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Use cases: convert MS Access DB into Web applications

Convert MS Access databases into Web applications using DaDaBIK


We often receive messages from potential customers asking if DaDaBIK can be used to convert an existing Access database application into a Web application.

Microsoft Access is a popular database management system, it is often referred as a desktop database because, traditionally, it was typically run on a single desktop computer.

There are many options to convert your Access desktop application into a Web application and one of them is by using DaDaBIK.

A Web application has multiple advantages over a desktop application, the most important one is that your final users can easily access and query your database through the Web, from anywhere in the world, using just a Web browser, even from a mobile device.

It's important to highlight that if you build a Web application, your data doesn't necessary need to be "in the cloud", it could be on your local machine as well or on a server accessible only from your LAN.

How to migrate an access desktop database application to an online database application

A the moment, there isn't a direct method to import a MS Access file in DaDaBIK and create a Web application starting from it. There is a workaround, though. Since you can create a DaDaBIK app starting from a MS Excel file, you can export all your Access tables (schema and data) to Excel and then import your Excel file into DaDaBIK.

The export process is very easy and you can find more information in this Microsoft support page. In most of the cases, you probably need to export "without formatting".

Once you have exported to Excel, you can follow this video tutorial to use your Excel file as a source to build a DaDaBIK application.

Final notes and the MS SQL Server alternative

In our requirements, you have probably read that DaDaBIK at the moment supports four DBMSs: MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and Microsoft SQL Server. Maybe you are wondering why MS Access is not listed here and how this impact on the topic we are discussing. Since this might be confusing, let me explain it in details.

When you build a DaDaBIK Web application, your data, after the installation, can be stored in a MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite or Microsoft SQL Server database. You can't build a DaDaBIK app and configure it to store the data in an Access database. You can, however, as we have explained in the previous paragraphs, start from an Access database and (through an intermediate Excel file) build your Web application, that however will store your data on MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite or Microsoft SQL Server (whatever you prefer). These four RDBMSs can be all valid MS Access alternative to store your data, each with its strengths and weaknesses.

This final note allows me to highlight an alternative option (respect to the Excel file workaround) you have: migrate your Access database to MS SQL Server. Once you have migrated it to SQL Server, you are ready to build your online application using such SQL Server database as a source for your DaDaBIK installation and to store your data on it. In this Microsoft support page you can find additional information about the migration.

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