Since 2005, SQL Server Express has shipped with both Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer Express.  SQL Server Express enables rapid development of web applications by providing an integrated database that is very easy to use.

One of the challenges in using SQL Express for web development has been transferring the structure and data of a local SQL Express database to a hosted or production SQL Server database.  A popular method of doing this was to use the SQL database publishing wizard -- a popular web-downloadable add-in for Visual Studio 2005.

With Visual Studio 2008, the functionality made available in this add-on now ships integrated with the Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008 products.  Integrating the functionality of the SQL Publishing wizard into Visual Studio enables developers to easily discover how to migrate their SQL Express databases onto a hosted SQL account.  To publish a local SQL Express database in Visual Studio 2008, a user can simply select it from the Server Explorer, right-click, and choose the “Publish to provider” command.

The integrated wizard enables two key scenarios from within Visual Studio 2008:

1.     Generation of a single .SQL script file from a given local SQL Express database that can be used to recreate a database on a remote hosted SQL database.

2.     Export from a local SQL Express database to a specified hosted database via a web service provided by the hoster in a single step.

Check out this post from the Visual Web Developer team to learn more about this feature including a step-by-step walkthrough.