Dear Visual Studio Express community,

 

We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express will be free permanently!

 

Prior to this pricing announcement, Visual Studio Express Editions were promotionally discounted to be free for one year, starting on November 7th, 2005. With this announcement, the promotional discount for Visual Studio Express is now permanent and Express will continue to be free.

 

The key reason for the pricing change was you. You’ve helped make Visual Studio Express a runaway hit, and we’re proud to announce that in the five months since its launch, Express has been downloaded over 5 million times!

 

In addition to announcing that Express is free, we also have some very cool new content with something for everyone including:

 

Microsoft .NET Interface for Lego Mindstorms Starter Kit
The Microsoft .NET interface for Lego Mindstorms enables you to programmatically control Lego Mindstorms directly from Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, or Visual C++ Express. We also have a dedicated sub-page on Coding4Fun on programming Lego Mindstorms with Express.

 

Beta: Skype Wrapper for .NET Starter Kit

The Beta of the Skype Wrapper for .NET Starter Kit is a managed code wrapper with samples that enables to programmatically connect and consume Skype services from Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, or Visual C++ Express.

 

 

MediaShare Messenger Starter Kit
The Media Share Messenger Starter Kit is a fully functioning Visual C++ Express custom chat client that enables you to send instant messages to your friends and even share your music collection with them over a local area network (LAN).

 

 

Annotated Travel Log Starter Kit

The Annotated Travel Log Starter Kit is a fully functioning Visual C++ Express travel planning and tracking application you can use to manage your travel plans & routes, as well as track and record your progress.

 

Beta: Classifieds Site Starter Kit

The Classifieds Site Starter Kit Beta provides a complete, ready to run, fully customizable, Web site for listing and managing classified advertisements with Visual Web Developer Express and SQL Server Express.

 

 

 

Teacher Starter Kit

The Teacher Starter Kit is a rich client application for keeping track of students, course rosters, and assessments or grades using Visual Basic or Visual C# Express.

 

Maker Faire Demo: Dancing4Fun

The Dancing4Fun demo is a homemade version of the popular Dance, Dance, Revolution arcade game using Phidgets touchpad sensors to time your dancing just right.

 

 

 

Maker Faire Demo: MSN Spaces Photo Booth

The MSN Spaces Photo Booth demo shows how you can integrate a pan-and-tilt web cam, and an Xbox 360 controller to dynamically upload pictures to your MSN Spaces Web site.

 

 

 

Maker Faire Demo: Skype Home Automation

The Skype Home Automation extends the Skype Starter Kit to show how you can use an instant messaging application to communicate with a home server for the purposes of automation and monitoring, like checking if the lights are on, or even play your favorite music.

 

 

 

How-To Videos: Windows Forms Controls

These bite-sized 5-15 minute videos that show how to use common Windows Forms controls including the SoundPlayer, FlowLayout, NotifyIcon, Button, and other controls using Visual Basic or Visual C# Express.

 

Video Series: SQL Server 2005 Express for Beginners

This four-hour video series is designed for beginners who are interested in learning the basics of how to create and manage data using SQL Server 2005 Express.

 

Video Series: Learn how to create Rocket Commander

Watch and learn how to create professional looking 3D games like RocketCommander using Managed DirectX and Visual C# Express in this 10-part instructional video series. 

 

Webcast Series: Tools for the Hobbyist Developer
The Tools for the Hobbyist Developer webcast series covers the spectrum of Express content including game development, programming for hardware, database development and more.

 

Meet the Express and Coding4Fun Team at Maker Faire

For those of you in the San Mateo, California area on April 22nd and 23rd, stop on by Maker Faire and say hello to us in person!

 

Made In Express Contest

The Made In Express contest is your chance to shine and win $10,000 in prizes by building a cool, fun project using Visual Studio and SQL Server Express. To enter, just submit your idea.

 

Our thanks again to you, the Visual Studio Express community, for making Express so successful and we hope to continue building great tools and samples to enable the next generation of developers.

 

Happy coding,

- Visual Studio Express & Coding4Fun Team