I am interested in the Express version of our developer products for a couple of reasons:

Express products are FREE!

1. These products provide a gateway to Microsoft developer technologies for free

2. SmartCare (the project that I personally volunteer for in Zambia) uses SQLExpress

3. These products are really lightweight and will install and run on older and/or more lightweight developer machines

To that end I spent a couple of hours last night installing the following:

1. SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services - this includes SSMS light and SSRS (for local data)

2. Visual C# 2008 Express Edition with SP1

I thought you might save time by reading about my install experience, there are several dependencies and I had to re-boot several times.  I installed on a Sony Vaio TZ130N, dual core with 2 GB RAM.  The laptop runs Vista Business.  First you'll have to download a number of products.  The Microsoft download page describes the dependencies as well.  Here is the install order I followed:

1. Visual C# 2008 Express with SP1 

Look what you can make using Visual C# 2008 Express

The development environment is surprisingly rich in this Express product.  I haven't done much production work with WPF and I am happy to see the support for WPF in this product.  It really feels like I am working in the full retail version of Visual Studio 2008 after I launch the WPF Application template and start to play around with it.

WPF development is fun!

2. for SQL Server 2008 Express Advanced Services, you'll need the following (also I installed the sample database AdventureWorks LT from CodePlex)

a. .NET framework v 3.5 SP1 (only needed if an express edition of Visual Studio is NOT installed first)

b. Windows installer v 4.5

c. Windows Powershell

d. SQL2008.AdventureWorks LT DB v2008.zip

CodePlex samples

Of course, the 'real reason' I've installed all of this is to push SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services to see what limits are included in the product.  I really like the 'slimmed-down' version of SQL Server Management Studio (called light).  Oh, what's this I see? Why it's Intellisense in the query writer!  Cool.  Oh, it's the little things that make me happy :)

Look I've got Intellisense!

Do you use any of our Express products?  Which ones?  Why?  How do you like them?  I'd be interested to know.