I hope,
and will try to fine tune the parameters. Just
let me recap here and make sure I understand.
If I purchase the Developer Toolkit I can just
go ahead and work on this as I would any
other Access database being run within the
Access environment
I'll have to disagree (mildly) with Tom on the simplicity and functionality
of creating an application for the runtime. I think you may, possibly, be
surprised at some of the features that are not available in the runtime.
Who'd ever have thought that the user applying a filter to a form was not a
runtime feature. You can allow the user to do some "filtering", but you'll
have to write code to do it. You can allow the user to attach to a different
set of back end tables, but the Linked Tables Manager is not a runtime
feature, so you'll have to include code to do it. You'll need to allow some
time for a "learning curve" just to determine what you'll have to do for
yourself, as well as some time to implement those things. Fortunately, there
are many samples of such functionality that you can freely use, but it will
take a little time to find them, and more to fit them into your application.
(basically it still is but
its just a per incident use instead of the
installation of Access that resides there until
you uninstall), if I'm understanding you correctly.


I am not certain what you mean by "its jus a per incident use" -- it is, in
fact, full retail Access with many, many Registry entries to lock the user
out of design view, and to disable functions that are defined as design
functionality. You create a package of your database application and the
runtime support which is installed on the users' machines'. It is royalty
free -- you pay once to obtain the developer tools, and may use those to
create and distribute as many packages to as many users as you wish.

I'm not aware that you can create a "network install", if I understand the
term -- something that a network adminstrator can run from the server to
install the application on the users' machines.

And, I don't know what "Password Protection, Optional Defined by End User"
means. Access does have security. It seems relatively easy to defeat if a
user is willing to spend between $100 - $200 for a "password recovery
package".

And, as Tom pointed out, the users must have full rights on the disks where
both the Front End and Back End reside, which means that they CAN copy the
database and the data. A server database, with Tables (they can be Views in
the Server DB) linked by ODBC to the Access client, can use the server's
security to secure the data.

The most successful runtime distributions that I have seen used Install
Shield or Wise Installer with SAGEKEY scripts or the equivalent. They
avoided a number of common problems often encountered using just the
Developer Tools -- one very common one is "References", when distributing
MDE format Front Ends, from which the user cannot access nor change
"References". I haven't personally built one of those distributions so I
can't be especially specific -- but one of my colleagues put considerable
effort into learning the Wise scripting language and object model for some
special installations of related software along with an Access client. A
more "ordinary" installation can be done without using the scripting
language, from a visual interface, in either InstallShield or Wise. There
are other installers, but those are the only two with which I am even a
little familiar.

I am concerned with your question about "cost"... certainly there is not
nearly enough information for an estimate of an entire project. I hope you
were asking about the cost of the developer tools, which Tom has already
answered. Either of the installers I mentioned will cost more than the
Developer Tools, and I think the SageKey scripts will cost about the same or
a little less than Developer Tools, should you find you need them.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
Nov 13 '05 #5

P: n/a


"Lyle Fairfield" <ly***********@aim.com> wrote in message
news:0z******************@read2.cgocable.net...
: So all this client wants is a program that will run several required
: components of a small business, can't be duplicated, is scalable and
: self-contained? Did I mention compact and fast?
: Sounds like a marvel and really simple too. I wonder why there aren't
: tons of these floating around. If there were, there would be no point in
: creating a new one, right?
: I suppose it doesn't have to do everything the whole MS-Office Suite
: does right away, just the important stuff. But maybe the other things
: are coming on down the road in version two?
: You're going to write it and he/she is going to own it?
: I suppose the pay will be top dollar and you'll retain a 70% share of
: all proceeds?
: And he/she will keep you in comfort during the several years it will
: take to create this?
:
: AND he wants the modules in THE BACK END?
:
: I think you'll be bored, maybe even drilled ....
:

do you feel marginally better now?

To answer your rhetorical questions because I'm tired and you asked:

Yes, that's what he wants .. and fast

I could be wrong but I think his reason for creating a new one is to have
his name on it and to rake in the millions he has visions of making.
Version two .. can we deal with .5 first before you take us to v2?

Yes, I'm going to write it, he'll own it. Pay .. lol .. I'll be lucky to
get $50/hr for any part of this .. mind you, if he wants to pay me that much
for the actual time i"ll have to put into it .. that's not shabby but he
won't .. so my getting rich isn't an option ..

He thinks he wants modules in the back end ..

No, I'll be a raving lunatic.

Now, on a more serious note since I know you must have had a rough day ..
maybe your team lost ..

I'm asking here what something like this would cost because even I, the dumb
silvery haired idiot that I am, know this isn't *just* a database and it
can't be done *fast* .. but he's under the impression this is a $250 project
because he knew enough to pull together a document (if you truly have such
little joy in your life I can let you read the list of "tables" he's telling
me he wants .. doesn't need but wants). When I talk to him, and I will do
that tomorrow I hope, I want to tell him what this type of program costs as
he intends to sell copies to people and he has every intention of marketing
it to ppl who do not have Access on their computers (I can't conceive of
that but I know it does happen). I want to give him intelligent information
based on feedback from a group I deem to be more qualified and more
professional than myself. (That is, btw, a compliment to you .. now, do you
deserve it?)

You can't know more than myself how reading this I sat here and went "why?!"
because this isn't *just* a database .. this is a fullblown software
application. He's talking about doing major office suite functions within
this application. I'm not a full blown programmer and I don't profess to be
so lighten up a bit, okay? All I was doing was asking a few questions ..
I"m sorry but if you saw what I've read about this "database" tonight you'd
find your post somewhat startling as you wrote a good portion of what I
thought although you did so with less good will.

So .. rather than exercise your prosaic abilities in the fine art of dubious
wit, why don't you try answering the questions and save your judgment for
later when I'll surely have earned it tenfold .. okay?

C

Nov 13 '05 #6

P: n/a
Thank you, you may actually by listing the limitations of the runtime
version provided the best reason for not doing that. Let me read and digest
more of what you wrote before i try to comment more. When I said per
incident I meant that the user does not have to have Access installed to use
it but that the necessary ingredients so to speak will be installed when the
application is. Pardon my poor phrasing.

Let me be very clear here, I did not go looking for this proposal. I was
speaking with this gentleman about one thing and when he found out that I
was in my last incarnation a database administrator and familiar with VBA
programming and database design in access the proposal I received today
resulted. I haven't spoken with him about this and just wanted, before
doing so, to get some answers in anticipation of the conversation. At no
point have I entertained the thought of being able to do any complicated
programming and at no time have I ever called myself such a thing. I'm well
aware of my limitations and I'm also aware that this was one of those
"everything and the kitchen sink" deals too. I really just wanted some
intelligent feedback so when I talk to him I don't sound like a dolt.

I'm not sure what he means by a network install myself either. Another
question for the call tomorrow.

The password thing .. I suspect he means something like when you first
install windows it asks you if you want a password? I'm not sure though so
I'll ask that as well.

AFAIK, this program is geared primarily to the single user computer so I'm
not sure if anything is gained by the front-back end (apologies if I should
know that).

Cost was for the project .. but I really was looking only for a VERY general
ballpark thing .. not necessarily accurate.

The only other specs I can share right now are:

The Purpose:
The purpose of this database is to combine several key functions of a
virtual business office into one convenient program that will integrate and
simplify several necessary tasks of any virtual businessperson.

Who Can It Work For?
It can work for any service based business professional. It was designed
with virtual assistants in mind but can easily be utilized for a other
related professional business or service-based industry that need to keep
track of time on a given task.

What Does [It] Do?
[It] is designed to handle contact management, keep track of task lists as
well as manage incomplete tasks, keep track of time on any given project,
keep rates organized so that you know who you charge what amount to,
calculate your rate versus the time that was involved on any given project
or client, one-click invoice creation which can include your personalized
logo, produce a time report so that if you need to supply your client with a
breakdown of your activities all you need to do is click a button and will
allow you to work on a network and share the data with several users.

Make no mistake, I wish I was skilled enough to do this just to see how it
would turn out but if I was that skilled I wouldn't be worried about where
my next paycheck was coming from either. ;)

Thanks again,

C

"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in message
news:vIC9f.376$7d.349@trnddc01...
: "Charisma" wrote
:
: > Thanks Tom. I'll talk to him tomorrow, I hope,
: > and will try to fine tune the parameters. Just
: > let me recap here and make sure I understand.
: > If I purchase the Developer Toolkit I can just
: > go ahead and work on this as I would any
: > other Access database being run within the
: > Access environment
:
: I'll have to disagree (mildly) with Tom on the simplicity and
functionality
: of creating an application for the runtime. I think you may, possibly, be
: surprised at some of the features that are not available in the runtime.
: Who'd ever have thought that the user applying a filter to a form was not
a
: runtime feature. You can allow the user to do some "filtering", but you'll
: have to write code to do it. You can allow the user to attach to a
different
: set of back end tables, but the Linked Tables Manager is not a runtime
: feature, so you'll have to include code to do it. You'll need to allow
some
: time for a "learning curve" just to determine what you'll have to do for
: yourself, as well as some time to implement those things. Fortunately,
there
: are many samples of such functionality that you can freely use, but it
will
: take a little time to find them, and more to fit them into your
application.
:
: > (basically it still is but
: > its just a per incident use instead of the
: > installation of Access that resides there until
: > you uninstall), if I'm understanding you correctly.
:
: I am not certain what you mean by "its jus a per incident use" -- it is,
in
: fact, full retail Access with many, many Registry entries to lock the user
: out of design view, and to disable functions that are defined as design
: functionality. You create a package of your database application and the
: runtime support which is installed on the users' machines'. It is royalty
: free -- you pay once to obtain the developer tools, and may use those to
: create and distribute as many packages to as many users as you wish.
:
: I'm not aware that you can create a "network install", if I understand the
: term -- something that a network adminstrator can run from the server to
: install the application on the users' machines.
:
: And, I don't know what "Password Protection, Optional Defined by End User"
: means. Access does have security. It seems relatively easy to defeat if a
: user is willing to spend between $100 - $200 for a "password recovery
: package".
:
: And, as Tom pointed out, the users must have full rights on the disks
where
: both the Front End and Back End reside, which means that they CAN copy the
: database and the data. A server database, with Tables (they can be Views
in
: the Server DB) linked by ODBC to the Access client, can use the server's
: security to secure the data.
:
: The most successful runtime distributions that I have seen used Install
: Shield or Wise Installer with SAGEKEY scripts or the equivalent. They
: avoided a number of common problems often encountered using just the
: Developer Tools -- one very common one is "References", when distributing
: MDE format Front Ends, from which the user cannot access nor change
: "References". I haven't personally built one of those distributions so I
: can't be especially specific -- but one of my colleagues put considerable
: effort into learning the Wise scripting language and object model for some
: special installations of related software along with an Access client. A
: more "ordinary" installation can be done without using the scripting
: language, from a visual interface, in either InstallShield or Wise. There
: are other installers, but those are the only two with which I am even a
: little familiar.
:
: I am concerned with your question about "cost"... certainly there is not
: nearly enough information for an estimate of an entire project. I hope you
: were asking about the cost of the developer tools, which Tom has already
: answered. Either of the installers I mentioned will cost more than the
: Developer Tools, and I think the SageKey scripts will cost about the same
or
: a little less than Developer Tools, should you find you need them.
:
: Larry Linson
: Microsoft Access MVP
:
:

Nov 13 '05 #7

P: n/a
"Charisma" <ch@risma> wrote
Yes, I'm going to write it, he'll own it.
Pay .. lol .. I'll be lucky to get $50/hr
for any part of this .. mind you, if he
wants to pay me that much for the
actual time i"ll have to put into it .. that's
not shabby but he won't .. so my
getting rich isn't an option ..


Fortunately for you, just saying "No." is an option.

Almost certainly, anyone who will make demands such as this, wants to own
the work product (contract will say "work done for hire" -- there are very
limited circumstances in which I would even consider doing "work done for
hire", and creating a significant database application isn't one of them,
unless I were to be paid a truly exorbitant hourly rate), and thinks it
should be done for $250 will balk at even the cost of writing a good
requirements document -- and, if you do estimate something for him, that is
ALL you should estimate, and contract to be paid time and materials, with
payments made weekly.

That way, if you insist on payment before you do the next week's work, the
most you will lose when he becomes dissatisfied, is a week's pay. And my
estimate for requirements would be "I can't tell you, because you are the
one who will be specifying what you want, I will just be assisting by asking
questions, recording what you say, and organizing the requirements into a
consistent document. I don't know how long it will take you to impart those
requirements to me, but my rate is $XX per hour, with a minimum of Y hours
each workday."

My guess is that there are multiple weeks of work writing a requirements
document, and _he_ will have to give you his requirements. You will sit
there with a yellow pad and pencil, asking questions and recording his
answers, then format them into a concise, understandable set of
requirements. Then, once he approves those requirements, they become the
baseline for the design the effort for which you will have to guesstimate.

Then the design, once documented and similarly approved by him, will become
your baseline for implementing the database application.

And "Tain't gonna be cheap."

And, unlike tables, you can't "link to" modules in the Back End.

Alternatively, you can insist that he provide a satisfactory requirements
and design, review those, and estimate only the implementation (if it
appears that his design _can_ be implemented; if not, "just say No").

And, good luck.

And, remember... hourly rate, minimum hours per workday, and paid promptly
and weekly or the work stops.

If you try to estimate from the information you have now, or, perish forbid,
bid a fixed price for doing the whole thing, you are selling yourself into a
lifetime of involuntary servitude.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP


Nov 13 '05 #8

P: n/a
Charisma wrote:
maybe your team lost ..


No, my team won.

Toronto Maple Leafs: 2
Florida Panthers: 1

Nov 13 '05 #9

P: n/a
Hi,

I'll stick my neck out - I designed an application (not runtime, each
system had a legal copy of Access) for a company that had 8 locations
spread over New England. The app was a system to do payroll and
billing. Each location was a stand-alone app on a peer to peer network
- no sharing between the locations. It has been in operation for 6+
years and saved the company about 5 man-hours per week per location. It
took me about 12 months(although not full-time)to do (I'm an idiot,
what can I say), Over that period I billed about $25,000. The company
has recently gone to an Application Service Provider for a CRM package,
but still use my system as it works better and faster.

Is that ballpark enough? <g>

JimA

Charisma wrote:

Cost was for the project .. but I really was looking only for a VERY general
ballpark thing .. not necessarily accurate.


Nov 13 '05 #10

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.