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A client has asked us to look at extracting information from an MS Access DB to designate where his products have most recently been delivered.

The end result is to output a variety of maps based on the last known delivery date, from which we can then specify what colour to designate each location marker on the map, based on the date they were last delivered to.

The other variable would be locations that they know are always stocked (regulars).

We can format the data from MS Access either at the point of origin, from our server or in Drupal. This DB will not change in its structure for a long time I expect, so we're happy treating this as a data 'Stub' to work with.

What we've also established is that the frequency of this data update isn't too critical, but since we're going to link our VPS to their system and then into Drupal, we think that regular updates (e.g. on each cron run) would be a good thing to offer.

Can anyone point us in the right direction for how to achieve this?

Its right on the cusp of our knowledge and we're a little bewildered by what approach to take.

Thanks!

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It's not totally clear what you're asking, but here's a stab:

  1. It doesn't sound like the data will be updated frequently enough to justify processing it on every cron run - you mentioned recent deliveries... what do you mean by recent? In the last hour? Last day? 30 days? Find the right balance based on the freshness of the data itself, and only update what's new, especially if you're doing it on every cron run.

  2. Get the data out of Access in a reasonably ready-to-consume format - don't expose the ugliness of your Access data structures to Drupal. This could mean setting up a custom view in Access to summarize and reformat the data you need for Drupal.

  3. Setup a scheduled export from Access.

  4. Use Drupal Feeds to import/update the data from Access into Drupal, either on demand or periodically.

HTH.

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