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Need help in choosing a right database for a school project.

  1. #1
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    Question Need help in choosing a right database for a school project.


    Hello,

    I have a set of data from the students that is currently being saved in excel files, this data has to be moved into a database. The data of students will be accessed by multiple users across the organization. The system will also have online forms which will be submitted by students and the data submitted by them should automatically get populated into the database.

    I need assistance in choosing the right database for the project. Can i build a software with only Microsoft Access? Can the online forms be linked with Access database?

    What are the options in which I can build a software system for the above requirements?

  2. #2
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    Does your organization have SharePoint?

  3. #3
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    No we don't use SharePoint.

  4. #4
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    As far as accessing the data across the organization, a back-end database on a shared drive and distribution of front-end databases to users would achieve that. To my knowledge, without Sharepoint, polling the students with online forms becomes hairier, involving needing a server with IIS set to allow publishing Access forms online. I have to admit that my knowledge on this is stale and Microsoft might have built a better mousetrap for publishing and collecting data with Access over the last 15 years.

    If you used a more robust database engine, you would still be faced with the challenge of collecting data via the online form, and you would still need to build a front-end data access portal with something like Access or SAS.

  5. #5
    Bulzie is offline VIP
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    When you say online forms, do you mean they need to access these forms from a website or from their homes? Or all of this happens at your location?

    I would probably use MS SQL as backend, Webpages or Access to do the forms and whatever else.

  6. #6
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    If I use Access database, does it work well with multiple users?
    Having multiple users access the database is one of the requirements.

  7. #7
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    The forms should be accessed from a website, from their homes. Upon submitting the forms, the data should populate our centralized database. I need assistance in choosing the right database and the front-end for the system.

  8. #8
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    Yes, if you split it into a back end and multiple front ends, you can have multiple users on at a time, each on a separate copy of the front end. Performance would depend on the amount of data in the back end, the complexity of any queries, and the number of concurrent users.

    MS SQL would certainly be a better choice for the back end, but there product cost, database maintenance, and developer knowledge factors in using that platform that may make it less feasible for you if this is a relatively small solution you need.

  9. #9
    Bulzie is offline VIP
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    Well Webpages linked to either SQL or Access. I am not as familiar with web development or how easy it is to link webpages to access tables. MS Access can handle multiple users so you could use some webpages to collect the data into a SQL database, then use Access to develop the internal program for the users. Or just use web development for the entier frontend system and online forms.

  10. #10
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    The amount of data in the back-end would be close to 1GB. How many concurrent users will the Access support?
    I have worked with MS SQL before.
    So the best choice would be to use MySql or MS SQL as the back-end and use Access as the front-end program?

    Quote Originally Posted by Preston View Post
    Yes, if you split it into a back end and multiple front ends, you can have multiple users on at a time, each on a separate copy of the front end. Performance would depend on the amount of data in the back end, the complexity of any queries, and the number of concurrent users.

    MS SQL would certainly be a better choice for the back end, but there product cost, database maintenance, and developer knowledge factors in using that platform that may make it less feasible for you if this is a relatively small solution you need.

  11. #11
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    What could be a disadvantage of using Microsoft Access as both front-end and back-end?

  12. #12
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    Yes, if you have worked with MSSQL, that would be the best option in my humble mind. Also consider whether there will be others skilled in MSSQL to keep things running if you get hit by the cookie truck.

  13. #13
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    The disadvantage of using Access as the back end would be performance. 1 GB is a lot of data for Access.

  14. #14
    shwetha94 is offline Novice
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    I am the only person who can do with MSSQL. The school has skilled people for Ms Access. This has lead to my confusion. As I researched about Ms Access, I read that it doesn't work well with multiple users. I did not find any articles related to linking of online forms to Ms Access database as well.
    I am trying to find a solution which is easier for the school to keep it running for a long term and also a solution which is robust, salable and has flexibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Preston View Post
    Yes, if you have worked with MSSQL, that would be the best option in my humble mind. Also consider whether there will be others skilled in MSSQL to keep things running if you get hit by the cookie truck.

  15. #15
    Preston is offline Advanced Beginner
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    Scalability is a huge issue with Access. With a max size of 2 GB, scaling can push you past its limitations quickly. I've set up an Access front end/back end with about 50 clients before, with concurrent usage up to about 10 at a time, with no issues besides some latency, but the data itself was fairly small. I agree that with a lot of data and a lot of users, MSSQL is the preferred back end.

    If you truly have skilled people for Access, there shouldn't be much issue with training them up to MSSQL.

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