SQL CE - Pros & Cons

1 minute read

The new SQL CE for the mobile applications has some striking features. In this post, let me list some of its advantages & disadvantages:


  • Target Applications: Can be used in Desktop/Web/Mobile applications.
  • Size: Very tiny footprint: 1.7MB
  • Operating Systems: Win XP, 2003, Vista, Mobile or any SmartPhone.
  • Continues to be a single-file database
  • Involves no cost! Just register yourself on the Microsoft site.
  • Easy in deployment.


  • Does not support all features of MS-SQL 2005.
  • Conflicting Statements:
  • Stored Procedures are NOT supported :(
  • Stored Procedures are SUPPORTED :)
  • Difference in the syntaxes
  • Maximum size of database : 4 GB.

A note on disadvantages:

The above disadvantages have been listed considering the fact that SQL CE is used for Desktop/Web applications. However, SQL CE was launched for Mobile Applications so the disadvantage of 4 GB is hardly a disadvantage - wonder if there are smart devices that can support 4+ GB of data!

One serious disadvantage is : NO Stored Procedures calls can be made, which makes it equivalent to MS-ACCESS.

SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand();
cmd.CommandText = “MyStoredProc '02/23/2004' ”;
cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;

is not allowed

Alternative to use Stored Procedure call:

SqlCeRemoteDataAccess rda = new SqlCeRemoteDataAccess();
rda.Pull("authors", "exec MyStoredProcName '02/23/2004' ", ...);

is allowed!

So, to hook SQL CE database to a desktop application that handles smaller chunk of data appears to be a good solution. However if the data becomes large, you can break the data into multiple database files, which is anytime easier than maintaining large XML, CSV or Access database files.