PPC 2003 and vb.net - What is the best database to use?

Greetings,

I have an assignment to create a data collection program on a PPC 2003
handheld.  I will be using visual studio VB.NET to program this application.
The collected data will then be uploaded to a workstation and imported into a
database application written in VB6 which uses ADO and .MDB databases.  The
data structure is fairly complex and includes several tables, keys, forms
and relationships between tables.

I have about 17 years programming experince, so the question I ask is more
one of best practices.  This is my first assignment with programming for a
handheld device.

The question is this.  When I pass historical customer/survey information
and pass it to the handheld, and when the handheld collects information and
later passes it to ther head office server, what format should it best be
collected, stored and transmitted?

Should I use XML or use some type of other database (MDB?)

Note that the relationships between the data elements is not trivial - this
fact may play a role in what is done. Note also the data size will be
substantial.

Cust#
   -  Contact Information (Name, address, etc.)
   -  Plant configuration
                 - System 1 and notes
                             - Test 1 expectations
                             - Test 2 expectations
                 - System 2
                 - System 3
  - Service Calls
                 - Jan 15
                        - System 1 Notes
                               - Test 1 Results
                               - Test 2 Results
                        - System 2 Notes
                               - Test 1 Results
                               - Test 2 Results
                 - Feb 4
                        - System 1 Notes
                               - Test 1 Results
                               - Test 2 Results
                        - System 2 Notes
                               - Test 1 Results
                               - Test 2 Results



Thanks
Stephen

StephenSimpsonxAsked:
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wsellesConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Stephen,

I'm working on a similar project: Data collection on PPC and storage + extra functionality on Desktop.
I use VB.Net for both. I agree with Mikal, but want to add my experience:

The data I store is very hierarchical (10 levels). Alle levels have collections with an undefined number of members. This makes it very complex to store in SQL or Access.

The next best solution would be to use the xmlSerializer to Serialize my object to xml. For my app., this wasn't suitable, because 1/ It took too long 2/ There's no way of checking whether all stored info was retrieved when unserializing. This because any corrupted info will be skipped by the .NET xmlserializer. Any format changes are risks too btw.
Should you want to know more check these links:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnword2k2/html/odc_UsingDotNetFromVBA.asp
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7cc0f8e8-483a-4447-ba5d-92b85fb1dc55&DisplayLang=en
http://www.topxml.com/xmlserializer/default.asp

I myself went back to an older method: a flat file dB, using streamreader/writer. After testing, this proved to be a good solution: it is fast, easy, flexible, creates small data files, etceteras.

It might sound silly, and surely it's not a 'hot' solution, but it works fine.

I hope this helps. Developing for the PPC is different (with low speed as example). Let me know if you want to know more.

Cheers,
ws



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Mikal613Commented:
a) you can use SQl sever CE  (which is preferred) by most

b) you can use Pocket Access from handango.com for like 40$ which you can use active sync and it will convert the databse to pocket from Regular access and vice versaq

c) use a web service and get up to the second  updates using xml

http://abstractvb.com/code.asp?A=1004
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wsellesCommented:
To be clear: I use a flat-file dB to transfer data from PPC to Desktop, where it is stored in an access dB, and part is abstracted and stored on a central dB (no decision yet, SQL Server or simply Access too).
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