I need to setup an application to scan a barcode from a packing slip and the associated fulfillment items on a windows CE 5.0 device and update the inventory on the server. I'm using VB.NET. However, what is the best way to interact with the database? Integration Services, ADO.NET, RDA... etc... it's a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what I should use to interact with the database. It's currently an Access database, but I imagine I'm probably going to need to migrate it to SQL Server or SQL Server Express.
I'd also need to print the packing slip to a network printer from the device. Is there any way to do this?
Sql CE is an excellent choice if your devices have to function for stretches in a disconnected state (i.e. not connected to the server). If you do use Sql CE, however, I strongly recommend not using RDA to persist local changes back to the server database (see this answer). In any event, RDA merge replication would require your server database to be Sql Server.
If your devices are always connected to the server through a wireless network, then you do not need a local database on the devices at all. Your devices can upload and download data through ASP.Net web services running on the server. Using DataSets for this communication is a good choice, since they are essentially database-agnostic (and thus your PDA code won't particularly care what database you're using on the server).
The web service approach will also let you handle the printing requirement. The PDA would send the relevant information to a web service method, which would then handle printing to the network printer.