Hello all,


I am fairly new to Linux/PHP so please bear with me.  I have an awfully awkward problem to solve – a stop gap solution for the next 6 months until we have out in-house servers set up and running.  I also have a very short timeframe to sort this out.  I am using PHP on a remotely hosted Linux web server to build my website, however I have been given a MS Access database to use!  Despite my best efforts (and two days Google trawling) I haven’t found a suitable solution so I am turning to your collective knowledge…


First things first – I do not run the server and cannot install any new tools on to it (I cannot access the folders above my web root).  There are lots of suggestions on the net about installing MDBTools and UnixODBC RPM (http://bryanmills.net:8086/archives/000099.html) – but that involves the admin who won’t do it!  I can, of course, put scripts that may help in the actual web folder and reference them if anyone has any ideas…


I know I must use a DSN-less connection.  I first tried connecting directly to the mdb file using:

            $conn = new COM("ADODB.Connection") or die ("Cannot create ADODB Connection object.");


            //$connstr = "PROVIDER=MSDASQL;DBQ=/prices/mydb.mdb;"."DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};"

            //$connstr = "Provider=Microsoft,.Jet.OLEDB.4.0; Data Source=". realpath("prices/mydb.mdb") ." ;";

            // I’ve never got the above two connection strings to work but I include them for completeness and in case any realises they might help me!

            $connstr = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)}; DBQ=". realpath("prices/mydb.mdb") ." ;";




This worked on my localhost running IIS 5 (unsurprisingly) but fell over immediately on the Linux box.  I am told this is because COM support in PHP before version 4.3.x is buggy (he PHP version installed on the server is 4.1.2).  Is this true?  Will upgrading to version 4.3.x solve all my problems?


Also, I heard that converting the .mdb file to a .dbf file might help – but how do I connect to that with PHP?  The PHP manual says this about dbase functions:

“These functions allow you to access records stored in dBase-format (dbf) databases. There is no support for indexes or memo fields.”

That’s no good because I have long text fields in the Access database that are of type “memo”!

The Manual also says “we recommend that you do not use dBase files as your production database” – eek!  It’s only a small database (one table with about 50 records, each with no more than 20 fields) so hopefully it will suffice.


Am I right in thinking I have very few options?   I don’t want to move over to ASP (would that even help?) because it means learning VBScript and I don’t have a lot of time.  Also, I can’t use another database (e.g. MySQL) cos the server admin is NOT helping me and won’t install anything new.


I know 99% of you will want to tell me to just back out of this horrible tangle and take a different route, but is there one person out there who can help me get through this nightmare?


Thank you!


Alex Gemmell

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