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Old 07-13-2017, 10:21 PM   #1
jonobugs
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creating an online database

I'm not even sure where to begin with this question, but I would really like to know what's involved i. creating an online database.

Details:
I already created an Access Student Database which works well (for the most part) but know I've been asked to create a database which can be accessed online so that our students can look at their own information (not other student's info)

The main problem is cost, though. It's a small private ESL school which doesn't generate enough money to warrant a monthly fee for those professional database companies.

We do have our own website, but I have no idea how to find out if it can even host a database. (Is there an easy way to find out, or do we need to contact the host company?)

I'm woefully ignorant about migrating my existing database online, and I am pretty sure that I would lose all the forms I created.

However, I'm willing to rebuild the database if I have to and if that is the best way to go.

I downloaded Postgres SQL and it seems easy enough to create tables, etc., but I don't know any SQL yet.

I guess my biggest question is whether or not it's possible to have our own database online where I can create a login in feature for our students. I've been led to believe that using SQL is free but I'm wondering if there are some hidden costs (besides your own time) involved.

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Old 07-14-2017, 12:48 AM   #2
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Re: creating an online database

Your web host should be able to provide a database - usually MySQL or SQL Server. But there will be a hosting cost involved. You will need to contact them for options and prices.

You main issue with online is the impact of firewall security. You may be able to access the database directly from your access front end if you can provide your web host with a fixed IP but most students will not have fixed IP's. They may also not be able to install Access on their machines. Instead you will need to write web pages for the students.

If your students can install Access, It may be that your school has a fixed IP so it may be acceptable to get past the firewall by student logging into your network and connecting via that route - in which case, if you are on a budget, you might as well move your back end to sql server express or MySQL (both free) and provide them a limited login to your network.
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:17 AM   #3
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Re: creating an online database

Thanks for the information. Although I spent a lot of time learning Access, it's an old version (2007) and I'm starting to think that I need to simplify my database to put something online that people can log on to with a web browser. There are far too many students who are using smart phones, so using access is out of the question for them.

I talked to my boss and he's going to talk to our service provider about SQL. However, if it's going to cost more money, I think he may decide to kill the whole idea which means I'll have to plan B, which is to write a email function and simply email all the students a report every 6 months. I'm not really looking forward to that! Although I have a good idea on how to do that, my boss is worried about sending the wrong report to the wrong student, so he wants us to check each report with each email before they're sent. Plan A was to have a student log into some sort of web database, log in, and then check their information any time they want.

As for your last paragraph, How would I go about moving my back end to an SQL server express or MySQL? I'm not sure if I would be able to do that because I don't think our school has a fixed IP address. I believe it's dynamic as it's a small business, not a big school and we just have regular internet service for a small office.

I've been researching this a lot but I keep going around in circles. I also keep finding these database services which seem like they would work well for us, but the cost is just too high for my boss. Thanks again!

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Old 07-14-2017, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: creating an online database

Quote:
How would I go about moving my back end to an SQL server express or MySQL?
sql server express is easier.

download and install sql server express (get the latest version) from here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-...itions-express

note you should install it on a server or a shared drive, not your local drive (like you would excel). Take care to note your admin login/password setup

You will also need something to manage the server (creating/changing tables and the like). Use the latest version of sql Server Management studio.

Then in access, In the database tools ribbon, select sql server and follow the prompts. Note - take a backup in case things do go as expected.

If you are using lookup or multivalue or calculated fields you will need to change the first two back to a textbox and delete the latter. You may also have to construct a table to populate with the values in multivalue fields.

You will not need fixed IP if this is on your network - security is usually handled by the windows login instead.

Unfortunately there is very little for free which has a commercial value.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:26 PM   #5
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Re: creating an online database

Great! I'll give this a shot on Monday when I go in. I'm thinking about making a separate and simple database for the students to log in, so hopefully I won't need something 'commercial'.
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Old 07-15-2017, 12:09 AM   #6
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Re: creating an online database

don't forget I said easier. Along the way you may find little problems to resolve. And it doesn't sound like you are addressing a main question - how will users connect. Apple/Google devices do not run access per se.

And don't forget MS often offer (or they used to) some things either free or significantly discounted for students/education. Apple may do the same.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:38 AM   #7
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Re: creating an online database

Thanks. Someone else pointed me to using Wordpress, so I may check that out as well. I won't be able to use Access for the obvious reason that most of my students won't have access to the database. I was hoping to make something that they could log onto from a website.

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Old 07-16-2017, 07:00 AM   #8
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Re: creating an online database

Before choosing any website builder check it will do what you want and it's reliability. Sometimes you will find a) it can't be connected to a db and b) frequent underlying changes to the web 'engine' means your website stops working.

Best to look for review sites which will often tell you the pros and conns and give indicative pricing.

You might also want to google 'intranet' and 'VPN' to see if this is an approach that will work for you.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:42 AM   #9
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Re: creating an online database

Okay, got it!

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