Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition RC1 Available

Microsoft accounced on November 7, 2006 the availability of SQL Server [2005] Compact Edition (SQLce) 3.1 Release Candidate 1 (RC1). SQLce—formerly named SQL Server Everywhere Edition (SQLEv) 3.1—is a lightweight, in-process cousin of SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express. SQLce is the successor to earlier SQL Server Mobile 3.0 and SQL CE 2.0 and 1.0 editions. You can download the SQLce RC1 runtime and readme, as well as SQLce RC1 Books Online. SQLce is an embeddable, small-footprint, single-user database for mobile and desktop applications. As an example, you can substitute SQLce for SQL Server 2005 Express (SQLX) when you need local storage for usually, occasionally or seldom-connected systems. SQLce uses the ADO.NET programming model, supports most SQL Server 2005 data types and T-SQL reserved words, and is freely distributable.

According to the "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition Overview" white paper, SQLce:

  • Occupies only 1.8 MB of disk space
  • Supports single-file databases up to 4 GB in size
  • Uses 128-bit SSL for secure and reliable functionality, even through firewalls
  • Uses 128-bit RSA file-based encryption on devices for database file security
  • Provides an encrypted data format with password protection
  • Will use the ADO.NET Sync Framework in Visual Studio vNext ("Orcas")

A separate OakLeaf blog post, "ADO.NET Sync Framework for Occasionally Connected Systems" has the details on Microsoft's new approach to SQLce synchronization that's coming in Orcas.

I wrote about Mobile Edition's morph to Everywhere Edition in my May 1, 2006 "SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition Goes Everywhere" article for Fawcette Technical Publications Online's "Special Report: SQL Server." "SQL Everywhere" had a "déjà vu all over again" ring to me. It appears that I wasn't the only one non-plussed about the "Everywhere" suffix, which appeared to me to encroach on Sybase's SQL Anywhere trademark for a similar database product. Sybase also claims here that SQL Everywhere is their trademark. Here's what Microsoft has to say about renaming SQLEv to SQLce:

SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition, was previously named SQL Server 2005 Everywhere Edition during the product development phase. Customers have communicated to Microsoft through the pre-release community technology preview (CTP) program and other channels that this product name may cause potential confusion with other database product names in the industry. Microsoft has taken this feedback seriously and has accordingly changed the official product name.
Of course, this isn't the first time that Microsoft has done an about-face on product and architecture names. Remember .NET Everything? Steve Lasker's "SQL Server Everywhere Gets a New Name" post has more to say about the name change and SQLce's features in the forthcoming RTM bits. Steve is a Microsoft program manager/technical lead for Occasionally Connected Systems (OCS) and the forthcoming ADO.NET Sync Framework. Steve's Live From Redmond: Visual Studio: Developing Local and Mobile Data Solutions with SQL Server Compact Edition December 4, 2006 Webcast provides a detailed overview of SQLce's capabilities. His presentation includes a substantial amount of VB (!) ADO.NET code. (Free registration required.) Several comments about the post complain about SQLce's 4 GB size limit, which is a significant problem for local document storage. In a reply to a comment by John, Steve says, "Again, the current 4gb limit is purely a device optimization that we will definitely remove now that we’re running on larger desktop scenarios. ... The 4gb limit isn’t a 'free' restriction as we’ve done with Express." Microsoft's product page for SQLce hadn't been updated from SQLEv to SQLce terminology when this post was written. If you're working with the SQLEv CTP on devices, you can download the CTP for SQLEE Access Database Synchronizer to synchronize data between Access 2000 - 2007 databases and SQLEv CTP or SQLce RC1. There's more information on all these topic, plus details for the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition Tools for Visual Studio SP1 Beta, which Microsoft says updates the VS 2005 SP1 Beta smart device development components with the design time environment for SQLce, at the SQL Server Everywhere Edition [sic] blog. The SQLce newsgroup is here.

Updated 11/9/2006 with additional details about and links to SQLce, SQLEv, OCS and Sync Framework topics. 12/9/2006: Added 12/4/2006 Webcast link.

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