Access 2013 for Beginners Part 13: Intro to Web Apps in Access 2013

Access 2013 for Beginners Part 13: Intro to Web Apps in Access 2013


Welcome back to our course on Access 2013. The contact management database that we’ve
been looking at so far is a desktop database. Now this is not restricted to being used by
one user and in fact the database can be shared by putting the data part of it on a network
and giving other people access through the user interface components of this Access database. If we want to share a database, that’s one
approach. But if we want to share a database more widely
and in particular if we want to share the database over the internet, then the traditional
type of Access desktop database is not the ideal way to do that. However, if we want to share a database over
the internet, then Access 2013 includes the ability to build Access web apps which give
access to databases using standard internet browsers. In this section we’re going to take a first
look at how to build an Access web app and what one actually looks like. Now for this to work, the data in the database
has to reside in a central location and the central location will not be your own PC or
your own laptop or your own tablet. It needs to be in a location that other people
with internet browsers can access. Now the data itself lives in a SQL Server
database, a Microsoft SQL Server database and that’s where it needs to be put. In order to access it there and to have all
of the tools that we need to store the data, manipulate the data, etcetera, we use Microsoft
SharePoint. Now you probably haven’t got your own installation
of Microsoft SharePoint and most people don’t. Even if you work in a company, you may or
may not have access Microsoft SharePoint. In order to demonstrate this, I’m going
to have to use a standard installation of Microsoft SharePoint. Now in order to do that we need to use what
is effectively a trial version of Microsoft SharePoint and by the time you actually come
to work your way through this section of the course, that trial version may or may not
still be available. So at the time of recording this, the best
place to start to get a trial of Office 365 that includes SharePoint 2013 which is the
latest version of SharePoint, that’s the one you need. Here is the Microsoft page, Office 365 preview
and then on the right you have a list of options. Now I’ve gone with the Office 365 Small
Business option. That takes you through to the Office 365 Small
Business Premium preview page. It gives you a description of the top 10 reasons
to try Office 365 Small Business Premium and then you can follow that through, sign up
with the relevant details that you need. At the time of writing it’s free of charge
for a limited period. Don’t forget that you need Windows 7 or
8 in order to use Office 365. And then once you’ve gone through and completed
the sign up for your Office 365 preview, you should be able to do what I’m going to do
next which is to create an Access 2013 web app. To create an Access web app in Access 2013,
choose the requisite App Template. I’m going to go for contact management,
the equivalent of the contact management that we’ve looked at already but as a web app. The web app templates you can recognize by
the blue globe on the sheet of paper behind the icon. So this is the contacts one, click on that. Now exactly what you see here to some extent
will depend on the SharePoint site that you’re using. If you’re using an Office 365 account or
Office 365 preview account, you’ll see details of the web location at the bottom and then
the available locations for you are listed in a panel in the middle. Now for me with the account that I’ve setup,
I have two choices. I can either publish this web app to my team
site in which case that tells me the web location at the bottom or within my team site as part
of the Office 365 preview account that I have I have a personal apps area. Now I’m going to publish this on the team
site, selected the team site, that adjusts the web location at the bottom, and then I
want to give the app a name. Now the name I’m going to give it is not
very imaginative. I just call it Contacts TA. When I’ve done that, I click on Create. Now once the app has successfully been created,
I have a very basic app in place and it includes a contacts table on the left. I can add further tables. I can either use a table template from Microsoft. So I can search in here for a particular template
or I can add a new blank table using this link on the right here. Let’s suppose that I want to search for
a table related to contacts so I’m going to search on the term Contact. It gives me a number of options. It’s got a people table, contacts table,
customers. Let’s suppose I want a table suitable for
customers. So now my database has two tables in it, a
contacts table and a customer’s table. Let’s look at the customer’s table to
begin with. I open that up. Obviously it’s empty at the moment. I haven’t put in details of any of my customers
but I can certainly add details of customers and I can also go into the design of the table. Now it’s very important to recognize that
when we’re working in this way, this is completely different from the Access desktop
forms, reports, and so on that we’re going to look at during the rest of the course. The views that we’re getting of the data
here are views through an internet browser. And although we can go into change the layout
of the forms that users fill in they are different forms from the ones that are used in an Access
desktop database. So you’re basically using the same principles,
you’re using the same ideas in terms of tables, forms, queries, and the other things
that we’ve either looked at or are going to look at. The application, the implementation of them
in a web app is different. So for instance, if I want to change the design
of this form, the one that users will use when they access this database over the web
using a browser, if I click on Edit, then there’s the layout of the form. I can go in. I can change the wording of a label. I can move fields around and do all sorts
of things to them, but that’s a completely separate set of exercises to the ones where
I’m working on a desktop database. So when I finish working on a particular object,
I can just close it in the usual way, save the changes if I’m requested to do so. Once I’ve setup the tables and views and
so on that I want to use, it’s very straightforward to launch the app. So I just click on Launch App on the left
there and this enables me to view the app in my default browser. So I’ll click on Launch App. My default browser is Internet Explorer and
there is my app. I have a selection of Internet Explorer toolbars
at the top here but basically I have access to contacts and I have access to customers
and in each case I have a choice. Here I have List View. I can go into Datasheet View. And in either of these views I can start to
add data to my database. Now I don’t really want to spend too much
more time just showing you Access web apps at the moment. I just want you to have some idea of what
they look like and what the key differences are. If I’m working on a particular record like
this one, I can fill in details: first name, company, job title, etc., exactly the same
way that I would normally fill in data. I then have buttons on this Action Bar here
for things like save. There’s also a Delete button that’s currently
grayed out. This Action Bar which is a common feature
of these views in Access web apps can be customized and for instance if you write macros which
are supported within Access web apps, you can put buttons here to activate macros. So here you can see the view that users get
of your web app running in Internet Explorer in this case. If I just switch back now to Access where
we started from, we can have a look at the information about this web app in Access. And in Access, we can see the form layout
that we started with. We have the facility there to go into edit
to change the design of that particular view. And if I just go back to Backstage View to
look at the Info, then I have information there about my web app. It gives me a URL for the web app, including
this number 6BE, etc. that identifies the particular web app, and then information about
data connectivity, the server name that the SQL Server database is actually running on,
and so on. So I have pretty full and comprehensive information
about where my web app is and links to get access to it. And of course I can control other people’s
access to the web app, their permissions, etc. So if you don’t already have access to SharePoint
2013 and you do want to try out Access web apps, I’ve given you at least an outline,
the instructions for doing that. You need to get access probably via an Office
365 account which you can get at least on a temporary basis free of charge and then
you can setup your SharePoint on your Office 365 account and then create a web app from
Access and set about customizing it and using it in the way that I very briefly outlined
in this section. So that’s it for this section. I’ll see you in the next one.

Danny Hutson

6 thoughts on “Access 2013 for Beginners Part 13: Intro to Web Apps in Access 2013

  1. That's very informative but if you make a ppt file for every video and share it on slideshare.net that would be super

  2. Hey, I've got an Office E1 License so I do have a SharePoint site through that, but I don't have MS Access. Can I buy a standalone copy of Access 2013 and use it to create Access WebApps?

    I think I can but I don't want to waste £80 buying a copy of Access to find out it's not possible. Thanks!

  3. Is it possible with Access Web and SharePoint,  to create a lookup table for a person picker?   We need to be able to select names that are already in SharePoint (active directory?)  We don't want to maintain a user table of our own. 

    Is there a way to tap into what is already stored in SP?

  4. How do I prevent SharePoint from adding a Title & an ID column when there's already a PostID as a primary key and composite keys in the lookup tables?

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