Which is the best desktop, file-based database other than MS Access ?

Posted on 2006-04-19
Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I am looking for an alternative to Microsoft Access, which i can use for my VB projects. It should be file-based, i.e. ship a single database file with your application and it should work on the client's machine without requiring the client to setup a database.

I need an alternative to Microsoft Access which is fully SQL-92 standard compliant. MS Access has some strange differences from the SQL-92 standard which I dont like.
Question by:rajesh_khater
    LVL 75

    Expert Comment

    by:Aneesh Retnakaran
    No, there isn't anything much like this.

    Microsoft Access and dBase have really severe scaling problems because
    coordinating access within the files doesn't work well for more than a
    few users.

    Anyone that did serious multiuser work with dBase, ten years ago,
    could tell you that the approach you're trying to take is a mistake.
    Doing things "file-based" means that:
      a) Scalability suffers, because every process has to do a lot of
         work managing locks;
      b) Reliability suffers, because any user can go and trample on
         the data.

    What /makes sense/ for a multi-user database system is for the system
    to have a central process that is the "gatekeeper," and for multiple
    users to /absolutely not/ have access to the files.  And that's where
    you get into something like PostgreSQL or Interbase or Firebird or
    SAP-DB or such, where they can promise /massively/ greater reliability
    because individual users /don't/ write to the files directly.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I am looking to write only single-user applications. So those scalability concerns dont apply to me.

    LVL 75

    Expert Comment

    by:Aneesh Retnakaran
    In such case you can go for any of the above, but i prefer you to use MSAccess
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I have had a similar problem, mine involved trying to load data and work from a local database because the user only had a dial up connection that connects at like 24.4.  MSAccess is what i ended up using, didnt see any other single file db's.  An alternative is having the user install the MSDE db or even MySQL on thier machine. Sorry!
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Is a folder DB also ok?
    i.e. 1 folder with 1 file for each table.
    I used this to make an app in Delphi. No installation, just the .exe and the .dbf's.
    Depending on acces method and language used maybe setting up ODBC or JDBC for Java apps.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    You can specify that Access use ANSI 92 syntax (Tools-> Options -> Tables\ Queries) in XP + (maybe 2k too).
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    Use SQLite - it is available as a dll and the whole database is a single file. It is also very fast and robust.

    Look at this site:

    And at this example:
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    Don't forget SQL Server 2005 which is free, but you would have to install it.  Maybe there is a silent install for the setup.

    For a single use application, Access seem great to me.

    Haven't used it, but:

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    >> Is a folder DB also ok?

    Yes, that is fine. Can you tell me which db you are talking about.

    >> You can specify that Access use ANSI 92 syntax (Tools-> Options -> Tables\ Queries) in XP + (maybe 2k too).

    Really ?? Is Access fully SQL-92 compliant ? Can I port the same code later on to SQL Server or Oracle without any changes to SQL queries ? Please tell me more about it.

    >> Use SQLite - it is available as a dll and the whole database is a single file. It is also very fast and robust.

    I will read about it and get back to you.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I formally support rajesh_khater and his/her tendency to distribute inflated points.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    I agree with gabeso.  SQLite is the way to go.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
    I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:
    Accept - gabeso {http:#16489359}

    Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.

    EE Cleanup Volunteer

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