Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is coming to a Microsoft download center near you! You can expect this service pack to debut next month. However, to the best of my knowledge, Microsoft hasn't announced the complete contents of SP1. In fact, there hasn't been much discussion of Visual Studio 2005 SP1 at all. So, I thought I would mention a couple of the items that SP1 will include.
The first item that I want to tell you about is the feature that actually triggered my search for more information about SP1. Back in May, Microsoft's ASP.NET team released a Visual Studio 2005 update that added a "new" ASP.NET project type: Web Application Projects. However, this project type isn't actually new in the sense that it's based on the Web Application model in the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1, which Visual Studio .NET 2003 uses. The Web Application Project is a major departure from the Web Site Project type that ships with Visual Studio 2005. In a Web Application Project, a Web application is compiled as a single large executable. In a Web Site Project, a Web application consists of individual components are kept as separate components. This setup has a major advantage: You can easily update one component without needing to recompile and reship your entire Web application.
In some ways, the Web Application Project will make migrating from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0 easier. Plus, the underlying implementation of the Web Application Project is essentially the same as that in Visual Studio .NET 2003, so this implementation will feel familiar to developers. However, despite these benefits, I'm not certain that a throwback to Visual Studio .NET 2003's Web application behavior (i.e., having the entire code base compiled into one binary file) is really a step forward. Breaking items into separate components that you can independently update is a major maintenance advantage.
If you prefer having a Web application compiled into a single executable, you'll be glad to know that Visual Studio 2005 SP1 will automatically integrate the Web Application Project into your development environment. If you don't want to wait for SP1, you can download the update now at http://msdn.microsoft.com/asp.net/reference/infrastructure/wap/default.aspx. All the Visual Studio 2005 editions, except Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition, support the Web Application Project. For more information about the Web Application Project, check out Scott Guthrie's Web page at http://webproject.scottgu.com/Default.aspx.Scott runs the ASP.NET team in addition to several other .NET tools teams.
The second SP1 item that I want to tell you about is Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Everywhere Edition (SQL Server Everywhere). In the article "An Introduction to SQL Server 2005 Everywhere Edition Community Technology Preview" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=920700), Microsoft describes this item. This article is also where Microsoft announced in a roundabout way that Visual Studio 2005 SP1 will ship in September.
SQL Server Everywhere is the rebranding of the intuitively named Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition (SQL Server Mobile). However, as the article notes, it's not just a rebranding; SQL Server Everywhere includes some new features. For starters, Microsoft removed the dependency on SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2005 Express Edition for desktop installations. More important, you'll be able to create a ClickOnce deployment package that includes a SQL Server Everywhere database. (For information about ClickOnce, see my column "Software Sector Is Seeing Another Paradigm Shift," http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=93041&.)
The Microsoft article clearly notes that SQL Server Everywhere will be included in not only Visual Studio 2005 SP1 but also SQL Server 2005 SP2. Didn't know about SQL Server 2005 SP2? Join the club.