Thursday, February 6, 2014

Access Apps in Office365 - this is huge!

For years migrating applications from desktop databases like Microsoft Access to the web has been an expensive and time consuming process.  Typically these apps need to be ported to SQL Server, custom forms and reports developed, and tons of translating between "stuff you can do on a desktop database" and "stuff you can do on the web".

Microsoft has now released, free to all Microsoft Office365 users, the ability to port an Access application, complete with forms, database tables, reports, etc. directly to the web.  This lets them begin using a shared web-based database almost instantly, without coding.  It lowers the threshhold for office-accessible secure web based databases.

This series of videos shows how simple it is to create tables, add reports, and port the entire thing to the web in a matter of minutes.  You can create Access apps directly on the web, or in Access offline and move them to the web.

There are limitations to the online version of Access, especially when it comes to imports.  This chart from the Microsoft Learning center shows what you can do with online and offline access:

External data operations available in apps and desktop databases

This table gives you a quick reference of which kinds of files you can import or link to Access apps or desktop databases.
Microsoft ExcelGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot 
Microsoft AccessGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot
ODBC DatabasesGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot
Text or comma-separated value (CSV) filesGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot 
(add new records only)
SharePoint ListGreen dotGreen dot 
Green dotGreen dot
XMLGreen dot
Data ServicesGreen dotGreen dot 
HTML DocumentGreen dotGreen dot
Outlook folderGreen dotGreen dot

These databases aren't suitable for everyone - you need to figure out the best solution for your needs.  But this is a new, surprising development, offered free to Office365 pro users, that will push your database requirements online faster.

OS-Cubed is a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner, and are experts at Office 365 database development and design.  Contact us to chat about your requirements.