Ways to Convert Microsoft Access to Web Application

Microsoft Access is a proven technology and is sunsetting as a result of this legacy system being sidelined by Microsoft, organizations now are looking for options when it comes time to convert Microsoft Access Forms to web application. If a fast and dirty solution sounds appealing stick with converters, alternatively if a long-lasting and secure system is preferred look closely at creating a web application to replace your Access forms.

Converting Access to Web Since 1999

In my role as a project manager at the North West Company we hired Mindfield Consulting to develop several custom .net applications for us. Timelines were consistently met and I was always impressed with Mindfield’s responsiveness and ability to quickly grasp the problem and offer up creative solutions. Applications were of very high quality and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mindfield Consulting for any custom development. – Grant

CONVERT ACCESS

 

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Common Symptoms on When to Upgrade a Microsoft Access Application

 

Changing to a web application means your needs have grown from individual use to more wider adoption by a department or company. Despite the merits of using Microsoft Access for a time, here are some common challenges faced by users

  1. 2GB storage limitations – this issue crops up as more and more data gets added after which the program will grind
  2. Limit to number of concurrent users – the system theoretically can handle 255 concurrent connections but issues show up even just with 10 users (source)
  3. Scalability – problems, like sharing one large file across a network and managing the same windows patching and access forms version, becomes a headache
  4. Mobile last experience – Access was not designed for mobile users
  5. Security – it’s not hard to break an Access password or to reengineer a database file , and there’s also the good ol fashion insider job (source)
  6. Fewer Microsoft Supported Options – Microsoft is making it harder to transition off Access as it discontinues O365 and Sharepoint support (source)

 

Benefits to Convert Microsoft Access to Web Application

weights scale on pros and cons of converting access to web app

Despite the benefits that can be derived from Microsoft Access, the above-listed limitations mean it is important that businesses switch to a better option that provides a more robust solution. The best options are those that offer the conversion of the Microsoft Access database to web applications.

There are several benefits that can be derived from switching to web application, and listed below are its benefits:

  1. Consistent availability through using multiple components to host and operate your application, reducing the likelihood of one single point of failure
  2. Once an access application is upsized to a web application, organizations benefit from capabilities like user logging for audit trail as to who made what changes to the data
  3. A web application also provides a higher number of concurrency with inherent capability beyond 255 users
  4. Web applications also provides tailored and focused user experience than just using forms
  5. Depending on certain approaches, web application provides a more secure way to manage data and access
  6. Full data control is available as organizations get to determine how the information is stored and clear ownership (source).

5 Ways to Convert Microsoft Access to a  Web Applications

There are two classes of conversions for a Microsoft Access

  1. Direct port – which is a lift and shift, is usually less complex but it looks and still smells alot like a basic Access app
  2. Upsize – this takes more craft but positions the application for future evolution and better security

The following approaches cover both direct port and upsizing of Microsoft Access applications

Converting MS Access to PowerApps

PowerApps is Microsoft’s response to create a web application that can help businesses seamlessly transfer the local Microsoft Access database to the web. Due to a less than satisfactory user response to the product, Microsoft continues to tweak the product to meet the expectation of users.

Pros

  1. No need for coding which makes it easy for a non-technical professional to use.
  2. Web application has multiplatform support. Works on Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac/iOS and Andriod.
  3. Create Apps from readymade templates. This can help accelerate the process of analysis and report creations.
  4. Ability to pull data from sources like Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, Sharepoint, etc.

Cons

  1. Slower load time compared to native android apps
  2. Works only when connected to the internet. Unable to function in an offline situation.
  3. No live support, but provides email and phone supports.
  4. There is no direct way to link local PowerApps to your existing data resource and requires a technical resource to facilitate the migration either to SharePoint or a SQL database.

 

Converting MS Access to Webb Application using Zoho Creator

Zoho creator provides a powerful, scalable, secure, and functional user interface that helps businesses convert Microsoft Access forms to web application (powered by Zoho’s online platform). Zoho provides business with a dedicated plug-in to help ease the process of migrating Microsoft Access database from the local desktop environment to the web.

Pros

  1. Provides excellent advanced invoicing features to help in accounting database management
  2. Provides attractive templates to aid in designing web applications
  3. Excellent customer support

Cons

  1. Limited third party integration
  2. Suitable for small to mid-sized businesses
  3. The import process may be haphazard given that there isn’t a direct tool to set up the database structure and import your existing data.

 

Migrate Access to Web Application using Hyperbase

This web application offers businesses a holistic and wide range of applications. Offering additional services such as email integrations, automated workflows including collaboration tools such as contact and project management tools, Hyperbase is a one-stop solution for businesses. A SaaS(software as a service) can fully tap into the power of cloud computing for business intelligence and decision making.

Pros

  1. Automated process workflow
  2. Tends to be used by public relations, healthcare, and educational organizations
  3. Capability for integration

Cons

  1. Web applications need to add more functionality to help users in the customization process
  2. Hyperbase requires a product vendor to migrate and restructure your data.
  3. If your solution will have a large user base this can be a disadvantage as subscription costs would increase over time, and may actually be cheaper to build it separately
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Migrate Microsoft Access Forms to Web Application using Caspio

Priding itself as a leader in the provision of database web applications, Capsio boasts of giant customers such as Yelp, Lenovo and Box in its client base. Although their product’s starting price is a bit expensive, it offers multiple integrations to third-party applications, Rest and SOAP APIs including offering a visual drag and drop builder to help non-technical users to start their projects.

Pros

  1. Suitable for small businesses to enterprise organizations
  2. Limited amount of coding required
  3. Free trial with full functionality

Cons

  1. Tends to be steep pricing for subscription costs
  2. Limited reporting capabilities once ported
  3. Less flexibility compared to other web applications providers
  4. Not available on mobile platforms

 

v. Custom Software Development

For an organization that already has power users that helped create a mission-critical Microsoft Access database and want a smooth transition to the web, the solution is to work with experts that can create custom web applications. At Mindfield Consulting, our in-house experts can help organizations smoothly transfer and transition their database from local power code solutions to web applications and remove the downtime associated with the process. Taking this route of custom software development is important for organizations due to some reasons. Reasons could include, wanting to keep its operations in-house, a wish for greater control in its activities, abhorrence to been tied down to a particular vendor or they couldn’t find any suitable generic web applications.

Pros

  1. Provides most flexibility compared to other strategies
  2. Provides the most control and predictability for an organization long run
  3. Ability to fully reap the benefits of user experience and security features
  4. You aren’t at the whim of data ownership and contract fine print
  5. Most pertinent way to safeguard any sort of secret sauce

Cons

  1. Tends to be more expensive upfront
  2. Require on-going hosting
  3. Needs a strong product vision to ensure scope creep is managed
  4. Organizations need to understand their process and have clarity on where they want to upsize towards

 

Mindfield Consulting; Right Place for Right Technology

Mindfield continues to help organizations create and improve their IT architecture by designing and offering them solutions to help their critical missions. Our team prides itself on making sure our customers achieve their mission through the use of practical solutions.

Our team will be available during each step of the process to convert Microsoft Access forms to web application that provides organizations with the business intelligence power to make better decisions. By migrating to the web, organizations can also tap into the power of cloud computing which makes their IT infrastructure robust and agile to accommodate future changes and challenges. At Mindfield we are specialists in developing custom software, provide elearning for corporate training, and jira expert consulting.

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