Microsoft links free SQL database with ASP .Net

Allowing SQL CE Version 4 to work with ASP.Net Web apps gives developers a lightweight database option

Microsoft is enabling its free SQL CE (SQL Server Compact Edition) database to work within ASP.Net Web applications, thus providing a lightweight database option for ASP.Net Web development, a Microsoft official said this week.

ASP.Net is a Web framework. SQL CE is an embedded database engine enabling easy database storage, said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post this week.

[ InfoWorld's Paul Krill reported in April on Microsoft's update to its Visual Studio 2010 software development platform. ]

"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," Guthrie said.

"Applications you build can redistribute SQL CE as part of them. Just copy your Web application onto any server, and it will work," said Guthrie.

"SQL CE 4 provides an easy, lightweight database option that you'll now be able to use with ASP.Net applications.  It will enable you to get started on projects quickly -- without having to install a full database on your local development box," Guthrie said.

SQL CE works with .Net-based data APIs and supports a query syntax similar to SQL Server. Developers can use existing data APIs, such as ADO.Net, as well as technologies like Entity Framework with SQL CE, Guthrie said.

SQL CE's database engine runs in-memory within an application; when an application shuts down, the database is automatically unloaded, he said. Version 4 can run in "medium trust" ASP.Net 4 Web-hosting scenarios without a hoster needed to install anything.

Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express will add SQL CE 4 tooling support for ASP.Net, in a planned update, Guthrie said.

"SQL CE does not require you to run a setup or install a database server in order to use it. You can now simply copy the SQL CE binaries into the \bin directory of your ASP.Net application, and then your Web application can run and use it as a database engine," Guthrie said. "No setup or extra security permissions are required for it to run. You do not need to have an administrator account on the machine. It just works."

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