Visual Studio has always featured tight integration with SQL Server. Microsoft continues this trend by offering no less than three different editions of SQL Server 2005 with Visual Studio 2008. First, both the Visual Studio 2008 Professional and Standard editions include new support for the SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5. Designed primarily for mobile applications, the SQL Server Compact Edition is a lightweight (approximately 1.8 MB) full-featured in-process relational database. The SQL Server Compact Edition can be freely distributed with your applications.

In addition, like the earlier Visual Studio 2005 release, both the Visual Studio 2008 Professional and Standard editions include the SQL Server 2005 Express edition as an optionally installed component. Like the full blown version of SQL Server, SQL Server Express runs as a background service and is suitable for use as a single user or multi-user relational database applications. SQL Server 2005 Express Edition can also be freely distributed.

Finally, customers who purchase the Visual Studio 2008 Professional edition also get a copy of the SQL Server 2005 Developer’s Edition. The SQL Server 2005 Developer’s edition has all the features that are in the SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition, but the Developer edition is restricted to use in development-only scenarios and can’t be used as a production database.