I have a small VB.net 2010 Winforms application that uses a small access MDB file to keep some settings for the application (in a single table). I have maintained a VB6 application with MDB data for many years so this was my quickest route to get this working but I am now keen to use up-to-date technologies.
Now that the first version is installed on a few sites, I need to expand the functionality and add more tables and probably start to normalise as I go. Ideally, I would like to create my new database structure in my development environment and as I roll out a new version to the clients, update their local databases too. I really want to avoid hand coding and maintaining scripts as I am positive this will introduce errors.
So, my question is: What is the preferred method for doing this with .net so that I can reliably update my clients database and maintain a version of the database that the client currently has in place. Without having to hand code all of the modifications each time.
As this is only on a small number of clients at present, if there is a more reliable or robust method available using a different database like SQLExpress, please let me know as I could entertain that approach. But initially it must remain as MDB.
Please be as detailed as possible as this is my first adventure into VB.net and will no doubt be lacking in what may be classed as general knowledge to you guys.