Am I completely off base here?
SQL Server Express is a fine replacement for Access but equally free. The good thing about the Express edition is that it's fully compatible with the commercial versions, So when the need comes to upgrade to a full version, you don't have to upgrade or change your code.
I would opt for a "server based" version of the database. IMO, it has the following advantages;
1. Databases are more "visible". You can manage them all using the "SQL Server Management Studio" making it easy to see what user has what rights, the databases you're running and so on.
2. Changes will be easier to make. Since your databases can be made using "SQL Server Management Studio" you can do so on the database, rather than through your own application. This makes it easy to quickly see data, insert / update records and so on.
3. Backups will be easier, You can let SQL Server make backups of the database while they are in use. Depending on your backup software this may not work with a database in App_Data.
Using a local database in App_Data is great during development. It's easy to use, easy to configure security and so on. But once I deploy I always attach them to a real server version of SQL Server.
By the way, the book is fantastic: very easy to use and a nice transitional text for a guy with my background. I have been using the 24/7 library and absolutely love it. It is a little rough figuring out what individuals are talking about when they post with a title like "Question about paragraph x on pg. y" on these boards, but it is a minor inconvenience at worst.
Thank you, much appreciated. For me, with a paper copy on my desk, he page and paragraph references make a lot of sense, but I do see your point... ;-)