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Are you actually going to drag and drop things from Server Explorer, and or use Sever Explorer to create/edit/debug stored procedures and such? If so, you'll need (32 bit) Oracle Developer Tools installed, and you'll need to install it into a separate home from the Express home.
If you're just going to "hand code" ODP.NET, you can use the ODP.NET that installs in the Express home. Note though that in VS2010, projects default to compile target of "x86", so to run a 64 bit app with the 64 bit ODP/client (assuming you installed 64 bit db home), you'll need to change it to x64.
You can connect from ODP.NET without tnsnames via the EZConnect version of the connect string.. ie,"data source=//serverhost:port/db_service_name; user id...etc.."
You can use 11g client against a 10g database.
Hope it helps,
Right, thanks... so I don't need to install ODAC/Dev tools so long as I don't need the Server Explorer functionality as you described? But if I did, would it be the server or client version?
And if I chose to connect to either database via tnsnames could I still do that without any further installations? Or would I need a separate client?
You'd install the "client" option of ODAC into a separate home if you want Server Explorer functionality.
You can connect via TNSNames without additional installations. %ORACLE_HOME%\network\admin is a well known location that the client checks, and you can also specify the directory you want the tnsnames.ora to get picked up from via a TNS_ADMIN environment variable.