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Create an Online Database
Using MS Access and ASP

Please Note: this seminar is from 2006. It's old by today's (2024) standards. While most of the ASP concepts taught are still perfectly valid, I don't endorse using Microsoft Access files for online databases unless it's a tiny personal site for just you and a couple of people. I strongly recommend using SQL Server, which I cover in my new Access SQL Server Online Seminar. The ASP portion of this seminar is still perfectly good, however. Just skip the part about putting an Access database on your website.
Take your Web site to the next level... build a database, connect it to your Web site, and display interactive pages to your users! Allow users to view, edit, delete, and add information to your Web site, and more.

If you want to learn how to build an online database that can be used on the Web, then this seminar is for you. We will build tables in a Microsoft Access Database, and then use Active Server Pages to construct a live, dynamic web site.

The example that we will use in class is a full-featured test-taking web site, where teachers can log on and create quizes and tests for their students consisting of multiple-choice answers. The students can then log on and take the tests and be graded.


Seminars - Web Database
Description: Seminar for creating Web-based databases using
Microsoft Access and Active Server Pages (ASP).
Versions: We will use Access XP, FrontPage XP, and ASP
Pre-Requisites: HTML 101 strongly recommended
ASP 101 recommended
Access 101 - 201 helpful
Visual Basic 101 helpful but optional
FrontPage 101 - 102 helpful
Running Time: Over Six (6) Hours
Cost: $129
Notes: You do NOT need to use Microsoft Access for your database, and you do NOT need to use FrontPage as your web editor. You may use any database program and web page editor of your choice. The main focus of this seminar is how to write ASP code to access your data. This seminar will NOT cover the use of PHP or MySQL.
See below for details.

We actually developed this seminar while recording the development of our very own 599CD Skills Test System - that you can log on to right now and take a test.


While you might not be developing this kind of a database for your web site, we will teach you all of the fundamentals involved with setting up your web-based database. The steps covered in this seminar include:

  • Creating your Access database tables
  • Uploading your database to your Web server
  • Creating a System Data Source Name (DSN)
  • Testing your database connection
  • Displaying database records in your web pages using ASP
  • Looping through sets of records
  • Passing variables between pages using a QueryString
  • Storing user-specific data in Session Variables
  • Gathering user input using HTML forms
  • Using the ASP Include Page directive for reusable code
  • Adding records to your database tables
  • Editing records
  • Deleting records
  • Formatting your pages with HTML tables for style
  • Sending automatic Email from your Web server

As you can see, this seminar covers quite a lot of information. I will literally take you through the entire creation of a web-based database from conception to completion. You won't miss any steps as I start from scratch, build the Access database, upload it to the Web server, set up the connection, and start building pages. > Richard Rost, Instructor

NOTE: The free introductory lesson (see below) will show you all of the topics covered in this class, and discuss what you need to get started.

So no matter what kind of online database you're planning to build, this seminar will give you all of the fundamentals and information you need to get started.

You can then take this information to build everything from a customer management system to an online shopping cart... all of the fundamental concepts of working with online databases are covered in this seminar.


All of the basics, from setting up your Access database to adding, editing, and deleting records, to passing and storing variables between your pages... are all covered.

We will begin by setting up our database using Microsoft Access. Now, you do NOT need to use Access for your database. You can use any database program that you like, as long as it conforms to ODBC standards. If you want to use SQL Server or even Oracle as your database server, that's fine too. I personally prefer using Access for low- to mid-volume databases, and it's the easiest to set up.

Our database will consist of just a few simple tables... one to store the names of the tests we want to give the students, another to store the questions, and a third to store all of the answers (multiple choice). If you've taken any of my Access courses, you'll find this part a piece of cake. I list Access 101 - 201 as a pre-requisite only because we cover table relationships in Access 201. Really, you'll be just fine even with Access 101 under your belt.


Next, I will discuss how to upload your database to your web server. Now, for my personal setup, I use a Windows 2000 Server, and I use pcAnywhere to connect to my server and upload the database. However, your setup may be different, and that's OK (see below for details).

After we learn how to display records from our database on the screen, we'll learn how to loop through records in a table. We'll display all of the records in our Test table to show a list of all of the tests available. This might sound easy, but it's actually quite an accomplishment for ASP code. Remember, there's no graphical editor to do this with. This is real programming!


Next, we'll learn how to pass information between web pages using the QueryString. This allows us to send data from one page to another using the address bar URL.


Next, we'll go through and create pages to display all of the questions and answers in our database. Click on a test to see all of that test's questions. Click on a question to see all of the possible answers.


Next, we'll learn how to store information in the memory of the web server itself. These are called Session Variables and they are handy for remembering temporary information... such as the current user's name, or what test he's viewing. Data that doesn't necessarily have to be stored can be remember during this user's Web "Session."


Next, we'll learn how to gather information from the user in a Web Form. We will be able to add tests, add questions, add answers, and get information like a username and password to log on to the web site.


Now that we know how to get user input, we can add records to our database. We'll design forms to add tests, questions, and answers.


Once we know how to add records, we'll of course have to be able to edit and delete those records. We'll create pages to edit and delete test names, questions, and answers.


We'll even learn a little bit of JavaScript which is a browser-based programming language. This will allow us to ask the user if he's sure he wants to delete the record.


As a side note, we'll of course talk about the security of your web pages... making sure someone can't just hack into one of your ASP pages and start editing your data. Go ahead and try. Our online Skills Test System is as secure as any page can be (well, unless you guess my password).

So far everything we've built is what the teacher (admin) sees... to add, edit, and delete questions and answers. Next, we need to create the student's interface. So we'll make a logon screen for students...


Side note: yes, while I do take a little bit of time to show you some formatting in class (tables, colors, etc.) I don't want to waste a whole lot of time on that - so you'll notice that my pages aren't exactly pretty at this point. However, if you really want to learn how to build attractive web pages, I recommend my Frontpage series of classes. Here, I'm just focusing on making the HTML functional, and the ASP code work with the database.

We will next create the entire test taking engine... allowing the user to pick a test, and then be quizzed on each of the questions for that test.


The student will get progress shown with each question, and can see what the correct answer is if he misses it.


If the user answers at least 80% of the questions correctly he will be able to print out a Certificate of Completion.


Finally, it's always nice to know when a user does something on your web site. We'll teach you how to send email using your web server. This way I am notified any time one of my students completes a test... you can also use this to contact the user directly from the web server. Being able to send mail is a very handy feature.

Now, if you're not sure as to whether or not you can get your web site to work with ASP and an Access database, we have provided the first couple lessons of this seminar for you to review free of charge before you buy the complete package.

If you've taken my ASP 101 course and have been able to use the lessons in that tutorial, then your server is fine as far as ASP is concerned.

  • If you have your web site hosted for you by an Internet Service Provider (ISP), and they're supposed to give you database access and ASP support, then setting up the database is usually a service they will provide for you. They will at least be able to give you instructions how to set it up on their server.

The only time you should actually have to set the database up yourself is if you run your own web SERVER at your own facility. Then you might have to go in and actually configure the DSN yourself. Again, I will show you how to do this step-by-step with Windows 2000 Server (almost the same for Windows 2003 Server). But if you don't have your own server, your ISP will generally perform this service for you.

As long as you know how to get the database up to your web server, and can figure out setting up a Data Source Name (DSN), you will be able to use this seminar.


Nevertheless, I provide the introduction and first three lessons of this seminar to all students FREE OF CHARGE before you purchase it, so that you can make sure you can get the database up and running on your web site, and test it with ASP code before buying the seminar. The first three lessons cover:

  • Building your Access database tables
  • Configuring the database on your server
  • Displaying test data from your database on a web page

If you can get these three steps working, you're good to go with the rest of the seminar. Again, I'll cover more detail in the seminar itself.

Please view the intro and first three lessons
FREE OF CHARGE to make sure you can
use the lessons in this seminar.

Lesson View
In Browser
0. Introduction
1. Creating Your Access Database
2. Uploading To Your Server
3. Displaying Test Data with ASP

If you don't have your own Windows server (perhaps you're leasing space from a hosting company) you can still set up a web-based Access database if you're using Microsoft FrontPage or Expression Web. I cover that in detail in my Web Data Synch Seminar. Here are two lessons from that seminar that will show you how to do it:

These lessons will teach you how to set
up a web-based database in FrontPage
or Expression Web without server access

Lesson View
In Browser
15. Acquire Data on Web Page
16. Data Collection Page

that this database is NOT for you if you do not have ASP (Active Server Pages) on your server. If you are working with the programming language PHP, then this seminar is NOT for you.

Want a quick test to see if your web site has ASP installed? Here's what you do... open up your web browser and create a blank new page. In the HTML design for the page, just type in the following:

<% response.write Date %>

Now save your page and load it up in your Web browser. If you see today's date displayed just like below, then ASP is installed and working properly.


I have not tested the seminar code with the Linux operating system or the MySQL database, although if you have 100% support for ASP code, then you should be able to get it working - but I make no guarantees for support.

To use the lessons in this seminar, I recommend you run a Microsoft Windows Server (2000 or 2003) which uses genuine Active Server Pages technology.


So that just about covers it. This is a great seminar. If you have been looking to take a database and put it online so people can access your records, make changes and additions, and collaborate with you, this is the perfect starter kit.

This seminar is long (just over six hours), but it's broken up into 26 easily manageable lessons of 10 to 20 minutes each. You can sit down, watch a lesson, review the material, test out the code yourself... and do a little bit each day. It's long, but it's comprehensive - you won't miss a single step as I've recorded everything from start to finish.

You can use this information to create a customer database, a product or inventory web site, an online shopping cart, the list goes on. Once you know how to add, edit, and delete records in a database, the sky's the limit!




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