Feeling a bit of Deja Vu? Well, yes, this is about the third time I've run a very similar post but I just noticed that the April CTP for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is available, so here we go again! New with the April CTP, you can self-nominate in the TAP program. Complete this survey and if you are selected to participate, you'll be able to get SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition CTPs directly from Microsoft.
Please be sure to read the release notes for this version since a lot has changed over time.
Finally, if you've been waiting saying “oh, I'll wait for Beta 3,“ don't! This is the version to begin your testing and playing with.
A frequent question I see on the various news groups goes something like this one: "Is it possible to download SQL Server 2005 for practice? Is there like student edition available for nominal fee? Subscribing to MSDN is very expensive for an individual."
Actually you can get all you need for "free.*" I'll point you at the most current stuff. As a reminder, this is unsupported beta software. Do not install it on a machine that you care much about being able to not uninstall it cleanly from (think FDISK, ok). It is best to install it to a virtual host (like VirtualPC), or make a really good backup first. Why? Uninstalling this software -- while not hard -- is order of component removal sensitive as talked about here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=97383299-E74B-4AF8-90C7-FA0CA20A10C4&displaylang=en
First, make sure you are running on an OS and hardware configuration that meets the minimum requirements:
- Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Professional Edition , Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional Edition with Service Pack 2. Note that Windows XP Home, Windows NT, Windows Me and Windows 9x are not supported at this time.
- Intel Pentium III or compatible 550-megahertz (MHz) or higher processor (1 gigahertz or more recommended). Certain non-Intel processors like the Transmeta and some odd-ball AMD chips have been problematic in the past.
- 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM (512 MB or more recommended for sure.)
- 1.3 GB of available hard disk space.
With that said, I normally recommend installing these bits in this order:
- The .NET framework version 2.0.50215.44 from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=44381
- The SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (SSX) bits, version 9.0.1116 from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=46&p=3&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=97383299-e74b-4af8-90c7-fa0ca20a10c4&genscs=&u=http%3a%2f%2fdownload.microsoft.com%2fdownload%2fe%2f1%2f1%2fe1196b19-de92-4ab2-bafd-5b5ad26e67b4%2fSQLEXPR.EXE
- Express Manager (XM) from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3212A9A2-B658-4710-B04E-8A28355F836D&displaylang=en
- The SQL Server 2005 Books online from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=40&p=1&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=97383299-e74b-4af8-90c7-fa0ca20a10c4&genscs=&u=http%3a%2f%2fgo.microsoft.com%2ffwlink%2f%3fLinkId%3d31046.
- You may also want to download and install the AdventuresWorks database to work with. There's a long posting in blog covering that. See http://sqljunkies.com/WebLog/ktegels/articles/installawdbssx.aspx
Note that this version is pretty much stand alone. If you want/need a rich "developer's environment," you may want to look at using one of the Visual Studio Express products instead (see http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/.) They ship with and install their own version of the .NET runtime and SSX, so there's no need to download and install them separately.
* Note that SSX isn't the full version of SQL Server 2005 and those differences are covered in the Express White Paper at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dnsse/html/sseoverview.asp. That said, SSX is a great way to get started. By free, I mean that there's no charge to download or license to buy.
Key Functional Enhancements
- SharePoint Web parts enable you to explore and view reports located on a report server by using Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services or SharePoint Portal Server.
- Reports can now be printed directly from within Internet Explorer. A Microsoft ActiveX control is provided to support a rich client-side printing experience including full page preview.
Go get it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=502C0D89-1308-4662-8F58-CEC55EF1235B&displaylang=en
Discover how Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers database developers the optimal combination of a tightly integrated development and data management platform. The rich and flexible programming environment in SQL Server 2005 allows you to leverage your existing skills and utilize familiar tools to build robust, secure, scalable applications.
Register today to learn how the integration of the .NET Framework in SQL Server 2005 provides several major benefits, such as an enhanced programming model, enhanced safety and security, user defined types and aggregates, and a common development environment that integrates database development into the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment. In this series, we cover:
- .NET Framework Integration: Learn how you can now take full advantage of the Microsoft .NET Framework class library and modern programming languages to implement functionality within the server.
- Transact-SQL and Managed Code: Find out how to decide between using traditional Transact-SQL or a programming language that is compatible with the .NET Framework, such as Visual Basic .NET or C#. Understand where each method provides benefits and how to design for this in the beginning.
- Web Services: See how to develop XML Web services in the database tier, making SQL Server an HTTP listener.
- XML: SQL Server 2005 contains deep native support for XML. Learn how this can significantly help as you develop applications that make use of XML.
- Data Access: Discover how ADO.NET 2.0 not only supports all of the new SQL Server 2005 features but also enables productivity and performance gains for all developers.
Bonus: Attend a webcast in this MSDN series and complete an evaluation to receive the most current version of SQL Server 2005 Beta software on CD. Attend at least three MSDN webcasts in this SQL Server 2005 webcast series and submit evaluations and you will receive a SQL Server 2005 T-shirt*. And by attending a live webcast in this series and submitting an evaluation, you will qualify to win a Portable Media Center pre-loaded with Microsoft's best webcasts!
Also, don't forget about Today's webcast by Dr. Rys talk about Managing XML Data on the Database with SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Go register now!