i've searched everywhere (well everywhere i can think off) and i am struggling, back when i had ArcMap 10 you could create an local SQL express DB but i can't seem to find the same in ArcGIS Pro.
i've installed SQL Server Dev edition and can connect Pro to it, i can create a feautre class in the SQL DB, i can copy a feature class to the SQL DB but when add it into pro to update / create new features its added as a query layer and i cant edit it
i am guessing i've done it wrong some how....
The old version of the SQL Express geodatabase was referred to a personal or workgroup geodatabase. See more details here: ArcSDE for SQL Server Express limitations?
What you are experiencing is expected with SQL Server Dev (or any "full" version of SQL Server). You have to create/enable an enterprise geodatabase to have the edit functionality from ArcGIS Pro; Databases and ArcGIS—Help | ArcGIS Desktop
Here are some other GeoNet post related to ArcGIS Pro and SQL Server Express:
Let me know if you have any other questions.
As far as I know that is still correct. ArcGIS Pro only supports file and enterprise geodatabases.
That's not quite correct and I'm sure this is a source of much confusion. You can still create DBs in SQL express (desktop or workgroup edition DB server) wirh ArcMap and then work with them just fine in Pro.
You cannot CREATE those DBs in Pro, however.
I don't understand how Pro will be a full replacement for desktop with major functionality like this still missing.
I don't understand how after years of users asking the same/similar question that Esri cannot clarify the roadmap here.
Should we start planning that 2way replica environments will no longer be possible without a full ArcGIS Server Standard license for both participating DB instances??
You are correct on the creation of SQL Express DB's using ArcMap. I was also able to find this FAQ: Is it possible to create a workgroup geodatabase in ArcGIS Pro?
I would highly recommend logging an enhancement with technical support, if not already done.
It seems to be discussed in this idea submission here.
However, this is a very broad topic and a huge thread of comments...I have no idea of knowing what enhancements are on track towards implementation.
I did provide some feedback internally to the Geodatabase team based on this thread. I think that they are working on some documentation for the next release. I do not have any other information outside of that.
My opinion - I can understand the use cases for SQL Server express DB's but find that the limitations they impose (from the MS side more than Esri) creates issues overall with performance and size limits.
Performance issues aside, Desktop Database Servers (via SQL Express) are instrumental to distributed data workflows. It's important to remember that there are still places in the world where connectivity is sparse and bandwidth is meager such that direct DB connections (via WAN/VPN) or FS editing are simply not feasible. However, the replicated data model is time-proven and can also be enhanced with version management. Not being able to work with database server instances (using SQL Express) fundamentally cuts-out the 2-way replica option without having an ArcGIS Server license, and given what we are seeing here it's likely/possible that ArcGIS Workgroup is on the chopping block as well!