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An Access Database can start off small and simple, or it may be large and complex from the beginning. The great thing about Access is that you can start it yourself with limited programming skill and bring in Access programming professionals like Winning Solutions, Inc., later to take over if necessary.
In its most basic state, an Access Database can be a single file on your computer or network that contains all of the database screen forms, reports, queries, and data.
When your database usage grows from single user to multi-user, this is a good time to “split” the database. Splitting the database refers to a process performed within Access that separates the database into two distinct files. One file is the FE and the other file is the BE. Please see the definitions area of this document for more information on what this and other terms used here mean.
An additional benefit to splitting the database is that it allows you to make many FE design and programming changes to the database while people are working in the previous version of the database. If you add new data elements to the database, you will need to interrupt usage of the database, briefly, as adding a new data element impacts both the FE and BE.
When the number of concurrent users of your Access database grows beyond ten, it is generally time to convert the Back End to Microsoft’s more robust database BE system called Microsoft SQL Server. WSI recommends that you move to the Express Edition of Microsoft SQL server, which is free, unless you already own a more powerful edition of Microsoft SQL server. Winning Solutions, Inc. has found that Microsoft SQL Server Express meets the needs of more than 90% of our clients.
If you want to create a web browser FE for people to interact with your data, Winning Solutions, Inc. recommends moving to Microsoft SQL Server.
Winning Solutions, Inc. can assist you with some or all of these processes. WSI can even manage the hosting of your database on one of our hosting partner’s dedicated servers or on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service. If you would like knowledgeable, Iowa, U.S.A. based support and assistance with some or all of these Access database processes, please contact Winning Solutions, Inc.
Screen Forms: These are screens that you will see when entering data into your database, you may also use them to view data stored in your database and to make edits to that data. This part of an Access database is considered to be part of the Front End or FE user interface.
Reports are displays of data stored in your Access database. They may display the data in PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Access’s own format. These reports can then be distributed on paper or by email. In the case of Excel reports, these may be used to take the data to another database, via an import process that the other database would use to “read” the data. This part of an Access database is considered to be part of the Front End or FE user interface.
Queries are screens where you might set parameters like data ranges or other settings to get the database to return the desired sub-set of data stored in your Access database. This part of an Access database is considered to be part of the Front End or FE user interface.
Data is stored in Access in a system of tables, which are similar to, but more sophisticated than, columns in a spreadsheet. Access uses a basic database engine known as “jet.” The data portion of an Access database is often referred to as the back end or BE.