A database-driven website can retrieve content from an MS Access database and display the content as part of a Web page. Many popular e-commerce and social network websites, such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook, are database-driven. You can build your own website with an Access database by creating a new database in Access, adding content to the database and creating pages to access the database through a software module.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Microsoft Access database software
- Website hosting account
Add a new database. Using the Access menu bar, select “File” and then “Blank Database” from the New File list to add a new database. Give the database a name.
Create a database table. A table is a structure within a database that stores records. The table includes the individual pieces of information that will be stored in each record. In Access, you can create a table using design view, a wizard or by entering data. Once you’ve completed your table design, you’ll need to save the table.
Add records to the table. In the database view window of Access, double-click on the table name. Enter data for each field of a record and add the record to the database. If you have a lot of records, you may want to automate the process of adding them to the database by importing the records as external data. MS Access can import a variety of file formats including comma-separated values (CSV) and XML.
Write a database software module. The database software module will connect to the database and retrieve data. Your database software module can be written in any popular programming language such as Java, Visual Basic, C# or PHP. W3Schools.com has sample code for using PHP to connect to an Access database through ODBC (Open Database Connectivity).
Make a Web page connected to the software routine. Write your Web page code in HTML using a text editor such as Notepad. The Web page will need portions of code that will retrieve data from the Access database when the code is executed on the Web server as the page is requested. For example, if using PHP as discussed above, the website page would need code to invoke (or execute) the PHP software module.
Upload the software and the Web page files. Transfer your database files, software module files and website page files to your website hosting service using an FTP utility program, for example.
Test the website and software. Visit your website through your browser and verify that the website pages are displaying the proper content retrieved from the Access database. Make any corrections that are needed.
Tips and warnings
- Install Web server software on your local computer and test the database, software and website pages on your local system before uploading to your website hosting service.
- Microsoft Access is built around the MS Jet database engine, which is a file-sharing database and is not preferable for website applications. A better choice from Microsoft would be SQL Server, which is a true client/server database.
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