Why we focused on MS Excel and MS Access?

Or let’s say, why we didn’t focus on databases like MS SQL or MySQL? The answer is really simple, and the key word is simplicity. Excel and Access are million times easier to use and manipulate than any other type of database. It’s well known to a large number of people and it really is widespread. Unarguably MSSQL or MySQL or any other similar database is "much more database” than MS Access, and especially than MS Excel which, actually, is not a database at all.


We should think clearly about this whole subject. We should determine when we should use one of these database types. When is the right time for change? What are the advantages or disadvantages of each of these database types?

Let’s talk about facts. Excel, which easily can be used as a classical database, has a maximum capacity of around 1 million records (rows filled with data). It has its limitations related to speed of browsing through data, but with 50000 records it will still work fast and sleek and without any problems. Let’s think about how much knowledge is required to work with Excel? Probably less than what you can learn in a day or two. Almost everybody already knows how to deal with data in Excel sheet, and to publish that online using dbBee you need to know only Excel basics (for wider explanation please check our blog post "How your Excel sheet should look like so it can easily be used with dbBee wizards”). Furthermore, 50000 records are pretty large number and significant amount of information (that is not easy to collect) and, if used properly, it can generate many benefits for the owner. Also, one of the Excel’s advantages is that it is a file-based system, which means that everything you need is stored in a single.xls or .xlsx file. That’s why we focused on Excel as a number one choice.

In case of larger amounts of data, we can use Access database which can store tens of millions of records (actually it is not limited by number of records but by file size, max. 2GB). For example, Access database limits exceeds the number of residents of California, meaning that you can use an Access database to store all the data about every single resident of California with their addresses, e-mails, phone numbers, blood type, type of vehicle, income, expenses, shoe size and so on, as long as you keep the data about single resident around 50 kilobytes. So, it’s a lot of data. That’s probably more than any entrepreneur or activist or individual will ever need. And we are focused to that group of people.



To be clear, almost any company in the world, large, small, medium, corporation or single entity can use dbBee to make database driven applications from simple phone books, stock list, employee database, and various evidences all the way to specialized databases like active construction sites in the state, water level data, active news reporters, members of an organization or anything like that. This is why we focused on Microsoft Access.

In all fairness, compared to this, SQL, or similar server-based database types are real giants. For example, MySQL databases can store more than 4 billion records. It is 4,294,967,295 records, and in some cases, if properly organized, it goes up to unimaginable high numbers. So, who needs this amount of data? An entrepreneur that has a database this large database probably has a bank account with more than enough funds to make not only an online database application, but a company to build it for him. That kind of businesses always has in-house programmers (or, more probably, teams of programmers) that can make all the applications they need. 

We’re not saying "Don’t use SQL”, but one must be aware that using such a complex database system like SQL requires serious knowledge, even to update stored data, let alone building and maintaining the database itself.

Therefore, although dbBee technology supports connecting server-based SQL databases (pretty much same way as with Excel and Access) we realized that these kinds of databases are far out of our users’ reach and we decided to focus on Excel and Access, at least for the time being.