Access, Web-Style?
July 2, 2007 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Rather continue to work with Microsoft Access, I'd love to move a few old databases I continue to maintain into a www database app, if one exists. I'd like something that feels Access-like, with the ability to structure queries and forms as Access does. I'd happily accept a script package that I can easily install and maintain on my own web server, or a full service. Is there such an Access corollary, either free or available for purchase?
posted by boombot to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I haven't used it myself, but DabbleDB looks great. It's a service rather than an installable program.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:30 PM on July 2, 2007

Have your tried's Base? Their writer is somewhat similar to Word. It's free, but they would love a donation.
posted by philomathoholic at 3:42 PM on July 2, 2007

Ditto the suggestion for DabbleDB. Once you give it a try, you're not going to ever want to look at Access again.

Dunno if they offer an Access import, but you can always go Access -> Excel -> DabbleDB.
posted by jacobian at 3:50 PM on July 2, 2007

This might be worth looking at sometime down the road: MySQL. Requires some server know-how. It's worth learning about if your databases have the potential to get large or heavily trafficked.
posted by Area Control at 4:18 PM on July 2, 2007

I guess my previous answer isn't really a web-based solution. You don't say whether this if for a business, or for personal use (but you do say "my own web server"), so you could always use something like vnc to get at either access or base from the web. This will only be useful if it's just you using the program, if not, then I second the mysql suggestion.

Feel free to ignore my suggestions if they seem way out there.
posted by philomathoholic at 5:18 PM on July 2, 2007

No, don't bother learning MySQL if you're used to doing all of your work on Access. Access is around 100% GUI, mySQL is around 0% (give or take 0.00001% for both). I moved from Access precisely because we were serving up loads of websites and they were hurting (I went to postgres at the time, since mySQL had unbelievably bad SQL support at that time, it's still bad but bearable now). I never set up anything using the built in Access forms or anything like that, but if I had I doubt that I would have found an easy replacement in mySQL.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:21 PM on July 2, 2007

Set up a MySQL backend, give user remote permissions.

Hook up your Windows machine to the MySQL via ODBC.

Link in tables into Access, proceed as you did before.

Best of both worlds.
posted by unixrat at 6:14 PM on July 2, 2007

unixrat wins. The other option would be to get a web hosting account with a company that provides Microsoft SQL Server and will allow you to connect remotely to it with Access. At least up through Access 2003 (I haven't tested in 2007 yet) you could use Access more or less as a front end to an MS SQL server database. There are some slight differences when it comes to data types and query construction, but nothing that will throw you if you're familiar with Access.

MySQL is a better option and cheaper for the web, but I don't know of any easy way to port an Access DB into it. It would really depend upon how complicated your relationships are and how much time you have to set it up.

There are front-ends for MySQL. The most popular is the web-based front end phpMyAdmin. But you will need some SQL chops to do queries. Web hosts that provide MySQL almost always provide phpMyAdmin.
posted by wheat at 8:59 PM on July 2, 2007

phpMyAdmin is not even slightly Access-like. It's about as far from Access' ease of use as you can get.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 5:51 AM on July 3, 2007

I never claimed phpMyAdmin was "Access-like." I just said it was a popular graphical front-end to MySQL. It is, in fact, one of many graphical front ends that one could use with MySQL. MySQL Control Center is pretty good. MySQL Sidu and QueryMaker for MySQL look interesting, though I haven't tried either yet. The old version of MySQL Control Center (back when it was called MyCC) was very handy, but it's not supported any more.

Ease of use is relative. Coming at Access from MySQL, I found Access fairly hard to understand and felt that it slowed me down. Now I'm comfortable with both of them, but I had to learn to think like Access to make it work for me.

OpenOfficeOrg's Base will provide a way into the data for management and query building. It's very Access-like and reads Access database files. The trickier part will be generating some sort of web-based front-end, there are plenty of frameworks that would do the heavy lifting, but I don't think any of them are what the OP is looking for. Most all are going to require some programming chops.
posted by wheat at 8:57 AM on July 3, 2007

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