If you don’t know, you pronounce it dot net!)
You may have heard of it, but what is it? This isn’t the whole story, but this
A lot of you have had custom applications built for you by us using
. In order to run your custom application you need to
have bought and installed Microsoft Access
(If you don't need to do any design work there is also
). We build all the logic such as what data you want to store,
what items you want in a drop down box, how you want to group and summarise your
provides the ability to store the data in tables but also the ability to create
forms, reports, queries etc. It provides a data storage engine as well as a
If we use .NET to create your custom application we don’t use
as as the framework. You have to install the .NET framework (which you will probably already
have, it’s free and is included with Windows) and if we’re storing data, some
sort of database engine. We can still use Access
the .NET framework can talk to it, but Microsoft Access
doesn’t need to be installed on the PC for your application to run. We could use
another database engine; our recommendation would be
Once again, you may already have it, there are various versions, and some are
So why would you want a .NET application as opposed to an
Access based solution? Well as in most things in life, it depends...
One thing that Access has
never been that good at is running with lots of concurrent users. What’s lots?
That depends – but the rule of thumb we use to start with is: Are there likely
to be over 10 users using the system at the same time.
Versioning – if you upgrade
will your custom solution still work? Most of the time yes, but Access 2007
introduced some security features that we have seen interrupt the workflow of
applications built on previous versions. If you have a lot of users there can be
some strange conflicts on your PC’s that need solving to get your
Access application to run.
Scaling – if you wanted a web site that also connects to the
same data as your application, depending on the number of concurrent web users,
Access may not be suitable.
Functionality – Access may
not be able to do everything you want.
This is far from an extensive list but it starts to give you a flavour of what
the considerations are. We wouldn’t expect a client to make these choices, but
you need to understand our recommendations. We create applications using .NET
but do not consider that using Microsoft Access
is unnecessary, old fashioned or just wrong – it all depends! One of the best
things that Access
does is allow us to build applications a lot faster than in .NET. Reporting is
also superb. So if your application is for fewer than 10 concurrent users and
you’re unlikely to have tables with more than half a million rows, we’d still be
recommending using Access.
Whilst we can create your beautiful looking corporate presence, our area of
expertise is data. This is the other main use of .NET. It’s called asp.NET
(Active Server Pages). This time the .NET framework is not required on the end
user’s PC (client). The end user uses their web browser (Internet Explorer,
Edge, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome etc.) to interact with the data. The .NET
framework has to be installed on the web server.
Here's one example
our asp.NET development skills created that also
Some of the web applications we create are reporting type applications. You may
have users entering data via the
Access front end and a wider internal audience running reports against that data via
the web application.
These are programs that need installing on the PC. They don't run in the web
browser. Nowadays we have many technologies to choose from; winforms,
Silverlight and wpf.