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Request for recommendations: shared database without a server

P: n/a
EP
I need to build a fairly simple application that will reside on remote
storage, not on a server, and I am looking for any best practices and
approaches that have worked for others. I believe py2exe may be part
of the solution. Here's what I need to build:

-- A database application on a network drive
-- A variety of users will access the database application at various
times
-- All computing is done on the client machines (Windows XP), as there
is no server
-- I'll not be able to install a database program, or Python, on the
client machines

While this seems just the sort of application servers were designed
for, the absence of a server is a firm constraint (no technological
reason, just an arbitrary wall of infinite height)

I currently have some of the required database tables populated in
MySQL, but I can migrate them as long as I have SQL capabilities in the
new database.

Can I get there with MySQL? Or do I need to pair a pure python
approach (including the database) with py2exe? Has anyone achieved
this with a db framework like Dabo? Or is there another, entirely
different and better approach?
The common wisdom around the halls is to just use MS Access, because
apparently everyone has that on their client machines, or can be
asked/expected to install it. That's not my preference, but I need to
forget my biases, be pragmatic and get the application done.

Thanks for any advice
EP

Oct 5 '06 #1
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6 Replies


P: n/a
-- A database application on a network drive
-- A variety of users will access the database application at various
times
-- All computing is done on the client machines (Windows XP), as there
is no server
-- I'll not be able to install a database program, or Python, on the
client machines
This pretty much leaves you out of any options - and contradicts your
last paragraph.
While this seems just the sort of application servers were designed
for, the absence of a server is a firm constraint (no technological
reason, just an arbitrary wall of infinite height)

I currently have some of the required database tables populated in
MySQL, but I can migrate them as long as I have SQL capabilities in the
new database.

Can I get there with MySQL? Or do I need to pair a pure python
approach (including the database) with py2exe? Has anyone achieved
this with a db framework like Dabo? Or is there another, entirely
different and better approach?
The common wisdom around the halls is to just use MS Access, because
apparently everyone has that on their client machines, or can be
asked/expected to install it. That's not my preference, but I need to
forget my biases, be pragmatic and get the application done.
Access might really be the best solution. It is pretty good for what it
is supposed to do, and the quick prototyping and UI-designing are strong
arguments for it, especially if there already is a bias towards it.

I also _think_ that the whole "db on a shared volume" thing works
comparably neat.

However, there _can_ situations arise where it might get corrupted, as
e.g. file locking on a network share isn't as reliable as one wants it
to be - so if you do anything to tear down some infinite walls, try it.

Diez
Oct 5 '06 #2

P: n/a
Access might really be the best solution. It is pretty good
for what it is supposed to do, and the quick prototyping and
UI-designing are strong arguments for it, especially if there
already is a bias towards it.

I also _think_ that the whole "db on a shared volume" thing
works comparably neat.
Just a caveat from past experience...I've had trouble with Access
(at least older version) sharing DBs on a network drive. It
didn't work /too/ badly, but it scaled horribly. 3 concurrent
users was noticably slow. 5 concurrent users was painful. Above
10 users was agony.

Fortunately, I was one of the ones redesigning the replacement
system to actually use a database server. Granted, as merely a
PFY at the time, I didn't have much input into the choice of
server (MS-SQLServer) nor into the language (Visual FoxPro), just
got to execute the plans of the higher-ups.

-tkc

Oct 5 '06 #3

P: n/a
Tim Chase schrieb:
>Access might really be the best solution. It is pretty good
for what it is supposed to do, and the quick prototyping and
UI-designing are strong arguments for it, especially if there
already is a bias towards it.

I also _think_ that the whole "db on a shared volume" thing
works comparably neat.

Just a caveat from past experience...I've had trouble with Access (at
least older version) sharing DBs on a network drive. It didn't work
/too/ badly, but it scaled horribly. 3 concurrent users was noticably
slow. 5 concurrent users was painful. Above 10 users was agony.
Yeah, I recall that dimly, too. But at least it worked, only when
putting really much stress on the system it produced inconsistencies
such as doubledly assigned ids and the like. Seems to me that they are
pretty conservative regarding locking.
Fortunately, I was one of the ones redesigning the replacement system to
actually use a database server. Granted, as merely a PFY at the time, I
didn't have much input into the choice of server (MS-SQLServer) nor into
the language (Visual FoxPro), just got to execute the plans of the
higher-ups.
The architectural benefits are for sure, therefore my suggestion to tear
down some walls.

But VFP really can get messy... and at least the late-90ies, early 21stK
ms sql sucked pretty badly, feature-wise access/JET beat the crap out of
it any time back then...

diez
Oct 5 '06 #4

P: n/a
EP wrote:
I need to build a fairly simple application that will reside on remote
storage, not on a server, and I am looking for any best practices and
approaches that have worked for others. I believe py2exe may be part
of the solution. Here's what I need to build:

-- A database application on a network drive
-- A variety of users will access the database application at various
times
-- All computing is done on the client machines (Windows XP), as there
is no server
-- I'll not be able to install a database program, or Python, on the
client machines

While this seems just the sort of application servers were designed
for, the absence of a server is a firm constraint (no technological
reason, just an arbitrary wall of infinite height)

I currently have some of the required database tables populated in
MySQL, but I can migrate them as long as I have SQL capabilities in the
new database.

Can I get there with MySQL? Or do I need to pair a pure python
approach (including the database) with py2exe? Has anyone achieved
this with a db framework like Dabo? Or is there another, entirely
different and better approach?
The common wisdom around the halls is to just use MS Access, because
apparently everyone has that on their client machines, or can be
asked/expected to install it. That's not my preference, but I need to
forget my biases, be pragmatic and get the application done.

Thanks for any advice
EP
So what is going to be holding the "network drive" if it isn't a server?
And what is MySQL running on?

Isn't it 'odd' that you can expect people to install MS Access but not
some other program?

I had to use only "existing" database tools, and the data wasn't
too large or too complicated I would use ODBC to dBase file which
is built into all versions of Windows that I'm aware of. I think
you would find that it would work for small number of users. With
some good planning you should also be able to architect application
so that you can even change the underlying database later without
too much heartburn.

-Larry Bates

Oct 5 '06 #5

P: n/a
EP
Larry Bates wrote:
So what is going to be holding the "network drive" if it isn't a server?
And what is MySQL running on?

The network drives are on a filer (a NAS array, I believe). The filer
will not execute any code, it just serves data by whatever protocols
(example: CIFS, NFS) it is set up for.

I have MySQL running on my client machine for development, populating
itself from csv files out on another network drive which a perl cgi
script updates. Thick in kludge, I am.

Isn't it 'odd' that you can expect people to install MS Access but not
some other program?

Odd and frustrating, but MS Access is "normal".

I had to use only "existing" database tools, and the data wasn't
too large or too complicated I would use ODBC to dBase file which
is built into all versions of Windows that I'm aware of. I think
you would find that it would work for small number of users. With
some good planning you should also be able to architect application
so that you can even change the underlying database later without
too much heartburn.

Interesting idea.
thanks

Oct 5 '06 #6

P: n/a
EP wrote:
>
[Client-only application with shared storage and concurrent access]
Can I get there with MySQL? Or do I need to pair a pure python
approach (including the database) with py2exe? Has anyone achieved
this with a db framework like Dabo? Or is there another, entirely
different and better approach?
One of the features of SQLite version 3 is supposedly the possibility
of having multiple processes safely access an SQLite database:

http://www.sqlite.org/faq.html#q7

Unfortunately, networked storage may not be supported to any level
acceptable for your application.

Paul

Oct 6 '06 #7

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