About a month ago, Microsoft released the first Beta version of SQL Server Express. We hope everyone who was interested has had a chance to try out this new product and let us know how we can make the final release better.

One of the goals of SQL Server Express was to make it easy to develop applications with rich data access capabilities. There are some very useful features in SQL Express that I wanted to mention which can help you quickly get started with your database application. To begin with, SQL Express is small enough in size to download but still has many of the same powerful database features that are in SQL Server 2005. The installation process has been simplified to make setup easier. Databases can be deployed along with the application using just the familiar file copy mechanism without any added configuration necessary. There are also helpful database integration features built into the new VB Express product so that you can add data access capabilities to your app without having to write a lot of code.

In addition, Microsoft will soon be releasing a separate database management tool called SQL Server Express Manager to provide an easier experience for developing and managing SQL Server databases. This tool will be available as a free download in time for Yukon Beta 3 but we are hoping to have a preview release available earlier in the fall.

All of the exciting new features that I just mentioned (including a live demo of an early build of Express Manager!) were shown to attendees of the Tech-Ed Europe 2004 conference in July. I’m happy to announce that a webcast of that presentation is now available to everyone at http://www.sqlservermobile.com/sqlexpress/dat307.wmv. If you’re interested, please feel free to give it a watch to learn more about SQL Server Express and as always, please let us know what you are thinking and how we can improve our products.

Thanks for all your time,

Eric Feng
Program Manager for SQL Server Express