Today it looks more promising then ever.
Microsoft will soon release their SQL Server 2005 in a free version which will replace the present MSDE Server 2000. MySQL has recently launched their new major upgraded version, 5.0, which can handle stored procedures, triggers and views. Oracle recently announced that they will make a free version of their RDBMS version 10G available – Express Edition.
Why is this of interest at all?
As a small Excel-developer with limit resources it may be impossible to learn how to interact with and develop Excel-solutions for larger RDBMS (relation database management systems).
Since the major RDBMS has their own dialects of SQL and other individual properties it also mean that we can directly create and test solutions with correct syntax etc, for instance for Oracle, then first develop with MySQL and then convert it to an Oracle production database.
In view of this I welcome that the major vendors provide us with free RDBMS-version so that we are not limited due to the lack of resources.
However, in this context I find it questionable why Microsoft limit the new DB-functions in the coming Excel 12 to SQL Server 200/2005 only. After all, many organisations use other RBDMS and Excel is widely spread.