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MS Access Data Project Application (ADP)

MS Access applications are constructed around a single MDB file that contains both the front-end User Interface Forms, Queries, code, etc., and the back-end datastore component (Jet Engine). This is how MS Access is configured out-of-the-box (absent a design decision, this is what you will get). The default MS Access configuration is perfectly suitable for small work groups in a LAN environment, provided you do not exceed one or more built-in limitations of MS Access i.e. size of datastore, number of records, etc.

MS Access Data Project (ADP) Application Scorecard

# End Users < 100 Supports continual use
Deployment LAN and Internet MS Access Runtime and/or IE Browser availability and version issues
Performance Good SQL Server design-dependent
Reliability Excellent SQL Server design-dependent
Data Integrity Excellent Assuming proper use of SQL Server database constraints and keys
Security Excellent SQL Server-level security controls
Data Limit Unlimited SQL Server datastore
Maintenance Medium Need to maintain MS Access
# of Records Unlimited SQL Server datastore
Internet Access Yes Remote access will impede performance and reliability

MS Access Data Project Application (ADP) Limitations

Developing MS Access Data Projects does make the MS Access application “a web based database available on the Internet,” however this approach does require that all Users run the MS ADP application through the MS Internet Explorer browser, and each User must have a locally installed copy of MS Access (or the appropriate MS Access Runtime engine) for the web-based database application to function properly.

MS ADP applications are limited primarily due to more complex deployment issues e.g. MS Access Runtime and/or IE Browser availability and version issues. While overcoming some of the inherent MS Access multi-user deployment limitations, the MS Access Data Project approach can also suffer from poor performance (vs. standard web based database applications) due primarily to the start up of the local instance of MS Access. Data security, reliability and integrity are Excellent, albeit entirely dependent on the SQL Server design.