Introducing SQL Server Express Manager


For those of you who are interested in database management tools for SQL Express, I’d like to tell you about a new product that Microsoft will be releasing soon called SQL Server Express Manager (or XM for short). XM is a lightweight tool built on top of the latest version of the .NET Framework and the new SQL Server System Management Objects API. We received a lot of interest from MSDE customers for a better database management experience and we are hoping to provide that with the release of XM.
 
A little background on XM…
The inspiration for developing this tool came directly from customer feedback. By talking to MSDE users, we learned that in order to make SQL Server Express a successful product, we needed to provide an easy way for customers to manage their databases. For example of a feature that was implemented in direct response to a customer request is XM’s ability to connect to and managed both local and remote SQL Server instances.
 
Another significant result from the feedback that we received was that it reinforced the importance of designing XM with simplicity of use in mind. We want XM to be a tool that any database developer can get value out of so to that end, we have tried to optimize XM to be easy to install, easy to understand, and available to anyone. Some of the new usability features include step by step wizards to guide users through common tasks and a simplified tree view of the database objects in addition to standard functionality such as a T-SQL editor with syntax-highlighting. Like SQL Express, XM will also be freely downloadable and redistributable.
 
We expect to ship the first preview release of XM in time for Yukon Beta 3 but we are making every effort to provide this tool to customers earlier in the fall. Customers have also expressed an interest in more frequent product releases so we are planning to ship additional preview releases with updates to XM every 6 – 12 weeks. Our hope is this increased ship frequency will allow us to respond to customer requests more quickly.
 
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what features you would like to see in XM and how frequent you would like to have access to updates to the tool. If you’re interested in additional information, I will be updating this blog periodically with the latest status on XM.
 
I hope you’ve found this information useful and I look forward to writing to you again.
 
Thanks for all your time,
 
Eric Feng
Program Manager for SQL Server Express

Comments (41)

  1. Alex Kazovic says:

    One thing I a curious about; where does MS Access fit in with all this? E.g. will it now use SQL Server Express rather than Jet?

  2. You’re a moron Sam. You too Robert. SQL Express Manager hasn’t been released yet, SQL Express has. SQL Express Manager will be here in a few weeks.

  3. Sam Gentile says:

    Isn’t that pleasant? Is that the way you have all your discussions Paul? Do you know who I am? Maybe INETA are morons too for putting me on their speaker’s bureau. Maybe Microsoft are morons for making me an MVP.

    >SQL Express Manager hasn’t been released yet, SQL Express has. SQL Express Manager will be here in a few weeks.

    Thats the point idiot. They shouldn’t have released SQL Express without the manager. Its a waste. Learn how to read.

  4. Corey Thomas [MS], Product Manager SQL Server Expr says:

    It’s a valid point that tools make the database much more useful. We decided to release a technical preview of SQL Express for three main reasons.

    1. We wanted to get as much feedback as possible on the database engine to ensure that we could get any necessary fixes into the final RTM product.

    2. Our customers & partners that use MSDE (which doesn’t have tools) gave us feedback that they wanted a version that they could test and examine as soon as possible

    3. We’ve done lots of integration work with Visual Studio to make developing data driven application with SQL Express easier. We wanted to offer an option for users that wanted to begin examining these features now.

    We know that tools are hugely important and we are working hard to get a preview version of the tools out as soon as possible. Thanks for you patience and we hope that you’ll continue to provide feedback.

    Thanks, Corey

  5. Sam Gentile says:

    Thanks Corey for listening to my feedback (and fustration) on behalf of users trying to use it. Your rationale makes sense with this explanation and the fact that the tools are coming out soon. Thanks again.

  6. Slavo Furman says:

    >>We expect to ship the first preview release of XM in time for Yukon Beta 3<<

    I hope yo mean "Yukon Beta2", or do we have wait to end of the year?

    Slavo.

  7. Euan Garden says:

    Slavo,

    We are comitted to XM being part of B3, ie in the box/download, but we are also working hard to try and get intermediate builds out before then as we realise how important it is.

    Our current goal is to release the first version of XM in August.

    -Euan Garden

    Product Unit Manager

    SQL Server Tools

  8. Slavo Furman says:

    Thanks for response, Euan.

    Admin GUI (XM) is definitely important.

    More publicity with regards to SMO is very important as well.

    Slavo.

  9. As I pointed out, I understand this is a Beta version. I also pointed to tools to use in the meantime. This seemed to prove useful to a few people.

  10. Euan Garden says:

    Slavo,

    What more do you want on SMO? I am working on some samples right now.

    -Euan Garden

    Product Unit Manager

    SQL Server Tools

  11. Slavo Furman says:

    Euan Garden wrote:

    >>What more do you want on SMO?<<

    Well, I just mean that such techology as SMO deserves more publicity, deserves to be more known.

    What info one can find about SMO? Well, I’ve seen PDC presentation from last year (Bruce Prang& Ovidiu Craciun, based on Beta1 bits), TechEd’2004 presentation (Michiel Wories, based on Beta2 bits), then HOL from PDC and TechEd’2004,…

    Is there something more publicly available?

    I think it will be good to write an article on this to MSDN or to SQL Server web site, and definitely it will be worth to write few examples of how to use SMO from C# code to manipulate with objects in SQL Server 2005 Express and/or SQL Server Beta2 here to this weblog, or to your personall weblog, or to new SMO weblog, …

    Especially scripting support in SMO is imho awesome and go far beyond scripting possibilities in SQLDMO.

    I think many peoples who would be really appreciate this stuff, but they just don’t know that it exists.

    Personally I love to see info how one can use SMO in C# project in VS 2005 Beta1 (is there a need to install/register something in case I do not have Yukon on VS 2005 box? How about redistributing SMO with my app?)

    btw, it is still true that SMO should cover 100% of Yukon functionality, that everything that one can do with Management Studio, one can also do with SMO?

    Thanks,

    Slavo.

  12. SQL Server Express Manager ( XM ) ? Beta 3 ??

  13. SQL Server Express Manager ( XM ) ? Beta 3 ??

  14. I’d add that besides syntax highlighting Intellisense would be especially helpful. Other languages have had it for several versions now, it’s time we stop treating T-SQL like a red-headed step child. Furthermore, now that you can write SPs in any CLR language and that XQuery support has been introduced, I think a lot of developers would benefit from Intellisense. Check out http://www.aquadata.com to see a pretty darn good (free) implementation of Intellisense for SQL…

  15. Euan Garden says:

    Slavo,

    I think we have all your wishes covered when Beta 2 ships in a couple of weeks. The SMO team have been working hard on samples, docs and information. If you get the B2 bits and you are not happy with the content then feel free to mail me direct or Michiel.

    -Euan Garden

    Product Unit Manager

    SQL Server Tools

  16. Aaron Johal says:

    Is there a problem with using WEb Data Administrator before Express Manager becomes available?

  17. Euan Garden says:

    You will need the version of DMO that comes with express as the DMO version that comes with WebData Admin/SQL2000 does not work with SQL Server 2005 due to the meta data changes.

    We have not tested it but as the COM object interfaces have not changed it should work.

  18. Aaron Johal says:

    Thanks Euan, I have not hit any problems with it yet. It seems to work fine. If I come across any Issues I will post.

  19. Michael Gravill says:

    Will XM provide a way to schedule backups if there is no SQLAgent? The idea of relying on end-users to do manual backups fills me with horror!

    Will there be any way to import/export data if there is no DTS?

  20. Euan Garden says:

    XM will be able to generate Backups that work via the OS Scheduler.

    You will still be able to import and export text data via BCP and Bulk Insert.

    -Euan Garden

    Product Unit Manager

    SQL Server Tools

  21. Quick question. How does one go about adding secondary windows account logins to sql express? I installed c#/sql express using my local machine’s admin account, but actually run it under my real account ( which is *not* an admin ). This means that I can’t touch anything having to do with sqlexpress from within the new vs.net. I executed the sp_grantlogin stored proc ( when running as admin ), and I can now finally connect to the sqlexpress instance from withint vs’s Database Explorer. However, I can’t create a database. I guess *I could* do all this crap from the admin account, but that’s a big pain in the ass. Until XM arrives, and suggestions?

  22. basem says:

    Is XM released yet? SQL express is usless without a ui

  23. bozo says:

    Can u connect to SSE from MS Access to make a data project like with sql 2000? Thanks

  24. tom says:

    Meanwhile, can we use MS Access as the front end, or make database projects (ADB)???

  25. It’s awsome, finaly we got what we wanted!

  26. Darth Vader says:

    Please! Please! Please! release XM NOW!!!

    I beg you, my master.