Redmon, Wash. — April 19, 2006 — At this weekend's Maker Faire, Microsoft Corp. will display how a variety of innovative companies are using its now-free Visual Studio® 2005 Express editions to bring the power of code to the growing community of 18 million recreational and hobbyist developers. Since the launch of the Visual Studio and SQL Server™ Express editions on Nov. 7, 2005, a strong community has built up around the products and the various editions have been downloaded more than 5 million times. Much of this excitement is due in part to the diverse range of partners that have chosen to take advantage of the Visual Studio Express editions to empower a wide range of software enthusiast communities and give them the resources to customize their experiences.

Microsoft also released new learning content on the MSDN Coding4Fun Web site, providing tools and resources for the community to get up and running quickly. The Visual Studio 2005 Express editions now join the SQL Server 2005 Express editions as a no-cost offering within the Microsoft application platform.

"Software has the potential to transform everyday lives. By making the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions available free of charge, we're putting the power of programming into the hands of an exploding community of recreational programmers," said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. "This community has asked for it, and we are excited to provide it."

Coupled with Microsoft SQL Server Express, the Visual Studio Express editions provide a tool that meets the needs of a wide range of software enthusiasts, including beginning Windows® developers, hobbyist Web developers, amateur game developers and even hardware developers. All the editions of Visual Studio Express will be offered as free downloads: Visual Web Developer™ Express, Visual Basic® Express, Visual C#® Express, Visual C++® Express and Visual J#® Express.

The Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express editions will be on display for the growing hobbyist community at this weekend's Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif. Put on by O'Reilly Media Inc.'s Make Magazine, Maker Faire is a family-friendly event designed to celebrate science and technology projects and the do-it-yourself mindset.

A Sprouting Ecosystem for Express Empowers WideRange of Software Enthusiasts

The LEGO Group, eBay® and Phidgets USA are a few examples of the types of companies that have chosen to support the Visual Studio Express editions to bring the power of code to a growing community on software enthusiasts. Working in conjunction with LEGO, Microsoft created an application that enables the robotics community to use Visual Studio Express to program their LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to do specific commands, such as maneuvering around obstacles, and control them from their computer keyboard or mouse. Hardware developers can use Visual Studio Express editions and the interface kits and other electronic components provided by Phidgets USA to build a wide array of electrical gadgets and robots all controlled with software.

"Phidgets bridges the world of hardware tinkering and computer programming by providing components for interacting with electronic devices that developers can control from their desktop," said Matt Trossen, president of Phidgets USA (soon to be Trossen Robotics). "As a no-cost, easy-to-use offering, the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions provide an ideal development environment for creating these applications and helping our customers bring their hardware projects to life."

eBay is also helping empower its entrepreneurial developer community by providing a Visual Web Developer Express starter kit, which includes pre-built functionality and templates to allow developers to tap into eBay Web services to quickly and easily build eBay-enabled applications.

Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express on Display at Maker Faire

At this weekend's Maker Faire, show attendees can experience firsthand the types of projects they can build with Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express, including the .NET Interface for LEGO MINDSTORMS, an application that simulates a "Dance Dance Revolution" arcade game, and another that enables remote home automation such as monitoring your home's temperature using instant message commands. They will also be the first to experience some of the new learning content available to help people get started, including seven new starter kits and downloadable demos on Coding4Fun.

Those who decide to test out the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions will have the opportunity to submit their projects to Microsoft's Made in Express Contest, which was designed to highlight cool people doing cool things with the Visual Studio and SQL Server Express products. Attendees can also expect to experiment with the new Ultra-Mobile PC and a Portable Media Center device, as well as watch the Finalizer BattleBot in action.

Availability and Additional Information

The Visual Studio 2005 Express editions are available for download today from MSDN at msdn.microsoft.com/express. More information on Maker Faire and the new learning content available to get developers started can be found on Microsoft's Coding4Fun Web site at msdn.microsoft.com/coding4fun. Developers can submit their applications to the Made in Express Contest via the following link: www.madeinexpresscontest.com. Additional details on what to expect at Maker Faire can be found by visiting makezine.com/faire.