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I have no formal education in databasing or programming, but I've learned enough SQL, C++, and C# to at least get started setting up a small database on my company's server.

Using MS SQL Server 2008 R2, I have created the database and set up columns with proper data types. However, there seems to be a lot of tweaks and details that are way over my head.

Since I would like these data to be accessible to the other 7 or 8 people in my office (preferably via web browser), I'm wondering whether this is the best setup for my situation.

The other option I've read about is a LAMPP server, which I assume is the competing free option to Microsoft's Express packages. I know nothing of LAMP servers except from the articles I've read on how to set them up (and I believe I even saw a detailed tutorial somewhere).

To summarize, my question is this: Which of these (or any other) server setups would best suit my purposes, keeping in mind that I'm a true novice (but willing to learn), and would like to keep it free until I get more experience?

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I don't see this as being a 'platform choice' issue. Whether you stick with Windows/MSSQL or Linux/MySQL, you're still going to have much the same amount of work to do in order to get something working. As such I'd suggest sticking with the platform you're most comfortable with, if any. No need to add any extra work for the sake of it. –  RobM Jan 3 '11 at 22:47
    
@Robert, should have put that as an answer. –  Chris S Jan 4 '11 at 1:26

2 Answers 2

What you want to read up on is DAL, which is incidentally a programming topic. LAMP may be easiest for you since there is a lot of documentation for interfacing mysql and php. Ideally you create your web or desktop app database agnostic by use of a DAL.

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Since you already have a Windows Server with MSSQL installed you should consider using Visual Studio to develop your .NET web application. You can use C# as the primary language in your code behind page. You will probably find the synergy you get from pairing Visual Studio with MSSQL, and since you already seem to be familiar with C# it seems like a very easy choice.

I don't see how changing platforms at this stage would give you any benefit; this is only for 7 or 8 people so your users probably aren't going to notice the difference in platforms. They're just going to notice how long it takes before they can access the data.

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