Intended audience
: Application developers who are not familiar with Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) yet need more than what the filesystem offers.

If your applications require a more complex storage solution than directly reading and writing to a file, consider one of the editions of SQL Server. The links below describe the editions and how to install them. Other links describe simple database administration tasks that may be just enough to serve your current needs.

SQL Server Express

If you are not sure which features you need and want to begin developing with SQL Server immediately, you can start by installing SQL Server Express. This is a free edition that can be seamlessly upgraded to other editions if you discover that you need more features. If you are unfamiliar with SQL Server Express, or databases in general, a series of video tutorials on beginning development with SQL Server Express can be found at SQL Videos: SQL Server 2005 Express for Beginners on There is also a recently launched blog and video series that focuses on the new SQL Server user at

SQL Server

SQL Server is a RDBMS that provides a dedicated, robust storage solution that you can easily incorporate into your application. If you start out with the Express edition, you may later want to move to a more powerful storage solution that includes structured storage, fast search and retrieve, transactional reads and writes, as well as specialized functionality such as report generation, data analysis, or support for specialized data types such as geographic data.

SQL Server Editions and Features

Before you install SQL Server, make sure you understand the features your application needs. Some SQL Server features are available only with specific editions. You may also need other software, like language-specific SQL Server drivers.


SQL Server 2014

Web Platform Installer

In SQL Server 2014, you can perform a basic installation of the Express edition using the Web Platform Installer (WPI). (For more information, see the Web Platform Installer Microsoft site.) This method requires minimal user input, detects and installs any missing prerequisites, and allows you to install additional components such as Internet Information Services (IIS).

To install SQL Server Express using WPI, launch the Web Platform Installer and select the Database option from the Web Platform tab. You can install additional options such as the Management Studio or the SQL Server Driver for PHP by selecting Customize.

Database Administration

The following external pages give overviews of SQL Server database administration.

If you are familiar with Windows PowerShell, the following external articles briefly discuss using PowerShell to work with SQL Server 2008.

SQL Development


See Also


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