It has been a very busy few weeks working on Geocortex Optimizer. One of the nice things about working with a small project team is that individually, you get exposure to a wide range of technologies that you might otherwise not get to use. For example, over the last few weeks, I've worked with .Net Remoting, WIX installers, Microsoft SQL Server 3.5 Compact Edition, ASP.NET, and Microsoft AJAX. It's pretty cool. My skill set is growing and happily, I am no longer an out-of-date, middle-aged software developer.

This week's big discovery was Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition. For those of you not familiar with it, SQL Server Compact Edition is the "in process" SQL Server engine that targets the desktop application and mobile markets. As far as I can tell, it is a surprisingly complete SQL engine that runs within your application and provides similar performance and capacity to Microsoft SQL Server Express. You can even open its database files using the SQL Server Management Studio. The best part is, it is free for distribution, very easy to install, is really small and uses the same T-SQL that SQL Server uses which provides a straight-forward upgrade path for those users with more advanced needs. There are a few things missing that you may or may not miss including stored procedures and triggers but my guess is that the majority of desktop applications, where the focus is not the database, will not even notice.

Check it out. You'll be glad you did.