SQL Server Express and C# .NET


In this section, you’ll learn how to create a database with SQL Server Express. You can do all this within the Visual C# .NET software. Once you have a database, you’ll learn how to pull records from it, and display them on a Windows Form. You will also learn how to navigate through the records in your database, and how to add new records.

How to Create a SQL Server Express Database

Start a new project, and call it anything you like as we're only using this project to create a database. But do remember where on your hard drive you saved this project to, usually in your Documents folders, under Visual Studio, then Projects. When a database is created, it will be saved in the project folder. You’ll need to browse to this folder to add the database as resource when we create a new project.

From the menu at the top, click on Project > Add New Item.

Add New Item

From the Add New Item dialogue box, look for the Service-based database item, as in the image below:

The Add New Item dialogue box

In the Name box at the bottom, type Employees.mdf. Then click the Add button.

If you have Visual Studio Express 2013 or Community 2015/2017, you'll go straight back to your Form, and it will look like nothing has happened. In version 2012 of the software, you'll see this screen:

Wizard - Database Model

Select Dataset, then click Next. You'll then see this:

Database objects screen

Change the name of the Data Set to ds_employees.

Click the Finish button to go back to your form.

In all versions, it might look as though nothing has happened, when you are returned to your form. But have a look at the Solution Explorer at the top right of your screen. You should see your database there:

Solution Explorer showing a database added to a project

When you save your project, the database will get saved along with all the solution files.

In the next part, you'll learn how to add a table to the database.