On Monday of this week (Nov. 7th), Microsoft officially released .NET 2.0 (including ASP.NET 2.0), Visual Studio 2005, and SQL Server 2005. In fact, my most recent 4Guys article, Working with Databases in ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, examines how to connect and display data from a SQL Server 2005 database from an ASP.NET 2.0 page.
Like Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 comes in a number of product lines. There's the free “Express” version that ships with Visual Studio 2005 (or can be downloaded independently) along with a Workgroup, Standard, and Enterprise versions. You can compare the featuresets of the various versions here.
One slight annoyance is that SQL Server 2005 Express edition does not (at this time) ship with Management Studio. Management Studio is the slick new name for what was called Enterprise Manager in SQL Server 2000 - basically a stand-alone GUI Windows application for managing SQL Server databases. Since SQL Server 2005 Express edition lacks the Management Studio, you will most likely create and modify your SQL Server 2005 Express databases directly through the Visual Studio 2005 IDE. (I discuss this in greater detail in my 4Guys article.) There will be, however, a Management Studio Express version; currently it's being released as a Community Technical Preview (CTP); learn more from this blog entry by Euan Garden.
SQL Server 2005 is designed to allow side-by-side installations, both with its varying versions and previous versions of Microsoft SQL Server. When setting up my desktop for .NET last week I installed, first, Visual Studio 2005 Professional edition, which prompted me if I wanted to also install SQL Server 2005 Express edition. Being a rather genial fellow, I said, Sure. After installing VS 2005, I decided to install SQL Server 2005 Standard edition. After installing it I noticed that I did not have Management Studio installed. Weird.
I went to the Control Panel, then Add/Remove Programs, and chose Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Next I was asked to choose an instance (SQL2005 or SQLEXPRESS). I chose SQL2005, since that instance is what supports Management Studio. I then stepped through a few more screens until I reached a screen where there was a Customize button to tailor the installation options. Clicking this displayed the familiar tree of installation options, but, to my surprise, there was no Management Studio option. In talking with others, I found that they had a Management Studio option.
Turns out, from the first screen where I chose an instance (SQL2005 or SQLEXPRESS) there was a link up at the top that read, “To install a new component, click here.” (Screenshot shown below.) I needed to click that particular link to configure the SQL Server 2005 setup to install Management Studio. Seemed odd to place this link here in this screen, as it breaks from the standard UI paradigm used in countless other installation wizards. (Thanks to Adam Sills for helping me get the Management Studio installation working.)