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SQL Server Express vs SQL Server Compact

Posted on 2012-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I've got 17 years' experience with VBA in MS Access. I've got a reasonable level of familiarity with using SQL server as the back end and Access as the front end.

But, I'm pretty knew to Visual Studio and I'm developing my first commercial application in it.

I'm faced with the decision of what DB to use for storing my data: SQL Server Express or SQL Server Compact.

My app will be:

Windows Desktop
Single User
Not likely to handle more than 100,000 records a year
Maybe 2 dozen tables

App will be delivered via download with an option of a shipped DVD.

What are the pros and cons of using each SQL Server version?

And, based on these requirements, can you recommend one clearly above the other?
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Question by:Kaprice
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Expert Comment

by:nepaluz
ID: 37733590
I'd definitely root for the compact edition (and go for the latest 4.0 since it supports both 32 and 64 bit applications) since your application is a single user.
Not sure about the number of records it can support, butwould think that 100,000 is not large in database terms.Some key features are:
SQL Server Compact Edition supports multiple connections up to the 256 connection limit.
SQL Server Compact Edition supports database files up to 4 GB.
SQL Server Compact Edition database engine does not run as a service
SQL Server Compact Edition is file based, which means that the connection string is a file path to the database (.sdf) file, that consists of seven DLLs that are approximately 1.4 MB.
Some useful links from Microsoft:
Using SQL Server Compact
How to: Deploy a SQL Server Compact Database with an Application
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Expert Comment

by:EugeneZ
ID: 37733936
I hope you are asking for sql server 2008R2 exp edition that can give you more

but as the main idea - please check the details from this article:

Difference Between SQL Server Compact Edition and SQL Server Express edition
http://patelshailesh.com/index.php/difference-between-sql-server-compact-edition-and-sql-server-express-edition
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Expert Comment

by:EugeneZ
ID: 37733937
on top of this - please check
SQL Server 2008R2 Express edition Features:

Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2008 R2
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993.aspx
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Aaron Tomosky earned 500 total points
ID: 37734081
The main issue with compact is no stored procs, an I think it's missing a bunch of tsql stuff.
Check out mssql2012. Compact is replaced with localdb which is the full express commandset but only one connection limit. Pretty cool.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 37735200
SQL Express 2012 is the perfect solution. It supports single file implementation, stored procedures, TSQL, and is lightweight.

Thanks so much!
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