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Alternative to Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a very popular database management system (DBMS) and database development tool with a long history.  As a Windows desktop application, Microsoft Access is heavily focused on helping individuals or organizations build internal database applications.  Microsoft Access is extremely powerful and provides a full set of features, including a very robust banded reporting engine.

Microsoft Access has one overriding limitation...

No Web Accessibility

Because Microsoft Access is a Windows Desktop application that requires either direct file access or direct access to a SQL Server, it is very difficult to grant wide and remote access to a Microsoft Access database.  The only practical means of remote access involves tools like Remote Desktop or Citrix Server, both of which have very real licensing and infrastructure costs.  I have been directly involved in the migration of a complex Microsoft Access application to a dedicated Citrix Server farm designed exclusively to serve a large national franchise network.

Microsoft made an attempt at creating a web-accessible version of Microsoft Access, but that was officially shut down on April 2018.

dbFront as an Alternative

Any application that claims to be an alternative to Microsoft Access faces a very high bar.  Microsoft Access is extremely robust, feature-rich, and has a long history of serving the needs of individuals and organizations alike.

dbFront approaches the challenge from a completely different angle:

  • Rather than using a database file or external database as a data store, dbFront integrates with your database server and projects its security and functionality to your users.
  • Rather than providing a single reporting engine, dbFront gives you access to a variety of reporting tools: Crystal Reports, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), a built-in Template base reporting engine and multiple other options.
  • dbFront runs as a Web Application designed with multiple layers of security so that it can easily serve the needs of local and remote users. 
  • Power users can adjust the table/form layouts to suit their own needs, and they can create their own template-based reports and exports.
  • dbFront automatically adjusts the screen layouts to accommodate the available screen space on phones, tablets or 4K monitors.
  • dbFront allows access to stored procedures, stored functions, views, full-text indexes and much more...

dbFront builds simple and powerful web applications that dynamically interact with the underlying database tables and show the data in context.  This makes searching, editing, reporting and all other database operations easy for your users to understand and perform.

Quick Example

The following interface was automatically created for the product table in Microsoft's sample database with only a few minutes of tweaking.

Web based database front-end generated in minutes by dbFront

dbFront has deep security functionality that starts by automatically extracting the table security and limiting the user's access so that they can only perform the operations they are allowed.

dbFront excels in quickly and economically, bringing web applications to life.  Applications built in dbFront start life with a powerful and solid set of default functionality that is easily extended as needed.

dbFront installs locally and directly integrates with your own security so there are no SAAS requirements.

For the full list of features see: Features

Free trial

dbFront offers a 30-day free trial so that you can download, install and test it in your environment.  After the trial you can continue to use the FREE version of dbFront for up to 3 users.  Please review the video tutorials and plan to start a free trial today.  We believe you will be impressed.

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