question that was asked about ipad and ms access

Discussion in 'iPad' started by epi117, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. epi117, Apr 1, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011

    epi117 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2010
    got a email a few mins ago and not sure how to answer this question

    "I am working on getting a unique identifier data collection system in place for the "project". We will be using the MS access database to tabulate data and I need a handheld device that has a touch screen and can be used out in the field and is compatible with MS access. I'm not sure if the ipad would work for this or if you may know of another device you'd recommend."

    I do not think an Ipad would work for this? what do you guys think?

    Thanks for any advice
  2. BrennerM macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    First off, I wouldn't use MS Access for a multi-user application. But if it must be MS Access, you have at least a couple of options:

    - collect data on a web screen which feeds to MS Access DB in the background. Use Safari on the iPad to access the web screen and input the data. (requires a connection)
    - write an iPad app which collects the data, stores it temporarily on the device (perhaps in XML format?), and eventually feeds it back to a service/program that then puts it into the central MS Access DB.

    I don't believe that there are any native iPad apps that work with the MS Access database file format, but I could be wrong.
  3. epi117 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2010
  4. Lagranger, Apr 2, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011

    Lagranger macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2010
    In addition to the previous suggestions, you might also consider using a simple flatfile database app on the iPad itself, if the schema isn't too complicated and the size of the dataset is relatively small. (maybe something like CSV DataViewer or even a spreadsheet such as Numbers/QuickOffice/DTG, etc) You'll need to figure out a workflow: How to export the results from the ipad app (probably as CSV/xls/etc) into Access.

    Basically, the notion is to use a standalone DB app on the iPad in the field, then export and merge the data with the master Access database afterwards. I suppose the amount of format-massaging involved will determine if this approach is practical for you or not.

    Edit: Just noticed the unique identifier requirement, which could complicate offline collection a bit. Would need to take steps to ensure unique keys are used or generated before merging collected data.

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