SQL Server mobile closer to completion

Compact Edition RC1 and Visual Studio Team Edition were among the highlights at the SQL Server 2005 user group meeting in Seattle this week.

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Microsoft made available today release candidate 1 for SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition, which will help IT shops embed relational database functions into mobile and desktop applications.

Formerly known as SQL Server Mobile Edition, Compact Edition gives database administrators a small footprint database engine with SQL Server functionality, according to Microsoft.

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Compact Edition promises to let database administrators use the same skills they are used to because it has the familiar SQL syntax and common ADO.NET programming model as other SQL Server editions, Microsoft said. Compact Edition also has management capabilities through SQL Server 2005 Management Studio.

"Think of it as a lightweight and embeddable version of SQL Server," said Francois Ajenstat, director of SQL Server marketing at Microsoft. "Some of the key features are that it maintains control of data and has synchronization."

SQL Server Mobile Edition is gaining in popularity, said Adam Machanic, a Boston-based consultant and SQL Server MVP. It will, however, be competing against more than a handful of well established players in the mobile database space, he said.

"They have a long way to go because there's a ton of different products -- like Oracle -- that are already established out there," said Machanic, adding that he does not use Mobile Edition.

The RC1 announcement was made during a keynote by Paul Flessner, Microsoft senior vice president of server applications, at the Professional Association for SQL Server conference this week in Seattle.

Flessner reiterated the availability of the community technology preview of SQL Server 2005 SP2, which has data compression and business intelligence enhancements, security updates relating to Common Criteria, support for Vista and data mining add-ins for Office 2007.

SQL Server 2005 SP2 is expected out first quarter 2007.

Microsoft said it also plans to release to manufacturing Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals on Nov. 30. The RTM will reportedly give architects a "foundation" for change management, development, testing and deployment of databases via integrated functionality.

Terry Tate, a SQL Server architect with eRx Network in Forth Worth, Texas, welcomed the addition of offline development capabilities now in Visual Studio Team Edition. "We've had Visual Studio issues with their development cycle," said Tate. "To have the ability to work offline developing database objects will be extremely huge."

Heidi Sweeney contributed to this report.

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