I have a question regarding the best solution to adopt for a client who requires a cloud-based app based on a MS Access DB with many tables, queries, forms and relationships. Once linked or exported to Sharepoint i know the DB becomes sharepoint 'lists' and 'forms' etc. I want to create an app to :

  • allow the application users to login and access only their record data.
  • allow my client to have a main-admin account to login too and adminster all client accounts.
  • allow the application users to add a label & text-box via a form to add a new field to a table/list
  • allow application users to upload documents against a record/list-item

Heres my dilemma; as a PHP/Open Source developer i could write an application from scratch. This is my preference since i have total control and confidence with the dev tools i'll use. Down side is it will take absolutely ages because of the number of tables and queries.

Alternatively, I've just discovered sharepoint which i know nothing about other than what i read. SharePoint looks like it could handle this solution very easily especially the MS Access stuff, Microsoft now (I believe) recommend using 'PowerApps' for building Access Apps in sharepoint. It all looks quite do-able but i'm not sure and dont want to get in 'out-of-my-depth'. Ive been advised to get one of the Enterprise Sharepoint-Online Plans.

With what little i've read about Sharepoint my first instict is that i could either:

  • Give each user a few pages within a sub-site and control what they can do via sharepoint permissions at page level or
  • Give each user their own sub-site within the main page-collection and set permissions at the sub-site level

Also each user must have access to their own new instance of the List(s) and forms and logic converted from the old Access Db.

The number of user who will use the system may run into thousands. By creating templates i could programmatically allow the main admin to create a new sharepoint user account by adding the new sub-site or pages which then autonamously spins out a new instance of the converted Db/Lists for the new user.

Can any one advise which they think would be the best route, im not asking for the finite detail - just a pointer from anyone that knows Sharepoint and knows its capabilities beyond the little i've read. Im looking to invest some time into learning it for future projects as it looks great.

Many thanks.


Yes, based on your research and instinct about SharePoint capabilities, the requirements you've mentioned in your question are possible to be implemented in SharePoint.

However, you also need to be aware of its limitations and boundaries (some of them could be read here, and also the development tools and methods available (especially if you also have plans to integrate or build new application on top of SharePoint).

If you're going to implement it using vendors, I think you could just request a demo by specifying your specific use case. You will get much better point after seeing it by yourself.

  • Thanks AWJ and i've just researched a little more and realised i am confusing users with external users who dont need access as a sharepoint user. This changes everything since external users can only be granted minimal permissions. In fact makes life a little easier, since they need read-only access to 95% of the content anyway. This link has put me on the new correct path : support.office.com/en-ie/article/…
    – Flim Flam
    Feb 22 '18 at 16:51

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