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The Local Information System technology

All the software - apart from Windows itself is available for free

The following sections describe the technology we use for:

All the software - apart from Windows itself - is available for free either as part of Windows or as a free Microsoft download.

The desktop programs

We developed the desktop programs using version 1.1 of Microsoft's .NET framework.

That means they run identically on all the following versions of Windows:

We expect they will continue to run on future versions of Windows for the foreseeable future. It runs happily on the preview version of Windows 10.

.NET version 1.1 is entirely separate from later versions of .NET. That means you can safely install it on your systems without disrupting anything else.

The desktop reader program also needs Internet Explorer to be installed. It is capable of running under IE 5.1 or later, but it runs best under one of the more recent versions.

The intranet version

We developed the intranet version to run under Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.1 or later using .NET 2 (which is also installed by .NET 3 and .NET 3.5).

That's the environment used by most .NET web sites running today. You can install and run the intranet version for free on any of the following versions of Windows:

Database and database access

We support two database technologies:

  1. Microsoft Access
  2. Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server is a complex product to set up and manage. We don't expect CABx to have that expertise. Instead, CABx normally use Access databases for locally-installed systems. We do, however, promote use of SQL Server when running the intranet version on the internet because:

Our installation procedures for Access use a template in Access '97 format. You do not need to install Access to use the system. Instead the system uses database access software you can download from Microsoft for free. Although the '97 format has been around a while, the data access software is modern and a 64-bit version is available. You can, if you want, upgrade the supplied database to a later version; the data access software we recommend works with all subsequent versions of Access.

We previously asked bureaux to install Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) version 2.7 to allow our programs to work with Access. That software is still supported if you want to continue to use it. We now recommend Microsoft Database Engine (MSDE) installed as part of Microsoft Office and available as a free download.

Our installation procedures for Microsoft SQL Server assume SQL Server 2008 or later. We can support earlier versions if necessary. You do not need to install any data access software to connect the intranet version with SQL Server. .NET includes SQL Server data access software as standard.

We provide a set of tools that allow you to work with the database used by the intranet version:

The tools work fine even if your system is hosted on the internet. They do not require you to take the system down.

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Microsoft SQL Server
SQL Server is a complete database environment capable of managing very large databases indeed. It has scope for considerable technical complexity.
Microsoft .NET framework
.NET is a layer of software that sits between Windows and our programs. It reduces the code we have to write, increases reliability and ensures our programs run across evolving versions of Windows.
Internet Information Server
IIS is Microsoft's web server software. It is supplied for free with most versions of Windows and closely integrates with the .NET framework. It is capable of running large, sophisticated sites but is simple to set up for small ones. IIS is the de facto standard for internet web sites hosted on WIndows servers.
Access is a component of Microsoft's Office suite. It allows people to create, develop, run and manage databases. You do not need to buy a copy of Access, however, to use an Access database. Specifically, you don't need a copy of Microsoft Access to run the Local Information System.
Internet Service Provider
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that hosts a web site on the internet on your behalf.