Convincing client - updating from Access + ASP to mySQL + PHP


I’ve recently redeveloped a 10 year old web application that was using classic ASP and an Access DB. The old system still works but is very flakey.
The new system (not yet deployed) uses the Ying framework and mySQL. We’ve built a fully customised admin front end for the client to administer the DB.

To my astonishment, the client is concerned about the number of keystrokes required to make edits in the new system compared to editing the DB directly in Access previously. Even though we’ve spent considerable time allowing data in table cells to be edited directly using Ajax.

I was hoping you guys could throw me a few compelling arguments that outline the advantages of the new system over the old one. The first one’s that come to mind for me are:

  • extendability (new system is modular, so features such as ecommerce can be plugged in later)
  • fully responsive design (new layout is mobile friendly although this is not specifically related to the keystrokes issue)
  • technology does not rely on proprietry software so is more future proofed
  • mySQL will allow for more concurrent users
  • mySQL and PHP more widely supported on web hosts
  • the amount of keystrokes in our admin UI is far less than using something like phpAdmin to edit the DB


“… editing the DB directly in Access …” would not involve asp. If the old application was asp using ado to connect to a back-end access database, it would be using the same basic architecture as a php application using a mysql backend db.

It would be something in the user front-end forms design that would require more keystrokes in one system over the other.

Yep, the old system uses ASP for the user UI not admin.

I should have clarified, we’ve built a “web” admin UI so the client doesn’t need to touch the DB directly. This was mostly to mitigate the high risk of interacting directly with the DB and introduce some usable clientside validation.

So the client is comparing browser UI keystrokes to Access UI keystrokes.

So if the user has been opening access to do db admin work and your new ui does it through a browser interface, I think you’ll have a problem, the built-in Access administrative interface is pretty comprehensive and it would be a lot of work to clone that functionality to a web app. Mysql doesn’t have a native equivalent admin interface, and I assume you’ve looke into integrating phpMyAdmin to handle DB administration. There are some other mysql admin programs like heidisql that may be useful in your situation.

MySQL does have Workbench. But I highly doubt many clients could manage the learning curve.