Microsoft SQL Server Compact or SQL CE is an embedded relational databases intended for use both on mobile devices and desktops. SQL Compact shares common programming interface with other SQL Server editions, making it easy to use for .NET developers familiar with standard SQL Server.
We support SQLCE directly in our products! You don't need separate drivers and can immediately connect to your database.
There are many limitations compared to a standard SQL Server instance, but that’s expected for a small embedded database engine. You can’t write stored procedures, for example – but one of the main purposes of stored procedures is to avoid frequent network round-trips to the server. With embedded databases, stored procedures have less appeal. Also, XML data type is not supports in SQL Compact.
SQL Server Compact holds its databases in a single file with .SDF extension. However, that extension is just a recommendation, so any extension can be used for the database file. SDF files can be compressed and encrypted. If database is created with password specified, it will be encrypted and will never allow access without correct password.
Some of the well-known competitors to SQL Server Compact are SQLite and Pervasive PSQL, which run on many more platforms compared to SQL CE.
It's very easy to copy existing database tables into your SQL Server CE database. Just point Full Convert to your source database, select your target and let it copy things over.
Tutorials showing how to copy data from another database into SQL Server CE:
It may make sense to migrate your data away from SQL Server CE. You may want to do it permanently or just need to share your tables with a collague in a different format.
Tutorials showing how to copy data from SQL Server CE to another database: