Comparing SQL Server Compact to Express Edition


Here’s some helpful information for those of you out there who are trying to make the call between using SQL Server Compact Edition or SQL Server Express Edition.

Compare SQL Server 3.5 Compact and SQL Server Express Edition Features 
[http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/4/7/A47B7B0E-976D-4F49-B15D-F02ADE638EBE/Compact_Express_Comparison.doc]

My short summary asks you to determine if any of these points are applicable to you:
Do you require:

  • an installation-free database?
  • the ability to programmatically create the database?
  • a database to run well in a low memory or low disk space environment?
  • run on a desktop and a mobile device?
  • support by LINQ to SQL and ADO Entity Framework?

As long as you don’t require stored procedures and you answered ‘Yes!’ to all of the above questions, I’d recommend SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 Service Pack 1.  Otherwise, SQL Express offers a great array of functionality, the only annoyance being the installation requirement.


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with over 16 years experience, 14 in commercial software development and 8 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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