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  1. #1
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    Best solution for offline database application

    Hi,

    I've been asked to build a database application for a construction company, which will do a number of things:

    1. Store new client details that are inputted
    2. Have the ability to create a new job from a template (again, which will be inputted into the database)
    3. Bring up all payments e.g by a particular client, and between specified dates if need be (and other criteria as applicable)
    4. Provide simple tax calculations, for example tax on the labor component of a payment
    5. Generate invoices for jobs within the database
    6. Link tables together (if multiple tables are needed?)
    7. Store client accounts (individual projects and overall)
    8. Generate monthly reports monthly report
    9. Have an expense account module (for items purchased by directors, requiring reimbursement from the company)
    10. An individual project module showing purchases, profit/loss, fees, costs and wages of any given project and as many report options as possible.

    I was thinking of making it an online db so I could build with PHP/mySQL, but there's no real need for it to be online, so was thinking of an application for offline build.

    It must also be able to work with MS Word (e.g bring up a Word doc template for an estimate, which can be filled in and placed in the db), and especially easily exported to Excel.

    So I was thinking Access might be ideal, but will it do all the above?

    Any ideas as to other database apps which would do a better job?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by trufflepig View Post
    I've been asked to build a database application for a construction company, which will do a number of things:
    Quote Originally Posted by trufflepig View Post
    So I was thinking Access might be ideal, but will it do all the above?
    If you don't know the answer to all of those questions, are you sure you're the right person to build such an application?

  3. #3
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by trufflepig View Post
    So I was thinking Access might be ideal, but will it do all the above?
    yes, provided that you do all the necessary coding

    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru Jason__C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trufflepig View Post
    Hi,

    I've been asked to build a database application for a construction company, which will do a number of things:

    1. Store new client details that are inputted
    2. Have the ability to create a new job from a template (again, which will be inputted into the database)
    3. Bring up all payments e.g by a particular client, and between specified dates if need be (and other criteria as applicable)
    4. Provide simple tax calculations, for example tax on the labor component of a payment
    5. Generate invoices for jobs within the database
    6. Link tables together (if multiple tables are needed?)
    7. Store client accounts (individual projects and overall)
    8. Generate monthly reports monthly report
    9. Have an expense account module (for items purchased by directors, requiring reimbursement from the company)
    10. An individual project module showing purchases, profit/loss, fees, costs and wages of any given project and as many report options as possible.

    I was thinking of making it an online db so I could build with PHP/mySQL, but there's no real need for it to be online, so was thinking of an application for offline build.

    It must also be able to work with MS Word (e.g bring up a Word doc template for an estimate, which can be filled in and placed in the db), and especially easily exported to Excel.

    So I was thinking Access might be ideal, but will it do all the above?

    Any ideas as to other database apps which would do a better job?
    Offline? Why not build a Desktop app? Since you are using Word/Excel, and online isn't required, that would be the best solution and it would be easier to integrate the Office apps to.

    Other then that, Access will be sufficient.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Being a bit of an Access geek, I'll try to offer some advice;

    Your requirements are;

    1. Store new client details that are inputted
    2. Have the ability to create a new job from a template (again, which will be inputted into the database)
    3. Bring up all payments e.g by a particular client, and between specified dates if need be (and other criteria as applicable)
    4. Provide simple tax calculations, for example tax on the labor component of a payment
    5. Generate invoices for jobs within the database
    6. Link tables together (if multiple tables are needed?)
    7. Store client accounts (individual projects and overall)
    8. Generate monthly reports monthly report
    9. Have an expense account module (for items purchased by directors, requiring reimbursement from the company)
    10. An individual project module showing purchases, profit/loss, fees, costs and wages of any given project and as many report options as possible.
    1. Simple to do this in Access - just create a form to take the input, add validation rules, link the form fields to the appropriate table fields and there you go.
    2. Just design a form in Access
    3. This is a simple query - you could design a form to display the results in a nice way
    4. Easy enough using a query
    5. Access lets you create what it calls "reports" which is the result of query, formatted in an easy-to-read format. You can easily export these to Word.
    6. Easy to do in Access - use the Relationship editor
    7. Easy
    8. Yep, should be straightforward
    9. Yep.
    10. Theoretically easy, but could get complicated.

    So, I would say Access could meet all your needs.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to having an off-line database - the main advantage is that you aren't reliant on having an internet connection. The main disadvantage is making sure the database is replicated across all users - it is no use updating a record on your copy of the database if no-one else can see it.
    There's more to me than meets the eye, but not much more.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Great, thanks for the replies. Sounds like Access should be able to do the necessary work (particularly as for cost reasons we've now ditched Item 10 - this may crop up in a Phase 2 as and when but isn't needed for the moment)

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Or build an offline web app

    Install something like USBWebserver - which is just a download and unzip job, no installation at all
    Create your pages using html/php/MySQL

    test it on your own pc.
    copy it to your clients PC if it works.

    When client asks for upgrades, you edit the hmtl/php pages, then copy and paste them to his version.

    Cheaper than buying Access.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John View Post
    Or build an offline web app

    Install something like USBWebserver - which is just a download and unzip job, no installation at all
    Create your pages using html/php/MySQL

    test it on your own pc.
    copy it to your clients PC if it works.

    When client asks for upgrades, you edit the hmtl/php pages, then copy and paste them to his version.

    Cheaper than buying Access.
    Do you really think a construction company really cares of investing a couple of hundred dollars? And perhaps they already have Access! And what about the developing time? And when he's thinking on using Access, wouldn't it be more likely that he knows something about VB(A), so he would be more comfortable with VB.NET instead of PHP. He can download Visual Studio Express Editons for free, to build Windows and/or web applications using MS SQL Express as well if money is a consideration....


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