21. Connecting Access to SharePoint
Even in the most dysfunctional companies, people need to get along. Businesses that have efficient ways to share informationwhether it's meeting agendas , high-priority tasks , or interoffice gossipare more successful than those that keep quiet.
It may have occurred to you back in Chapter 18 that you can use Access to share this sort of information. All you need to do is create a suitable database, put it in a shared location, and make sure everyone has Access installed on their computers. However, you don't need to go through any of this work if you use SharePoint, a Microsoft product that's explicitly designed for office teamwork. Best of all, if your company owns Windows Server 2003, it already owns the basic version of SharePoint, which is all you need. (A beefed-up version of SharePoint with extra Office features is also sold under the name Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, or MOSS for short.)
Note: If you don't own a copy of Windows Server 2003, and you'd rather plunk down the near-$1,000 sticker price for an all-inclusive beach vacation, stop reading right now. You're better off designing your own databases for collaboration (see Chapter 18) or using the free version of SQL Server (see Chapter 20).
SharePoint works perfectly well without Accessin fact, all you need is the Internet Explorer browser. Using your browser you can log in to your team's SharePoint site, review the latest information, upload documents, and edit lists of data.
For most SharePoint users, this is more than enough. But if you happen to have a copy of Access handy, you get two more options. You can:
In this chapter, you'll learn a bit more about SharePoint, and you'll try out both of these techniques.
Note: Unlike Access, the SharePoint server can handle a practically unlimited number of people. That's because it uses SQL Server under the hood, which is the same high- powered database software you explored in Chapter 20.