An update the free SQL Server Compact Edition (SQL CE) database to work within ASP.NET applications enables a light-weight, easy to use, database option that now works great for ASP.NET web development.
SQL CE is a free, embedded, database engine that enables easy database storage. We will be releasing the first public beta of SQL CE Version 4 very shortly. Version 4 has been designed and tested to work within ASP.NET Web applications.
SQL CE works with existing .NET-based data APIs, and supports a SQL Server compatible query syntax. You can use existing data APIs like ADO.NET or ORMs like Entity Framework and NHibernate.
You don’t need to run a setup or install a database server in order to use SQL CE. SQL CE stores databases as files on disk (within files with a .sdf file extension). You can store SQL CE database files within the \App_Data folder of your ASP.NET Web application - they do not need to be registered in order to use them within your application.
The SQL CE database engine then runs in-memory within your application. When your application shuts down the database is automatically unloaded.
SQL CE can be used for both development scenarios and light-usage production usage scenarios. With the SQL CE 4 release we’ve done the engineering work to ensure that SQL CE won’t crash or deadlock when used in a multi-threaded server scenario (like ASP.NET). This is a big change from previous releases of SQL CE – which were designed for client-only scenarios and which explicitly blocked running in web-server environments. Starting with SQL CE 4 you can use it in a web-server as well.
VS 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express will add SQL CE 4 tooling support for ASP.NET scenarios in an update we’ll be rolling out in the future.
For more information, see Scott Guthrie’s announcement at New Embedded Database Support with ASP.NET.
Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation