I saw Dan Jones’ posting that the SQL Server 2008 July CTP (aka CTP4) was available on the Connect website. This one has some good things in it (like the new date/time datatypes as well as the hierarchyid data type) that should keep me busy for a while. There’s much more new stuff than that, but the connect website has also the detalis.

One thing that is included that isn’t intuatively obvious is ADO.NET client support. The Visual Studio Orcas Beta 2 release contained a new version (well, its still called version 2.0.50727, hmmm…) of System.Data.dll with support for the new date/time data types and also for table-valued parameters. The only problem was that it didn’t even *connect* to CTP3 (there was a “network protocol” error). But it connects to the July CTP just fine. One things that not working in Orcas Beta 2 is SQLCLR projects against a SQL Server 2008 database, but typing CREATE ASSEMBLY is a small price to pay.

The new OLE DB provider and ODBC driver have been in place in the last CTP, but this is the first I’ve seen of .NET client functionality.

There are two items (listed in the readme file) that will not be in the SQL Server 2008 release. One is SQL Server Notification Services, which made its first appearence as an web release add-in to SQL Server 2000. Its not shipping in SQL Server 2008, and (some/most of) its functionality will eventually appear in Reporting Services. Another (removed from the installer) is a less-well known add-in that also debuted as a web release, SQLXML 4.0 (NOT to be confused with the XML data type, which is alive and well and has new xsd:date etc support). This used to be known as the SQLXML Web Release (V1,V2,V3) for SQL Server 2000 and SQLXML 4.0 (mostly) shipped “in the box” in SQL Server 2005. Some of its functionality was superceded by native XML and Web Services support in SQL Server 2005. It will be removed from the installer and shipped as a separate component instead, like all versions previous to version 4.0 were.