If I build an application using BS 2008 in C# that uses an SQL database, Do I have to include SQL Express as part of the deployment package? In other words, does the user need SQL Express on his/her machine in order to use my application if my app does all the work?

Welcome,

You wouldn't normally deploy sql server with an application, you normally have sql server running on a dedicated windows server on the network and clients connect to it, otherwise you have no single database for the company - each user has their own database, which doesn't make sense. Take a look at link - http://en.csharp-online.net/Deploying_Windows_Applications%E2%80%94Prerequisites.

>Do I have to include SQL Express as part of the deployment package?

Text from MSDN - Embedding SQL Server Express into Custom Applications.

This white paper discusses how to integrate and deploy Microsoft SQL Server Express-based applications by using configuration files and the ClickOnce deployment technology in Microsoft Visual Studio.

Reference thread : http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread240046.html

Well, the app is for churches, and most churches in my area have workgroups, if they have networks at all.

I ship MSDE / SQL Express with a few of my applications but as adatapost mentioned you should have two installers -- a lighweight application for just your software and another with your software and MSSQL. Depending on how complicated you want to make your life you could have the SQL Server as a pre-requisit of the application or an option to install it as a separate feature in the application. By doing this you're getting beyond that capabilities of the deployment projects in visual studio (it is possible, but I would not advise going this route).

To save you some time here are the parameters you should start with for a silent install of SQL Server. Adjust as your project requires:
For MSSQL-2000:

setup.exe SAPWD="PASSWORD" INSTANCENAME="InstanceName" TARGETDIR="C:\MSDE\Binn" DATADIR="C:\MSDE\Data" SECURITYMODE=SQL DISABLENETWORKPROTOCOLS=0 /L*v C:\SQL_Install.log

SQL-2005:

setup.exe /qb ADDLOCAL=SQL_Engine,SQL_Data_Files,SQL_Replication,Client_Components,Connectivity,SQL_SSMSEE INSTANCENAME=InstanceName SAVESYSDB=1 SQLBROWSERAUTOSTART=1 SQLAUTOSTART=1 AGTAUTOSTART=1 SECURITYMODE=SQL SAPWD=password DISABLENETWORKPROTOCOLS=0 ERRORREPORTING=1 SQMREPORTING=0 ADDUSERASADMIN=1 INSTALLSQLDIR="%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\"

I haven't gotten around to SQL2008 yet :\

I think Expres is going to work because a 4GB DB is a huge DB. Am I thinking wrong?

It depends what your application does. It is safe to assume that in most cases it would take a couple of years to hit 4GB worth of data. If it is a scheduling app for your church then it will probably last a decade. If you don't care about data after N years you could purge it to reclaim space.

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