SharePoint 2010 – Publish Business Applications from Access 2010, Client NOT Required

 

Tonight I’m picking some low hanging fruit (lots of it) with regard to SharePoint 2010 and Access Services.

See http://channel9.msdn.com/learn/courses/Office2010/OfficeServicesUnit/DevelopingWithAccessServices/

Its true, a fully web enabled application published from Access 2010 to your production SharePoint site is now possible. Not all scenarios work – VBA, Action Queries, and traditional Access macros (see the video above) still require the Access client.  However, I would guess that 80% of the most common business requirements for a fully web enabled business application could be met without the need for the MS Access client to be installed.

MS-Access 1.x through 2007 was traditionally considered somewhat of a rogue application development platform. Why? The most common reason is that IT simply became a bottleneck for applications development. As such, departments used MS Access to create “mini” applications, some highly complex. The problem comes in when these applications require a larger audience or support leaves with the person who wrote it. The ability to publish Access 2010 to SharePoint as fully web enabled application starts to minimize this fear to some degree. For example, the database itself becomes lists on the site, MS Access forms become web forms, macro logic is created with JavaScript, etc, etc. So why is this better?

  1. Departmental applications are no longer hidden
  2. Departmental applications can be shared as a true multiuser application and scale better as the department grows.
  3. SharePoint 2010 features and security can be employed
  4. Programmatic access to potentially important data can be gained via standard SharePoint APIs
  5. Application sites are backed up like any other content in SharePoint – no data is ever lost
  6. The ability to publish applications can be managed

I spent time tonight to run through the Charitable Contributions Access Demo myself. Here is what the process was and how my SharePoint 2010 site looked.

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Now, open Access 2010 and select some application you want to publish

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Create it as follows – see right side of image above

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Local creation defaults to the opening screen

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Its now time to publish but I first check compatibility

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Select the target URL

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A couple more dialogs then I see this

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At this point I can open my new SharePoint 2010 Business Application as a web site – note the look and feel are virtually identical, yet at this point your published

 

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Dead simple but not brain dead!

 

Is this a way to create enterprise scale applications? I don’t think so – my brief excursion into Access services leaves me to believe its really still targeted at the department level. I say this mainly because the rich development resources available for more traditional enterprise designs are not currently available using this model of development. One alternative to “no code” enterprise development, beyond MS Access 2010, could be with something like Microsoft CRM.   

 

By the way, check out my brief mention of using SharePoint 2007 with Access 2007 in a previous post http://curriersblog.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1FE2EFF5F31CEDCA!340.entry 

Cheers! 

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