Merge replication allows you to specify the types of Subscribers that a publication must support. Selecting Subscriber types sets the publication compatibility level, which determines which features can be used by a publication. For example, if you select SQL Server 2000, you will not be able to use the logical records feature introduced in Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Feature availability is dependent on the Subscriber types you select, not what you actually use. For example, if you specify SQL Server 2000, but you only use SQL Server 2005 or later version Subscribers, features are still restricted to those that are compatible with SQL Server 2000.
After a publication snapshot is created, the publication compatibility level can be increased (made more restrictive) on the General page of the Publication Properties dialog box; the compatibility level cannot be decreased. For more information, see the "Compatibility Level for Merge Publications" section in the topic Using Multiple Versions of SQL Server in a Replication Topology.
Select each Subscriber type that this publication must support.
SQL Server 2005
The publication can use all features.
SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP1
The publication requires snapshot files to be in character format (this is handled automatically by the Snapshot Agent). SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP1 also has a number of restrictions not related to compatibility level. For more information, see Creating the Publication.
The publication cannot use a number of features introduced in SQL Server 2005, including logical records, improved schema change replication, and certain optimizations for filtered publications.
SQL Server for Microsoft Windows CE
SQL Server 2000 restrictions apply. Additionally, the publication requires snapshot files to be in character format (this is handled automatically by the Snapshot Agent). Windows CE Edition also has a number of restrictions not related to compatibility level. For more information, see the Windows CE Edition documentation.