Use a SQL Server database in a UWP app

Your app can connect directly to a SQL Server database and then store and retrieve data by using classes in the System.Data.SqlClient namespace.

In this guide, we'll show you one way to do that. If you install the Northwind sample database onto your SQL Server instance, and then use these snippets, you'll end up with a basic UI that shows products from the Northwind sample database.

Northwind products

The snippets that appear in this guide are based on this more complete sample.

First, set up your solution

To connect your app directly to a SQL Server database, make sure that the minimum version of your project targets the Fall Creators update. You can find that information in the properties page of your UWP project.

Minimum version of the Windows SDK

Open the Package.appxmanifest file of your UWP project in the manifest designer.

In the Capabilities tab, select the Enterprise Authentication checkbox.

Enterprise Authentication Capability

Add and retrieve data in a SQL Server database

In this section, we'll do these things:

1️⃣ Add a connection string.

2️⃣ Create a class to hold product data.

3️⃣ Retrieve products from the SQL Server database.

4️⃣ Add a basic user interface.

5️⃣ Populate the UI with Products.

Note

This section illustrates one way to organize your data access code. It's meant only to provide an example of how you can use System.Data.SqlClient to store and retrieve data from a SQL Server database. You can organize your code in any way that makes the most sense to your application's design.

Add a connection string

In the App.xaml.cs file, add a property to the App class, that gives other classes in your solution access to the connection string.

Our connection string points to the Northwind database in a SQL Server Express instance.

sealed partial class App : Application
{
    private string connectionString =
        @"Data Source=YourServerName\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=NORTHWIND;Integrated Security=SSPI";

    public string ConnectionString { get => connectionString; set => connectionString = value; }

    ...
}

Create a class to hold product data

We'll create a class that implements the INotifyPropertyChanged event so that we can bind attributes in our XAML UI to the properties in this class.

public class Product : INotifyPropertyChanged
{
    public int ProductID { get; set; }
    public string ProductCode { get { return ProductID.ToString(); } }
    public string ProductName { get; set; }
    public string QuantityPerUnit { get; set; }
    public decimal UnitPrice { get; set; }
    public string UnitPriceString { get { return UnitPrice.ToString("######.00"); } }
    public int UnitsInStock { get; set; }
    public string UnitsInStockString { get { return UnitsInStock.ToString("#####0"); } }
    public int CategoryId { get; set; }

    public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged;
    private void NotifyPropertyChanged(string propertyName)
    {
        if (PropertyChanged != null)
        {
            PropertyChanged(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));
        }
    }

}

Retrieve products from the SQL Server database

Create a method that gets products from the Northwind sample database, and then returns them as an ObservableCollection collection of Product instances.

public ObservableCollection<Product> GetProducts(string connectionString)
{
    const string GetProductsQuery = "select ProductID, ProductName, QuantityPerUnit," +
       " UnitPrice, UnitsInStock, Products.CategoryID " +
       " from Products inner join Categories on Products.CategoryID = Categories.CategoryID " +
       " where Discontinued = 0";

    var products = new ObservableCollection<Product>();
    try
    {
        using (SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection(connectionString))
        {
            conn.Open();
            if (conn.State == System.Data.ConnectionState.Open)
            {
                using (SqlCommand cmd = conn.CreateCommand())
                {
                    cmd.CommandText = GetProductsQuery;
                    using (SqlDataReader reader = cmd.ExecuteReader())
                    {
                        while (reader.Read())
                        {
                            var product = new Product();
                            product.ProductID = reader.GetInt32(0);
                            product.ProductName = reader.GetString(1);
                            product.QuantityPerUnit = reader.GetString(2);
                            product.UnitPrice = reader.GetDecimal(3);
                            product.UnitsInStock = reader.GetInt16(4);
                            product.CategoryId = reader.GetInt32(5);
                            products.Add(product);
                        }
                    }
                }
            }
        }
        return products;
    }
    catch (Exception eSql)
    {
        Debug.WriteLine("Exception: " + eSql.Message);
    }
    return null;
}

Add a basic user interface

Add the following XAML to the MainPage.xaml file of the UWP project.

This XAML creates a ListView to show each product that you returned in the previous snippet, and binds the attributes of each row in the ListView to the properties that we defined in the Product class.

<Grid Background="{ThemeResource SystemControlAcrylicWindowBrush}">
    <RelativePanel>
        <ListView Name="InventoryList"
                  SelectionMode="Single"
                  ScrollViewer.VerticalScrollBarVisibility="Auto"
                  ScrollViewer.IsVerticalRailEnabled="True"
                  ScrollViewer.VerticalScrollMode="Enabled"
                  ScrollViewer.HorizontalScrollMode="Enabled"
                  ScrollViewer.HorizontalScrollBarVisibility="Auto"
                  ScrollViewer.IsHorizontalRailEnabled="True"
                  Margin="20">
            <ListView.HeaderTemplate>
                <DataTemplate>
                    <StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal"  >
                        <TextBlock Text="ID" Margin="8,0" Width="50" Foreground="DarkRed" />
                        <TextBlock Text="Product description" Width="300" Foreground="DarkRed" />
                        <TextBlock Text="Packaging" Width="200" Foreground="DarkRed" />
                        <TextBlock Text="Price" Width="80" Foreground="DarkRed" />
                        <TextBlock Text="In stock" Width="80" Foreground="DarkRed" />
                    </StackPanel>
                </DataTemplate>
            </ListView.HeaderTemplate>
            <ListView.ItemTemplate>
                <DataTemplate x:DataType="local:Product">
                    <StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal" >
                        <TextBlock Name="ItemId"
                                    Text="{x:Bind ProductCode}"
                                    Width="50" />
                        <TextBlock Name="ItemName"
                                    Text="{x:Bind ProductName}"
                                    Width="300" />
                        <TextBlock Text="{x:Bind QuantityPerUnit}"
                                   Width="200" />
                        <TextBlock Text="{x:Bind UnitPriceString}"
                                   Width="80" />
                        <TextBlock Text="{x:Bind UnitsInStockString}"
                                   Width="80" />
                    </StackPanel>
                </DataTemplate>
            </ListView.ItemTemplate>
        </ListView>
    </RelativePanel>
</Grid>

Show products in the ListView

Open the MainPage.xaml.cs file, and add code to the constructor of the MainPage class that sets the ItemSource property of the ListView to the ObservableCollection of Product instances.

public MainPage()
{
    this.InitializeComponent();
    InventoryList.ItemsSource = GetProducts((App.Current as App).ConnectionString);
}

Start the project and see products from the Northwind sample database appear in the UI.

Northwind products

Explore the System.Data.SqlClient namespace to see what other things you can do with data in your SQL Server database.

Trouble connecting to your database?

In most cases, some aspect of the SQL Server configuration needs to be changed. If you're able to connect to your database from another type of desktop application such as a Windows Forms or WPF application, ensure that you've enabled TCP/IP for SQL Server. You can do that in the Computer Management console.

Computer Management

Then, make sure that your SQL Server Browser service is running.

SQL Server Browser Service

Next steps

Use a light-weight database to store data on the users device

See Use a SQLite database in a UWP app.

Share code between different apps across different platforms

See Share code between desktop and UWP.

Add master detail pages with Azure SQL back ends

See Customer Orders Database sample.