Modernize MS Access Applications

Modernize Microsoft Access Applications

Enterprises are increasingly moving from proprietary platforms like Microsoft Access to open Java platforms. Yet migrating Access applications and re-training Microsoft Access developers to use complex Java tools can be time consuming and costly.

There is a very steep learning curve for MS Access developers to learn the host of web and Java technologies required to build modern web applications. A visual, drag and drop tool like WaveMaker can flatten this learning curve – minimizing hand coding while generating standard Java applications.

“WaveMaker is great for any developers who are migrating Microsoft applications to Java. The learning curve to build great-looking Java applications with WaveMaker is just a few weeks!”

Aurelio Di PasqualeLead Software Developer, MARA

Motivations in Modernizing MS Access Apps


Enterprises moving to open source and Java platforms are uncomfortable with Access because it is a proprietary closed-source solution.

Low Data Quality

Access applications, particularly those originally based on importing department spread sheets,  often have out-of-date corporate data or corrupt data based on poorly defined schema.

Poor Security

Access applications do not integrate with corporate security and lack advanced security features such as role-based access controls.

Limited Manageability

MS Access applications can be difficult to manage by IT.

No-Web based distribution

Access applications cannot be accessed over the web.

SOX Compliance

Access applications are often identified in corporate audits as a source of risk.

In a recent project, WaveMaker was able to automate the conversion of over 400 forms out of a total of 500 forms. The remaining forms needed to be rebuilt, either to reflect changed business logic requirements or to simplify and streamline the user interface following Web 2.0 best practices.

Step-by-step process to migrate an MS Access app

1. Rebuild the schema: Ensure proper definitions for the following:

  • Primary keys
  • Indexes for common search and join columns
  • Foreign keys for all relationships, along with cardinality constraints and delete propagation constraints.
  • Default values for columns and Null-allowed columns.
  • Views

3. Convert basic forms:

Use WaveMaker to automatically create web forms that can create, read, update and delete data from each table. WaveMaker forms can include master-detail sub forms and lookup references to set foreign key relationships, enabling the majority forms to be converted automatically.

2. Clean the data: Cleanse data before importing:

  • Ensure primary key uniqueness
  • Ensure referral integrity; check that primary key exists for all foreign keys uniqueness for 1..1 relationships.
  • Ensure that Null-allowed columns have a value
  • Ensure that data types agree, particularly for date, integer,decimal data types.
  • Import cleansed data into new relational database schema.

4. Rebuild advanced forms:

For forms that need to reflect changed business logic requirements or where there is need to simplify and streamline the UI following web 2.0 best practices, rebuild the application forms and reports using WaveMaker’s visual drag and drop studio.

  • Import relational schema into WaveMaker Studio
  • Create new webpages using the WaveMaker page designer.
  • Define actions  using custom Java or Java script code or web services.

“WaveMaker allowed me to quickly build a web based insurance claims application that was faster and provided more functionality than the original tool-MS Access. Best of all, I did it in only 20% of the time it took to build the original MS Access application!”

Rob GeibPartner,Markur Networks-LLC.

Planning to modernize MS Access applications?

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