Good news for Microsoft Technology enthusiasts!
Microsoft now understands that they should open up their products to the developer community in order to sustain in the market. Thanks to the success of the various open source initiatives, this forced Microsoft also, to offer Visual Studio Express and SQL Server 2005 Express for FREE!
What are the Express Editions?
The Express Editions are an expansion of the Visual Studio and SQL Server product line to include lightweight, easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn tools for hobbyists, students, and novice developers who want to build dynamic Windows applications, Web sites, and Web services. The Express products consist of:
Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition, a lightweight tool for building dynamic Web sites and Web services
Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition, Visual C# 2005 Express Edition, Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, and Visual J# 2005 Express Edition, targeted programming tools for students and hobbyists who wish to learn the fundamentals of Windows programming
SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, a database for building data-driven applications