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Trying for cheap multi-user access to an Access db.

P: 99
I have been wandering through Google all day, getting lots of data but not much information!

I have been developing what was originally seen as a single user Access db for a small charity. However, these things tend to expand as users become more aware of what might be possible, so it's turned into quite a complex system to which at least 3 users would like access (with a small 'a').

They don't have much money!!! They are trying to limit admin costs so that the max of what they raise can be spent on the work of the charity. There was even some balking at buying ONE licence for Office 2007, but we are over that now.

Here is my current plan. What I want to know is (a) are there any obvious technical snags, and (b), more importantly, are there any licensing issues with what I propose.

Current plan:
The part time administrator for the charity has a copy of the database on her own PC.
We can buy a copy of LogMeIn Pro which will allow remote access to her PC, and enable remote printing of reports etc, remote updates to the db.
We organise it so that the admin person has chunks of time when she can use the db, and other chunks of time are allocated to each of the other two users for exclusive access using LogMeIn.(Thus, there is never to be more than one person using the Office 2007 s/w at the same time ... I am hoping this gets round licensing issues with having only one licence??? ... and also ensures there are no concurrency issues to address)

In fact, I have a preference for only the administrator being able to do updates to the db (for 'human reasons' rather than technical). If the other users have only 'read only' access, and the ability to run reports, does this mitigate any licensing problems? (I imagine it makes not a blind bit of difference, but worth asking.)

Possible future plan:
Users are getting all excited about putting the db on a server with remote access for several people. I have told them (I hope correctly) that in that case each user will need a licence for Office 2007, (expensive) in addition to a fee for whoever hosts the db for us. I also don't currently have the expertise to set this up (tho' I dare say I can acquire it). Can anyone confirm that if I split the db, and the tables go on a server, and each user has a 'front end' all users will need a full licence? I assume the front ends can't work via the Access Run Time thingy?

Oh my! Little hobby programmer that I am, I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for, did I?
Apr 24 '10 #1
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6 Replies

P: 37
I assumed you checked out this page?

They have special offers/packages for charity foundations. Besides that there aren't any good alternatives for Office and running Access database on itself, you'll need to buy Office and a license for 5 people I guess. Usually they start with that. But anyway, if you have a good story to tell,...send them an email and see what your local software company can do for you. People tend to give away this stuff for free just for a little positive advertisement

So without Office, no Access? Not entirely. You can always get a free copy of VS Express, build your own data-tier application and have that one use OleDb (Access) as it's datasource. No problems with licences that way, except your own copyrighted material.

I guess I can relate to projects consuming more time than they should. But it's the fun and gratitude what we get in return so it's easier to keep up that way :)

Apr 24 '10 #2

Expert 100+
P: 904
Actually since you already own 1 copy of Access 2007 you can use that copy to modify and create your existing datbase and forms, reports etc.. Then download the free copy of Access 2007 Runtime and use that to allow your clients to use your Access database without royalty fees (obviously they cannot change and forms, reports etc.).

And yes you can split the database and use it with the runtime (preferred way).

Apr 25 '10 #3

P: 37
@mshmyob there is a runtime version available. Nice :)
Apr 25 '10 #4

P: 99
Thank you 'mshmyob' (what is that short for?!)

What you suggest seems ideal, but I'm trying to work out exactly it is to be done. E.g. when upgrades/maintenance are done on the PC that has the full licence, I then reissue the modified front end to all the other users?

I guess I can try this out using my own PC and my laptop, so I think what I need to do according to your advice is ....

1) Split the db into 'front' and 'back' ends (on the PC where Office is installed)
2) Retain both 'ends' on that PC
3) Put the RunTime thing on the laptop
4) Install a copy of the 'front end' on the laptop
5) Access the PC from the laptop using LogMeIn and try to put in data, etc.

Is that really all there is to it?
Apr 25 '10 #5

Expert 100+
P: 904
I know nothing of LogMeIn and I don't know your setup at the location.

If you do not have a central server but have a peer to peer network just install the backend on one computer and the front end on all the other computers with the runtime and then have the one user share a directory where the backend is.

Apr 26 '10 #6

Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,770

Check out Front-End / Back-End (FE/BE). If all your FE setups use the free client, then you should be cooking.

Bear in mind Rob's advice too though. You should certainly not need to pay full price for the single license if you are a charity.
May 6 '10 #7

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