When developing database applications, often it's easiest to use Microsoft Access, which is a part of Microsoft Office, and, hence, basically free for the asking. But there are limitations to Access, and that means for larger applications, you might have to go to SQL Server. But that's expensive. Now there's an in-betweener: Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) gives you some of the advantages of each of the other choices. This tip, excerpted from InformIT, discusses MSDE, what it can do and where to get it.
MSDE (Microsoft Data Engine) is a restricted version of SQL Server that bridges the gap between small single-user programs and large multi-user applications. MSDE is available for free at Microsoft's MSDE homepage if you own one of the following Visual Studio products:
- Visual Studio 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
- Visual Basic 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
- Visual C++ 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
- Visual InterDev 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
- Visual J++ 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
- Visual FoxPro 6.0 Professional or Enterprise edition
MSDE is also included on the Visual Studio .NET CD-ROMs.
Because MSDE is a version of SQL Server, it uses the same architecture as SQL Server (and shown in Figure 2). That means you can upgrade an MSDE application to a full-blown SQL Server application relatively easily. You can build the initial application inexpensively using MSDE. If you later decide that you need the enhanced features that SQL Server provides, you can upgrade with a minimum of hassle.
MSDE looks like Microsoft's plan for the future of small database development, so it's probably worth your effort to learn how to use it. This plan makes sense from Microsoft's point of view because it encourages you to prepare your application for upgrading to the more expensive SQL Server product.
MSDE also makes sense from your point of view. It lets you build an initial application inexpensively while allowing you the later option of upgrading. At the same time, it gives you access to the more sophisticated user access controls provided by SQL Server.
To read the entire article from which this tip is excerpted, click over to InformIT. You have to register there, but the registration is free.