A look ahead at the Visual Studio 11 product lineup and platform support

A look ahead at the Visual Studio 11 product lineup and platform support

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Today, we want to share the final product lineup and specifications you can expect to see for the next release of Visual Studio. This also includes system requirements and platform you can develop for with Visual Studio 11.

Product Lineup

In addition to the product line up announced previously we will also be releasing Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone as part the Visual Studio family. Visual Studio 11 Express products are designed to be simple and easy for building modern applications on the latest Microsoft platforms, including Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and for the Web. Express products support multiple languages, specific to each platform. For example, the Express edition for Windows 8 allows developers to use C#, Visual Basic, C++ and JavaScript. It also provides best-in-class tools for creating Metro style apps for Windows 8, including tools such as Blend, app profiling, unit testing and more. To see the full product line up, please visit the Visual Studio product website.

If you would like to use a language specific Express edition (C# Express, Visual Basic Express, or C++ Express) without specialized tooling for the latest platforms, you can use the Visual Studio 2010 Express editions, which will continue to be available as free downloads.

A common question that we’ve received since the Visual Studio 11 Beta release is related to tooling support for Windows Phone and Windows Azure. To make sure customers have the latest tools with the latest platform offering we’ll be releasing Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone with the next release of Windows Phone. Similarly, Windows Azure tooling will be available in conjunction with the next Windows Azure update. Until then, you can continue to use Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone to create Windows Phone apps, and Windows Azure SDK for .NET (with Visual Studio 2010) to create Windows Azure cloud services.

Finally, LightSwitch, which launched last year as an out-of-band release, is now officially part of the Visual Studio 11 core product family. LightSwitch features will be available through Visual Studio 11 Professional, Premium, and Ultimate editions. For more information, please visit the LightSwitch team blog.

System Requirements

As you have seen in our earlier series on Visual Studio 11 performance, we’ve made some significant investments in performance this release. We are excited about the feedback we’ve received so far and have been working to make the experience even better for RC. We are happy to announce that Visual Studio 11 hardware requirements will be the same as Visual Studio 2010’s. If you are working now with Visual Studio 2010 you can enjoy the new performance improvements in Visual Studio 11 without any additional hardware investment.

Visual Studio 11 leverages core capabilities that are only present in the latest versions of Windows. For this reason Visual Studio 11 requires Windows 7 or higher to run.

Platform Targeting Support

To help you take advantage of the latest features, the default target for applications created with Visual Studio 11 will be set to .NET Framework 4.5 (for managed apps) and the VC11 toolset (for native apps). Both will allow your apps to run on Windows Vista and higher. However, if your app needs to run on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you can still use multi-targeting to make sure your application will run on those platforms too.

Managed developers can target your new or existing applications to “.NET Framework 4” or the “.NET Framework 4 Client Profile”, both of which have the ability to run on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. (This will also work for earlier versions of the .NET Framework, such as .NET 2.0, .NET 3.0 and .NET 3.5.) Note that when you update your app to target .NET Framework 4, you can continue using the new Async features by installing the Async Targeting Pack for Visual Studio 11. Tooling innovations such as new designers for desktop applications, enhanced support for HTML5, JavaScript and advanced tools like Page Inspector for web development all work for .NET Framework 4. New tools for quality enablement (such as Exploratory Testing) or team collaboration (such as agile planning, Intellitrace in production or stakeholder feedback) are all available for.NET Framework 4 as well. You can find additional information on managed multi-targeting on MSDN.

C++ developers can also use the multi-targeting capability included in Visual Studio 11 to continue using the compilers and libraries included in Visual Studio 2010 to target Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Multi-targeting for C++ applications currently requires a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010. Separately, we are evaluating options for C++ that would enable developers to directly target XP without requiring a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010 and intend to deliver this update post-RTM. You can find more information on C++ multi-targeting here.

For details on today’s announcement visit the Visual Studio 11 website.

The Visual Studio Team

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  • Mirosoft has failed so many times in the mobile space. Windows CE, Windows Mobile (both only failed on the consumer side of things), windows phone 7 are just the big ones.

    MS has realized that they can't really compete with Apple's integrated OS and hardware. So the are doing the next best thing (in their minds), that is make all developers almost have to use Metro and Win RT.

    I imagine it will die out in a few years (like silverlight). I just got to find a way past it until MS dumps it (like they did Windows CE, Windows Mobile, windows Phone and Silverlight).

  • Mirosoft has failed so many times in the mobile space. Windows CE, Windows Mobile (both only failed on the consumer side of things), windows phone 7 are just the big ones.

    MS has realized that they can't really compete with Apple's integrated OS and hardware. So the are doing the next best thing (in their minds), that is make all developers almost have to use Metro and Win RT.

    I imagine it will die out in a few years (like silverlight). I just got to find a way past it until MS dumps it (like they did Windows CE, Windows Mobile, windows Phone and Silverlight).

  • With your decision to remove support for the desktop from the express versions you just lost one possible customer.

    No way I am going to upgrade to Windows 8, if I have to take Metro down my throat and cannot make use of C++11 to target desktop applications.

    No C99 support, C++/CX used instead of proper C++11 capabilities, not being able to target XP out of the box and now forced to keep using Visual Studio 2010 Express if I want to target the desktop.

    Time to move to a multiplatform GUI toolkit, with a compiler toolchain from the competition.

  • I've created an analysis of the direction Visual Studio 11 (2012) has taken. To do that I also had to analyse the direction of Windows 8.

    1. The failure of Windows 8

    For obvious reasons Windows 8 is going to be an extreme failure - those who are familiar with what Windows 8 has to offer will understand why that is so. The marketing around Windows 8 claims that the center of activities are people - not files or documents. This means that Windows 8's target audience are people who don't have to get any work done. However, Microsoft made a logic error here. Those people who only spend their time doing online-socializing, sit on Facebook all day already - and they're probably perfectly happy with it. They are not going to buy an operating system that attemps to be a social network. Furthermore the Metro UI is horrible, it looks like a cheap website. The examples of Metro start screens look as if they were websites of a tourism agency or a support website for women with mid-life crisis. It's quite likely that Microsoft itself has already realized that Windows 8 is a mistake.

    2. Visual Studio 11 (2012)

    Microsoft has realized that Windows 8 is a mistake and they're extremely scared that it will indeed fail. As a last resort they're trying to force developers to build Metro apps.

    2.1 The measures taken by Microsoft to force developers to write Metro apps:

    a) The express editions of Visual Studio will only support writing Metro apps.

    b) To write desktop apps you have to pay.

    c) VC++11 can't be used to target Windows XP.

    d) C# 5.0 and .NET 4.5 can't be used to target Windows XP.

    2.2 Why these measures are useless:

    a) Any developer who writes software that actually does something useful, will write desktop apps and not Metro apps. Let's recall that the target audience of Windows 8 are people who don't do anything useful - this means that there's no reason for a Metro app to be useful.

    b) Windows 8 is going to be a failure and will be used by very few people. This means that any developer who is interested in making profit won't write Metro apps because the userbase would be just too small.

    c) Those who buy Visual Studio Professional or higher clearly intend to write desktop apps and not Metro apps. After all the main benefit of using Professional or higher is being able to write desktop apps.

    d) Since the free Express edition of Visual Studio only supports writing Metro apps, Microsoft hopes that those developers who don't want to buy Visual Studio will start writing Metro apps. That's another big logic error made by Microsoft. To write Metro apps you need Windows 8 unless Microsoft comes up with a Metro emulator. Any developer who won't pay for Visual Studio most certainly won't pay for the useless Windows 8. This means that no one will write Metro apps.

    2.3 Why no one will buy Visual Studio:

    The only reason to buy Visual Studio is the benefit of being able to write desktop apps. However it's impossible to target Windows XP. Since Windows XP's market share is still over 30% it would be a big financial mistake to to not target XP. This makes the Professional and higher editions totally unusable.

    The C++ crowd is extremely unhappy, but there are other compilers that are able to target Windows XP and have far better C++11 support.

    The .NET crowd won't be unhappy, .NET 4.0 has enough to offer. The minimal additions in C# 5.0 and .NET 4.5 won't make anyone want to drop Windows XP.

  • Microsoft enetring into crazy trajectory:

    Windows 8.

    There is no need to create any Metro UI. All concepts from Metro like living tiles/icons, grouping tiles/icons, start screen scrolling, code contracts and others, can be implemented nicely into traditional desktop UI. their statement 'chrome takes too much space', does not make sense. When you maximize your app, then you lose only sone lines on the top. When app is in the window, chrome is useful for scaling, and still does not take too much space.

    Another statement 'Metro app must be full screen, because we can terminate and hibernate other apps, to save system resources and energy' is aleso illogical. Even content-consumers need several applications running at the same time, and switch beetewn them comfortable using taskbar. Even if RAM if free from app data, still consumes energy.

    MS statements about Metro are illogical from technical / usability point of view. What MS really want from Metro, is complete control over installed  software, to increase their monopoly and profits.

    Visual Studio 11.

    There is not secret, that this VS11 release does not bring really anything new. VB, C#, NET 4.5 are very little improved over its previous versions. Very few devs will be interested in paying hundreds of dollars, just for ability co create Metro apps, at the same being blocked form using these smal improvements to create XP apps.

    Dropping Silverlight from Metro, switch to HTML5.

    Sliverlight is still very good for creating business apps. HTML5 is just markups for painting UI. Writing serious business logic code in JavaScript is crazy. There are dozens separate libraries like jquery that may help, but trying to integrate these dispersed incompatibile tools into sigle well designed solution, may be nightmare.

    Overall, dark times are approaching, with MS new philosophy.

  • We still have customers using XP (and even 2000), often in embedded situations.

    There is no good reason not to support these Operating systems, other than trying to force people who cannot upgrade their OS to upgrade their OS.

    #fail (yet again!)

  • @Chris: "For obvious reasons Windows 8 is going to be an extreme failure"

    Will people run out to upgrade to Windows 8?  I doubt it.  It will, however, ship on all new computers.  This will create an installed base in the millions, even if Microsoft doesn't sell a single upgrade.

    @Chris: "What MS really want from Metro, is complete control over installed software, to increase their monopoly and profits."

    I agree 100% that complete control is a key objective of Metro.  I'm not sure I agree on the motive.  Sadly, many people are quite willing, even eager, to trade liberty for security.  Apple's success proves it.  Microsoft is trying to create a walled garden with Metro because that's what many customers want.  There's no way they could do that with Win32.

  • Win RT will fail just like every other mobile plan MS has had. I just hope it does this quickly so MS will stop trying to ram it down my throut.

    Ms keeps redoing the same thing in the mobile space yet they almost act supprised when it fails.

    MS, please don't try and force us to jump on the sinking Win Rt ship.

    Oh and it was kind of cowardly to post this announcement Friday at 1:00 am.

  • So there is no reason to upgrade to 8/VS11, unless you're willing to write Metro apps... Is there some kind of revolution going on inside MS? Let's force express developers to write Metro stuff, and commercial devs write win8-only desktop apps to force users to upgrade to 8. Problem, developres? :D

  • Please vote for adding Windows XP support for .NET 4.5 on uservoice:


  • This may be a bit off topic, but it seems to be the best place to get an answer...

    With Aero gone in Win8, what's going to happen with all the applications that extends the glass into the frame?

    How will that look? Will they just get a nice big blob of white instead?

  • Very disappointed with this decision. Fingers crossed that you will see the light and allow VS11 to target XP - Win8 using the new tools (improved C++11 compliance et al.)...

  • Too complicated, you are not helping us with a multitude of SKUs, it's only a marketing thing and you should focus on the needs of developers.

    Point in case: Express for Windows Phone AND Express C# AND Web Developer Express ... a Windows Phone developer should be able to: a) create WinPhone app b) create C# libraires and c) create web app (API). Just offer Visual Studio Express as a SKU just below Visual Studio Professional.

    Or better yet, make Visual Studio Profession the free SKU, you make loads of money on Team Server and on Ultimate SKUs, and giving away tools for free will add to the bottom line for Windows 8, Windows Server and Windows Phone. After all, 98% of Visual Studio developers is targeting your platform anyway...

  • @PleaseFixYourBugs I was trying to be positive, and posting what I hope they actually meant, to see if it would actually get a response either confirming or correcting their statement.  I guess that was too much of a stretch.

  • No desktop support for Express editions?

    EXTREMELY disappointing. I have VS 2010 Pro and was really looking forward to upgrading to the new edition, but I'll be passing on it now out of principle.

    This will be the day when Microsoft officially lost its developer cred. You've abandoned us, and we won't take that lightly.

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