Step 2 starts with the converted file from Step 1. To start Step 2 go to the Tools - >Database Utilities -> Convert Database and click on the Upsizing Wizard menu item.
Picture 1.2 Upsizing Wizard
Whenever we try to upsize an .mdb file to SQL server it leaves behind an .adp file and the .mdb file. This .adp file known as Access Data Project contains Access forms which connect to migrated SQL server database through the link tables left in the .mdb file. Step 2 leaves us with two options,
a. If you want you can retain this .mdb and .adp file and still work with the same Access forms.
b. Migrate from the native Access forms to windows forms thus eliminating the need of Access database from the picture.
There are many RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools available in the market.We have chosen Microsoft Visual Studio.Net. Microsoft Access developers generally consider a move to a .NET front-end for performance, extensibility, security and stability reasons. This process is known as
Application conversion and developers will find a number of key differences while migrating from Access to the .NET environment. It is crucial that these differences are noted and appropriate action is taken to ensure a seamless and incident-free migration from Access to .NET Windows Forms.
Step 3 is the process of converting these Access forms to Dot net forms and seamlessly integrating the converted forms to the upsized SQL Server database because windows forms (forms) are not directly bound to data and database updates cannot be done automatically. In Access, when a change is made to a data bound form field, the field in the database it is bound to is automatically updated. In Dot net, because your forms are bound to a local in-memory copy of the data and not the actual database, you must add a Save button to your form which, when clicked, will perform the database update but Dot net also enjoys the power of controlling the database connections and .NET offers a host of new form controls to ease data entry and organize your forms.
We have dealt Step 3 by sub classifying it into the following steps.
1.Move data access and ADO code to ADO.NET and a Data Layer.
2.Utilizing new Dot net controls.
3.Recreating Access forms in Dot net in the Presentation Layer.
4.Moving logic from Northwind forms to a business logic layer in Dot net.
Picture 1.3 Classification of the Step 3 into Layers
The business logic layer is the place where the data manipulation is carried out according to the organization rules and regulations. Generally this data needs no change from the source. For example Calculation of Tax for certain organization is different from others. In that case, the particular method used in Access is left unchanged (of course change of syntaxes according to language needs to be done).
You can download the sample project named
Access_Dotnet_SQL.zip at \\Lanserver\NorthWindDotNet . In this sample we have migrated from the following Access forms to Dot net forms by the above specified layered architecture.
Main Switchboard form.
Orders Sub form.
Access_Dotnet_SQL.zip file contains a file named WindowsUI.exe.config where you need to key in your SQL server settings. You can also find the NorthwindSQL file with in Backup Database Directory, this file is the upsized version of the Ms- Access Northwind. All you need to do is to restore that NorthwindSQL file on to your SQL server and make according changes in the WindowsUI.exe.config file. WindowsUI.exe.config file contains the Configuration settings to run the application. Open this file with in notepad and replace all the “XXXXXX” with necessary information and save it back. Now you can run the application named WindowsUI.exe
The next pages of this paper contains the pictorial comparison of Access and Dot net forms with in the sample application.
Note: No Reporting services are added to the sample Application.
picture 1.6 Orders (Access)