Microsoft pushing database out to the masses

Microsoft is rolling out a new set of offerings to sweeten the appeal of its SQL Server database to the 18 million nonprofessional developers out there.

At its Tech Ed conference in the Netherlands, the company Tuesday announced that it will offer a slimmed-down version of its database, called SQL Server Express, along with five tool kits.

A free version of the SQL Server 2005 database, SQL Server Express is being released in hopes that more developers will embed it into their applications. The product will have support for stored procedures, XML and Common Language Runtime, which gives developers a single foundation on which to build a variety of Web- and Microsoft-platform-based applications, among other capabilities.

The company's hope is that customers will download the product and quickly start writing code with Microsoft's tools, said John Montgomery, director of marketing for Microsoft's Developer Division. Also coming to the Express line are versions of Visual Web Developer 2005, Visual Basic 2005, Visual J, Visual C, and Visual C++, which will costs tens of dollars rather than hundreds of dollars, he said.

The products will be tightly integrated and will allow developers to directly link up with relevant newsgroups to post questions and solve problems.

SQL Server Express is available for download now.

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