I used it by having a "full install" on a single computer and having all the other computers using "client" installs and then having them connect to the MSDE database by using ODBC. We have seen a speed improvment when we built our application this way.
If you're developing stand-alone applications use may use Jet. But if your database is shared on a net you must use MSDE indeed.
You'll need to do a full install on a computer (like reallen said) and just install your app on the others (the OLE-DB or ODBC drivers will be distributed with your setup). You'll need to specify the "connection string" indicating the server, database, user and password.
MSDE is a "Sql Server light". MSDE 1.0 is the engine of Sql Server 7 and MSDE 2000 A is the engine of Sql Server 7 Sp3a.
Different than Access or Sql Server, MSDE does not have a front-end (administration tool) but you may use Access (since 2000 version) to do it. But first you'll need to create a database by using a "Create Database <name>" in a connection through VB.
How MSDE is client/server I don't need to say why it's a better choice than Jet (Access) to develop in a sharing ambient.
For those readers who are viewing this thread - Access will work over a network and does support concurrent users (usually no more than 25) - ironically msde has significant less support for concurrent users (5 - then performance will be reduced). Access is not just used for stand-alone applications.
- You want the highest compatibility with Access 97 or earlier.
- Your environment has a small number of simultaneous users.
- You have very low resources, such as memory or disk.
- Ease of use is a primary concern.
Use MSDE if:
- You want to develop from a single code base, from a single user to thousands of users.
- You expect a future need for greater scalability.
- You require easy merge replication with the central server.
- You need the best security.
- You need great reliability, such as transaction logging.
- Your system is online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- You need stored procedures and triggers."
But at that link you'll see a complete comparison of these databases by Microsoft.
In fact, I didn't feel these limitations yet. I've got some projects based in both Jet and MSDE. Yes, Jet is a good choice too, depending on the project. I have some projects running on MSDE databases with a little bit more of concurrence than those 5 and, believe it, I didn't need to configure the MSDE to accept them. Of course it's not a huge database with very large concurrency, it's about 7 or 8 users on-line in these cases. But when the project foresees a few more than these I often advise to use Sql Server, Postgre SQL or even MySql.
I have used Jet in cases that the concurrency doesn't be beyond 3 or 4 users on-line. The needing of local replication of Jet files (manually or not) implies in a traffic that might be a serious problem. Ever a user runs an Jet-based app this file is copied locally generating more traffic than a client/server-based app.
Well, if MS is a reputable source of information I don't know. But I prefer to believe that MS is the better choice to get information about their own products. And if MS has a bad reputation why do we still insist to use windows, ie, visual studio, access, sql server... ?
I agree that with the experience we can make a better evaluation of each product. You're right. But we have to insist to the beginners to learn more about client/server, n-tier development and other "new" tecnologies for their own growth.
I know we're all here to help and be helped. Thank you for doing your part. Certainly I'll need your help too someday!