Earlier this year Microsoft announced that they would be re-banding SQL Mobile to SQL Server Everywhere. One of the ideas behind this initiative is to provide a better story for developers who want to build applications that support working in disconnected, or occasionally connected, mode. In the past the only solution in Microsoft-Land was to use either Access or MSDE (now SQL Server Express), neither of which provided a suitable solution. Access requires an Office license, while MSDE/SQL Express runs as a background service making it unsuitable for a single application local datastore. SQL/e addresses this issue as it runs in-process with the application. It will also be able to be deployed alongside the application using ClickOnce deployment.
One of the issues with using SQL/e as an offline datastore is that configuring merge replication was difficult and wasn’t always suitable, depending on the server datastore. As such the Smart Client data team at Microsoft have been working on a new sync framework. Steve Lasker has just posted a powerpoint presentation and a screencast that demonstrates where this technology is going!