Microsoft Access 2010’s New Feature to Web Enable Access Databases

Microsoft Access 2010

One of the most compelling features of Microsoft Access 2010 is its ability to post an Access database on a SharePoint 2010 site and have it run over the web. Some people hear this and think they'll be able to take their existing Access application, all its VBA code, etc., and make it web enabled. Unfortunately, that's not the case. What you can expose to the web is forms and reports that don't use VBA code. That's obviously a severe limitation, but on the plus side, what is possible is the deployment of databases that have automation through Access macros. The macros are automatically converted to JavaScript code. That's pretty cool.

An Access database that's hosted in this way can still be used locally on a desktop that has Access 2010 installed with all the rich functionality of Access, VBA, etc. The data is then hosted in SharePoint which exposes it to the web. So while it's not making it possible to publish an entire Access application with VBA to the web, at least a portion of it may be exposed with little to no additional effort. Letting people browse data, filter, and generate simple reports is all available and possible by non-programmers. It's a big step forward for the Access community.

5 thoughts on “Microsoft Access 2010’s New Feature to Web Enable Access Databases

  1. Richard,

    An Access 2010 database hosted on Sharepoint could include the forms and reports you want your user to see. The number of users depends on your Sharepoint installation and licensing but it can support a large number of concurrent users. The beauty of the web deployed solution is that the users do not need to have Access installed on their machines — they don’t even need Windows. Any Internet browser will let them get to your Access application.

  2. Anything that makes Access more useful and productive is a good thing. I agree that the new Access 2010 web solution is a significant but small step toward the goal of having an easy to create database driven web site.

  3. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long to ‘hit the wall’ with a Access WebApp solution. There’s actually only a little bit of value in having Access ClientApp experience because developing Access web-forms is like moving to a completely different toolset. Here and there you spot ‘Access-like’ properties and start to feel at home but mostly you’re in an alien environment and it’s beyond frustrating. I suspect that newbie Access developers might fare better than us old hands.

    To be honest developing an Access 2010 WebApp is like the old days of developing with Access 1.1 and using macros to do things. The new much touted UI Macro builder with intelli-sence actually has bugger-all of it. Intelli-sense pops up here & there but it’s usually not when you really really need it. The environment is so dumbed down that it slows down development no end. Based on my experience I’d estimate that it will take most people 2 to 4 times as long to get a basic app up & going as a web-app compared to a client app.

    On the plus side there seem to be relatively few bugs. I’ve only had one serious dump right out of Access where I lost a bit of work and I’ve only found one definite bug in the reports designer where you can’t resize a detail for some reason. Because I use Access 64-bit on Win 7 64-bit Ultimate, I’ve also found what is probably a 64-bit .ddl issue when interacting with Outlook 2010 64-bit. So far nobody from Microsoft or otherwise has responded to my forum posting re that bug so I don’t know if it’s also a problem in the old 32-bit environment. Considering that Microsoft screamed pretty hard about not bothering to go to 64-bit Office I’m pleasantly surprise at how well Access 2010 64-bit has performed for me so far. I don’t have a SharePoint 2010 to publish to at this stage but I’m having to admit defeat and continue my app as a Client App from now on so that’s not gong to bother me. I have another small app to test in SharePoint later on. The potential is massive though. As one person said in a blog comment: “Looks very good. Great to see Access coming alive again”. I couldn’t agree more. After nearly a decade of inactivity on a desert island Microsoft have, out of the blue, just dropped Access a massive life support package.

    Anyone else with WebApp / hybrid-App experiences I wonder?

    No doubt you’re very happy about these developments Luke :-)

  4. Hi ACCESS Expert,

    ACCESS 2010 and SHAREPOINT 2010

    For the above, can data and reports be send to and fro from source? How about multiple users using it concurrently? Does the users have to install both ACCESS/SHAREPOINT softwrae as well in order to receive and send the data? Appreciate your comment on these questions

    Best regards,
    Richard