Access, a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, provides a low-barrier entry to database-based application development complete with masks, reports and all application logic. In the 1990s, it was used quite often by individual developers working in specialist departments as well as professional developer teams working for software companies. Developer teams, in particular, no longer consider Access to be the best choice. Access applications are not in compliance with modern architecture paradigms, are not usable with web and browser technologies and are perceived as being somewhat unprofessional by both developers and potential clients.
Access migration by fecher solves all of these problems at once: Using a proven tool-based process, fecher creates a functionally identical application that is based on the future-proof .NET framework with C# application logic, and which is flexibly usable on all devices as it is a true browser-based app. In the course of the migration project, you can also have the user interface modernized with new navigation, a responsive design or even a fundamental redesign of the masks.
We found fecher’s fixed-price approach to migration and UI redesign to be very convincing.
Although Access is commonly referred to as a database, it is actually much more than that. It is primarily a tool and a run-time environment for the creation and the execution of database applications. In addition to the database itself, Access also includes forms and reports as well as application logic in the form of macros or VBA code (Visual Basic for Applications, a Microsoft BASIC dialect).
In fact, the database itself now plays such a minor role - and has such drastic size, user-count and failure safety limitations - that many Access applications no longer even use the actual Access database and use Microsoft’s SQL Server for data storage instead.
Otherwise, the conversion to SQL Server or a cloud-based Microsoft Azure SQL database will take place during the migration project. By using Microsoft's SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA), a Microsoft tool specifically designed for this purpose, the conversion becomes relatively unproblematic. The switch may however encounter snags as the SQL syntax for the two databases is not identical. fecher then inserts its proprietary sqlTRANSLATOR middleware in between to translate the SQL statements into the syntax of the new target database.
Converting the Access software environment elements, namely the forms, reports and associated application logic, is the significantly more complex portion of any Access migration project. Forms are converted to .NET forms based on the Wisej framework. Reports are converted using the proven .NET reporting tool DevExpress. A specialized tool, fecher’s accessPORTER, is then used for these conversions and to adapt the VBA code and the macros to C#.
accessPORTER analyzes the Access application source code from which it develops the needed mapping for the transformation to a true .NET project with C# as well as the declared forms in Visual Studio. The tool enables project-specific declaration of the translation schema. The Access environment functions for which there typically is no direct .NET equivalent will be supplemented via a supplied class library, so that the migrated code remains easily readable and can be easily maintained with the .NET tools and further developed over time.
The accessPORTER replaces the Access application's presentation layer via the Wisej framework, thereby generating a true browser application. During the migration, the tool handles all of the necessary declarations and architectural adaptations. A Session Manager is implemented, for example, to manage all web users’ static objects.
accessPORTER is always used within the course of an Access migration project. When necessary, our specialists will implement any needed extensions for Wisej, integrate them with the existing framework and, using a proven procedure model, deliver a turnkey solution to you for a fixed price.
As with all of our migration projects, Access migration projects are always conducted according to a proven procedure model. The procedure model consists of multiple phases: In the evaluation phase, together with potential clients, fecher develops a solid decision-making basis for migrating your application. Also included in this phase is a fixed-priced offer keyed to the quantity and complexity of the code. Thereafter, the actual project can start, beginning with the implementation phase. At the end of the test phase, the turn-key deliverable to you is a completely migrated application that will run without restrictions in the agreed upon web and/or mobile environments.
An information package with reference examples illustrates the migration project process. We’ll answer any questions you may have in a face-to-face meeting or through an online demonstration. We’ll also advise you with regard to technology selection, various migration approaches as well as server and client platforms.
The assessment tool categorizes the source code into easy, moderately difficult and difficult tasks. The tool lets us estimate the time and effort required, the time frame and the cost of the migration project within a fluctuation margin between 10 and 15 per cent. There is no charge for the rough analysis.
We examine all application modules for problem areas and dependencies. The potential client is given a results report, a fixed-price offer and a project-specific timetable for the transformation. We charge a flat fee for the detailed analysis; the amount depends on the size of your project and the target platform. Depending on the complexity of the application, this only takes a few days.
The migration project is set up based on the analysis results. Together with the client, we coordinate the precise timetable and the course of action to be taken. We define the target structure of the individual application modules and components together with the client, thus covering the entire application.
One by one, we migrate all of the modules using our automated migration tools. We also adapt the source code, our tools and the transformation rules, if necessary. The end result can therefore be greatly individualized.
Every migration project involves changes to the software architecture. In the finalization phase, the code is always systematically checked and revised to meet the new conditions. All of the remaining errors are found through exploratory testing and an extensive screen-video based test portfolio. Individual problems are solved using traditional debugging methods and the solution is applied to all comparable source code areas. More extensive problems are solved by adapting the transformation rules and recompiling, either partially or fully. Additionally, our specialists verify all masks, dialogs and reports as well as conduct basic tests.
When conducting acceptance testing, an understanding of the business logic is crucial. For this reason, such tests are conducted by the client as a matter of principle. Errors uncovered during this testing process will be remedied by our migration specialists and have full warranty coverage.
We hold workshops and training sessions to introduce the developers to the migrated application and the Wisej framework. This provides a solid foundation for successful further development. We can also offer seminars that provide more advanced knowledge, if desired. A worthwhile addition: To secure our ongoing support, even long term, consider a support agreement.
The migration project leads to a long-term development process. Your developers can immediately make use of the new possibilities opened up by .NET and the Wisej framework. When you are ready, for example, you can develop new front-end modules for mobile devices or make cloud-conforming functional improvements that increase productivity. We’ll gladly assist you with these tasks, as well.
Wisej is an open Web Integrated Server Environment to design, build, debug, and manage powerful Web Applications using C# or VB.NET in Visual Studio. With Wisej, you can develop applications which can be operated like desktop software. The necessary technical requirements are fully contained in the Wisej framework and handled by it independently. This allows developers to focus entirely on their projects without worrying about HTML, state management, Ajax callbacks or concurrency. For more information on Wisej, including support and pricing, visit the Wisej website of our partner Ice Tea Group: www.wisej.com