SQL CE vs VistaDB
What is SQL CE
Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition or SQL CE is a small footprint client-only edition of SQL Server. SQL CE was Microsoft’s database solution for mobile and desktop development.
SQL CE is not a managed database, but has managed wrappers for use from managed code. SQL CE features an unmanaged architecture and was not designed specifically for .NET ecosystem (.NET Framework, .NET Core, and .NET 5). In fact it was designed for early mobile devices (pre-iPhone and Android) and then ported to Windows later out of recognition that a desktop option was needed.
VistaDB is an excellent alternative to SQL CE
VistaDB provides .NET Developers a great alternative to SQL CE. VistaDB has none of the limitations of SQL CE, and runs on more platforms (Linux, Macintosh, Android, and iOS). CLR Procs, CLR Triggers, Views, Image (BLOB data) and other missing features in SQL CE are present in VistaDB. If you need an embedded database with XCopy deployment for a managed environment, look no further than VistaDB.
To deploy VistaDB copy one assembly for both 32 and 64 bit machines with your databases. You can even embed our DLL within your app using ILMerge and have a zero copy deployment.
SQL CE requires you deploy different editions based upon the platform, and they cannot both be referenced in your application. You are required to target your application to x86 or x64 when binding to SQL CE. Do you want to support and test two versions of your product with two copies of the SQL CE engine? VistaDB only has 1 Assembly for both 32 and 64 bit.
Enjoy The Full Power of T-SQL when you use VistaDB
SQL CE was designed to fit into a very small box - that of early mobile devices back well before modern smart phones were envisioned. To do this, it had to be very conservative in its deployment size and resource requirements. To make it fit, much of the richness that draws people to use T-SQL and a RDBMS had to be dropped.
Coming along much later, VistaDB has been able to work in a bit larger environment able to accommodate more advanced SQL features like stored procedures, user-defined functions, and updatable views. This helps you develop full-fledged applications and deploy them to systems ranging from small Android phones up to large workstations.
Do you need to deploy a database management tool for your users? SQL CE does not have an xcopy deployable DBA tool for administrating the database. VistaDB ships the GUI DBA tool Data Builder and an unbranded version with full source code (DBA Sample Tool) is available. This allows you to build custom admin tools for your own applications quickly and easily.
SQL CE does integrate with the SQL Management Studio, but which version you use depends upon the runtime engine. Management Studio 2008 is required to view and edit SQL CE 3.5 files. But the full install of SQL Management Studio is far from being lightweight, and is definitely not xcopy deployable. The VistaDB DBA Sample Tool is xcopy deployable and can be customized to only expose the functionality you desire.