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Migrating from Access to SQL Server with a web front end

P: n/a
Afternoon all,

Apologies for cross-posting but as my query covers both Access and SQL
Server I thought I'd send it both!

I have inherited a project to migrate a fairly complex series of
Access databases into a single proper SQL database with a web front
end.

Its quite a nasty job as people are working on a variety of data sets
at several Universities around the world and the data has got very
messy; hence the requirement to put it all on one live web enabled
database server and provide a web-based front end (particularly as
some users insist on using Macs so can't run Access as a front end
anyway).

If anyone could give me hints on how to perform such a migration or if
anyone knows of any good books or other documents on this I'd be
grateful for assistance.

Many thanks

Rich May
Museum of London
Jul 20 '05 #1
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9 Replies


P: n/a
First off, congratulations - this is a great move to make.

As far as converting the tables, use DTS (Data Transformation Services) in
sql server. It is pretty much wizard driven and works really well. As for
the queries, you would do best to forget you even have them in Access and
rewrite everything using Stored Procedures. My favorite book for "stepping"
between access and sql server is "Microsoft Access Developer's Guide to SQL
Server" by Chipman and Baron. It's wonderful.

As for your web front end... that is where the headache starts. You can
pretty much choose two paths if you want to stay on the Microsoft path. You
can do it using ASP or ASP.NET. Both will run on IIS (.net needs framework
installed).

If you are serving to Macs, you may deliver your app better using ASP
because you will be able to better control the rendered output (very good
for Netscape). I use Visual Basic to build "ActiveX DLL" components to
alleviate the complexity of the ASP pages so you would want to be proficient
in Visual Basic and instantiating COM components. Next, you need to take
ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) head on and learn it well, that is what you will
use to connect to sql, execute queries, and work with data.

If you are using IE on all clients and have control over them, you will find
that Visual Studio.NET does a great job at deploying web applications in
ease and speed, once you pass the high learning curve. I VERY highly
recommend "Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .Net" by Francesco Balena
(1600 pages).

If it all sounds complex, don't get me wrong... it is. If you need help,
let me know, we do this for a living.
--
Jerry Boone
Analytical Technologies, Inc.
http://www.antech.biz

"Rich May" <rm**@museumoflondon.org.uk> wrote in message
news:e1**************************@posting.google.c om...
Afternoon all,

Apologies for cross-posting but as my query covers both Access and SQL
Server I thought I'd send it both!

I have inherited a project to migrate a fairly complex series of
Access databases into a single proper SQL database with a web front
end.

Its quite a nasty job as people are working on a variety of data sets
at several Universities around the world and the data has got very
messy; hence the requirement to put it all on one live web enabled
database server and provide a web-based front end (particularly as
some users insist on using Macs so can't run Access as a front end
anyway).

If anyone could give me hints on how to perform such a migration or if
anyone knows of any good books or other documents on this I'd be
grateful for assistance.

Many thanks

Rich May
Museum of London

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
several choices, depending on what you're comfy with ..
1) sql server, IIS & ASP
2) mySQL, apache, php

here's a RAD tool that I found the other day to create web pages for
either option (I haven't tried it yet)
http://www.citybusinesslogic.com/apwab.php

and somewhere I've got vba code to convert ms-access tables to mysql
format
rm**@museumoflondon.org.uk (Rich May) wrote in message news:<e1**************************@posting.google. com>...
Afternoon all,

Apologies for cross-posting but as my query covers both Access and SQL
Server I thought I'd send it both!

I have inherited a project to migrate a fairly complex series of
Access databases into a single proper SQL database with a web front
end.

Its quite a nasty job as people are working on a variety of data sets
at several Universities around the world and the data has got very
messy; hence the requirement to put it all on one live web enabled
database server and provide a web-based front end (particularly as
some users insist on using Macs so can't run Access as a front end
anyway).

If anyone could give me hints on how to perform such a migration or if
anyone knows of any good books or other documents on this I'd be
grateful for assistance.

Many thanks

Rich May
Museum of London

Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
Hi Rich,

I think there are 3 options. a) Access' Upsizing Migration Wizard
b)Sql Server's DTS and c) setting Access as a linked server and
programmatically importing the data. I believe the main problem
you'll run into is that Access' datatypes are not 100% compatible with
Sql server's. - Louis
Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
lo************@hotmail.com (louis nguyen) wrote in message news:<b0*************************@posting.google.c om>...
Hi Rich,

I think there are 3 options. a) Access' Upsizing Migration Wizard
b)Sql Server's DTS and c) setting Access as a linked server and
programmatically importing the data. I believe the main problem
you'll run into is that Access' datatypes are not 100% compatible with
Sql server's. - Louis


Another problem I have seen with the upsize wizard is it makes all
columns with the type nvarchar i.e. unicode which doubles the space
requirements.

Duncan
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
"duncan" wrote
Another problem I have seen with
the upsize wizard is it makes all
columns with the type nvarchar i.e.
unicode which doubles the space
requirements.


First, I don't think that is true -- all _text_ columns, perhaps, but
certainly not numeric and date/time columns.

Secondly, were you under the impression that Access does NOT use unicode? It
has since Access 2000. There is an option for "unicode compression" to
reduce the impact; I don't know if there is such an option in SQL Server,
but would think that it would have a similar feature.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a
Is Cold Fusion a viable alternative to ASP in this kind of situation?

*** Sent via Developersdex http://www.developersdex.com ***
Don't just participate in USENET...get rewarded for it!
Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
In Ms SQL...

Char is fixed length and pads with spaces
NChar is fixed length and pads with spaces, plus is unicode
VarChar is variable character (with max length spec)
NVarChar is variable (maxlength), plus is unicode

Since I don't deploy to any other language and don't plan to, I never use
the N' datatypes.

Also in SQL, the "SmallDateTime" field type is 4 bytes and the "DateTime" is
8 bytes). If it's 4 bytes in Access, then the equiv is "SmallDateTime".

In SQL Numeric DT's, there is tinyint, smallint, int, real, bigint, float,
money, smallmoney, and decimal. All with their mix of capacity.

--
Jerry Boone
Analytical Technologies, Inc.
http://www.antech.biz
"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in message
news:bp******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...
"duncan" wrote
> Another problem I have seen with
> the upsize wizard is it makes all
> columns with the type nvarchar i.e.
> unicode which doubles the space
> requirements.
First, I don't think that is true -- all _text_ columns, perhaps, but
certainly not numeric and date/time columns.

Secondly, were you under the impression that Access does NOT use unicode?

It has since Access 2000. There is an option for "unicode compression" to
reduce the impact; I don't know if there is such an option in SQL Server,
but would think that it would have a similar feature.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP

Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a
Sure, I looked into it some time ago when I was a beginner, but then I
discovered the unimaginable amount of documentation and books from multiple
authors in Microsoft products and I didn't even give it a second thought.
To me, no product is satisfactory if I have to spend days looking for
answers, and especially when they aren't there to be found.

--
Jerry Boone
Analytical Technologies, Inc.
http://www.antech.biz
"John Callaghan" <ja*****@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3f*********************@news.frii.net...
Is Cold Fusion a viable alternative to ASP in this kind of situation?

*** Sent via Developersdex http://www.developersdex.com ***
Don't just participate in USENET...get rewarded for it!

Jul 20 '05 #9

P: n/a
In my experience, the data conversion part of a project like this is almost
trivial compared to the front-end application challenge.

Access forms and reports can be incredibly complex, with subforms, simple
data binding, no-code dynamic behavior (record navigation, filtering,
sorting, finding, column-reordering, all those are built in to Access, not
at all in asp), and the list goes on and on. If your Access front-end
application is complex, it could be impossibly time-consuming to do in asp,
slightly less so in asp.net.

You would need some other tool for reporting (Crystal or others), I've made
crude html reports in asp and it is nearly impossible to do even the easy
stuff Access reports can do.

As a example, I wrote a full maintenance application for a 30 table database
(with lots of RI between tables), with multiple subforms, dropdown
navigation, and lots of other features, all in one day of work.. ASP would
have taken weeks to do even close to the same functionality.

So overall, my suggestion is if the Access forms are complex, plan for 1000
to 2000% more development time over Access forms. You will definitely need a
better reporting tool than html/asp. Hope this helps,

Steve Nyberg

"Rich May" <rm**@museumoflondon.org.uk> wrote in message
news:e1**************************@posting.google.c om...
Afternoon all,

Apologies for cross-posting but as my query covers both Access and SQL
Server I thought I'd send it both!

I have inherited a project to migrate a fairly complex series of
Access databases into a single proper SQL database with a web front
end.

Its quite a nasty job as people are working on a variety of data sets
at several Universities around the world and the data has got very
messy; hence the requirement to put it all on one live web enabled
database server and provide a web-based front end (particularly as
some users insist on using Macs so can't run Access as a front end
anyway).

If anyone could give me hints on how to perform such a migration or if
anyone knows of any good books or other documents on this I'd be
grateful for assistance.

Many thanks

Rich May
Museum of London

Jul 20 '05 #10

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