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  1. #1
    Junior Member Mark Endsley's Avatar
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    For years now the organization I work for (has about 1000 members) has been using a system where the forms users fill out are sent through a program called Horder through email, then payments are manually entered into the merchant, receipts are copied sent via email, and we manually enter the information into excel to keep track of it.

    This system works just fine for us, but the database is getting hard to keep up with.

    Now, some people in our organization are pushing the idea we should switch to a more expensive merchant gateway in order to join WildApricot. This would cost us money we don't have (over 1200 a year).

    Like I said the system we have WORKS, but what I would do to get the form on the website to submit directly to the excel database.

    I am looking for a free, or at least close to, solution to this problem.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    First off, Excel isn't a database...it's a spreadsheet program. That's probably why it's hard to keep up with.

    Second, if you want a form to submit directly to an Excel spreadsheet, it's doable, but it will require some programming on your part and an Excel connection string.

    http://www.connectionstrings.com/excel

    Now...this assumes that your spreadsheet is on a computer that is connected to the Internet. If not, you're going to have to put it on a computer that's connected to the Internet.

    The other option you have, and this will require some advanced programming, is to generate Excel spreadsheets on the fly from a website admin interface. I've done this before for people using both classic ASP and ASP.net. Again, though, it's not easy and I don't recommend it unless you've got some hardcore geek in you.

    Mind you, there are two things that don't make sense to me:

    1) If the organization has 1000 members, it's probably got a pretty large revenue stream, which means $1200 a year shouldn't be all that hard to swallow...especially if there's a savings in person-hours to counteract that.

    2) Why an organization list with 1000 members is using an Excel spreadsheet for anything other than summarial calculations. Get a database...Access, SQL Server, MySQL...just get something.
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  4. #3
    Junior Member Mark Endsley's Avatar
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    We tried to upgrade it to Access when we were in charge of that part, when the office subsided it was changed back. It is on a computer with constant internet access. we have 1000 members, perhaps 400 currently paying, many students, if you catch my drift.

    Thank you so much, this is going right to the board meeting.

  5. #4
    Junior Member Mark Endsley's Avatar
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    What level of programming would you say would be required to make the first option work. The one on the computer, so I can ask the programmer if she's got the shots in her language?

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    An intermediate, or even a skilled beginner, could pull it off.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  7. #6
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    You really don't want to use of have an access DB on a web application, record locking is a major pain.

    More than 2 people trying to do anything with it, starts shuddering. 5 people will lock it or make it pretty much useless.

    I've converted so many access DB sites to MySQL sites, its make my head hurt, but its definately doable.

    Good thing about MySQL is you can export directly to Excel format for whatever reasons you want.

    There's actually a pretty good program out there too <$200 that you can point at a MySQL DB, setup forms for data management, build reports, etc... Not the prettiest stuff... But a knowledgeable person can take this software, a MySQL DB and in a few hours, build a complete interface for DB management and reporting. They have a version for all current server side languages.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That depends on how you do it. You can, if done correctly, avoid the record locking by going in, making a transaction, and closing/destroying the connection object. This is where most Access code snippets on the web fail miserably...they leave connection/record objects open when they don't need to be.

    Now...that doesn't mean my primary recommendation would be Access. Personally, I prefer SQL Server because I hate working with MySQL. But if there's a budget concern, Access can be an alternative.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  9. #8
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Even closing records and killing connections ( yeah I learned it the hard way, and yeah tons of old examples out there that don't close them) after 5-6 users the servers on most hosting plans start struggling to keep up.

    If its the only DB on the server, probably not an issue, but MS wants you to go to SQL.

    As for working with the actual DB pushing and pulling data, no real issue and pretty much the same thing.

    Speed wise, open and shut MySQL by all appearances and comparisons I've made, pretty much the only thing that beats a MySQL DB is an oracle DB.

    All depends on the amount of data your handling, how many people will be accessing concurrently, etc. is what determines the best option for the DB choice.

  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's true...it will struggle after 5-7 concurrent users. But the thing with that is that you can get yourself up to 6 digits' worth of page views before you even get to that point depending on your site and the frequency of updates, and that might, in this case, be enough. I have sites that I built ten years ago on Access that still use it and I've never had to touch them. It's not the best tool out there by any stretch, but it's a possibility.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  11. #10
    Junior Member Mark Endsley's Avatar
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    We'd be luck at the time to have 2 concurrent users. People are giving up on the DB and I don't want them to.


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