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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  • Looks like the post has silently been updated.

    No more

    "Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8 provides tools for Metro style app development. To create desktop apps, you need to use Visual Studio 11 Professional, or higher. In addition, Visual Studio 2010 Express products - Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C++ 2010 Express, and Visual C# 2010 Express - will remain available for free download."


    "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."

    Message is actually the same, words are less direct.

    I can't understand why you do not plan to release an Express version that is able to build desktop apps. That sounds crazy to me. All the open source developers that enjoy building apps for Windows won't magically start creating metro application because your VS11 Express can't build desktop ones.

    What will happen is that people will continue to use 2010 for the eternity, and won't get the benefits of the new version. Sounds like a terrible idea to me, you're doing it wrong (again) with the Windows 8 stuff. Developers used to like your products because the development experience used to be great with Windows. But here you're just punching developers in the face.

    C'mon, release an Express version of VS11 that only targets desktop app.

    One for Metro, one for Windows Phone, one for the web, one for Azure, one for Desktop. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  • Funny, editing this blog post was useless. It's all in the comments already.

    Here's another blog post that reflects how people feel about Windows 8 and Metro, 90% of the comments are negative. blogs.msdn.com/.../creating-the-windows-8-user-experience.aspx

  • It gets even worse. In another vcblog post a Microsoft employee mentions this:  "It is also correct that the Windows 8 SDK does not include compilers.".

    There we go. The only way to write a desktop app is to buy a Professional+ edition. You can't even build desktop apps on the command line without having to pay.

  • +1 for tfiner. Microsoft, there is still time to right the wrong. Although I must admit that I am not very hopeful due to the sh*t that has been poured on us lately.

  • Express edition only for metro apps? This is so wrong...

  • 4 days have passed and there is still no clarification that the whole "no VS Express for the desktop" was just a bad joke?

    You are aware that dropping express edition for the desktop would not drive devs to develop metro style apps aren't you? Let alone that you expect people using Express to be the driving force for Metro-style apps then you have already failed. BTW how does one teach C# now? Instead of console "Hello World" app he makes Metro-style C# app?

  • Here we go again.

    After Microsoft abruptly and without warning abandoned the .NET Compact Framework and Smart Device Extensions in Visual Studio 2010 (I found this out when the project *refused to open and compile*), I had the choice of either keeping Visual Studio 2008 around on my machine forever or rewriting my app, an inventory control/order picking app for a wireless scanning device. I saw the writing on the wall and realized that one day the patches for 2008 would become unstuck, so I spent a few weeks of my own time replacing it with a telnet application, the only other least common denominator.

    Telnet. A protocol that predates my birth. So it has come to this.

    Mix this in with some LINQ to SQL. Add WPF. Remember Composite Application Block? Enterprise Library? Oh yeah, that Workflow rewrite. Add Silverlight. Add rewriting IIS 6 installers to work on IIS 7. Now toss in the abandonment of .NET 4.5 on Server 2K3.

    Why should I write Metro apps? I no longer trust you. The commitment to backwards compatibility that made you famous is gone. "Support" as in "yeah, the old one still works" without active, continued development isn't really much support at all; it is abandonment.

    If I wanted my development platform to be constantly burning, abandoned and unsupported after just a few years, then I would use Apple products because at least with them I would expect it, I would know what I am getting myself into. But that is not why I have paid for and used Microsoft tools for a decade.

    If you want to beat the iPad, go ahead. Metro yourself till you're blue in the face. But don't make me part of this fight. I now feel like I spend more time chasing versions and upgrades and backports, not because the shiny new thing is better, but simply because the shiny new thing is different and my old tools for my old things could stop working any day now. That's not delivering value to the business where I work.

    - Nicholas Piasecki, a disillusioned Microsoft developer

  • So .NET 4.5 won't work on XP or 2003, but because it's an "in-place upgrade", we're not going to get a 4.0 service pack for these systems.

    That means that critical bugs in the framework will never be fixed - eg: connect.microsoft.com/.../wpf-unable-to-add-items-to-an-empty-grouped-and-sorted-collectionview

    Is Microsoft seriously trying to kill off its developer community??! >:(

  • Microsoft doesn't seem realize that such agressiveness and treating the customers/developers as enemies is only going to drag the company down into dirt.

  • I'm pleased to see that Visual Studio is being prepared for Win8 and WP8 launch.I also like that Windows 7 will be supported as well. I hope it will be also available on DreamSpark.

  • There's a uservoice for Desktop in C++ Express 11 - please vote


  • The more I hear, the less interested I am in upgrading.

    First there is the horrible new UI, that is beyond ugly, and a major step backwards in usability.

    Now you're screwing over desktop developers.

    These are some really horrible decisions, spitting in the faces of your customers.  You realize that, right?

  • The new wording (leaving out mentioning of desktop requiring Professional) is cryptic and meaningless. All it's saying is that there is no specialized tooling (e.g. Metro) in VC10 which we all know already.  It doesn't say anything about what the new tools will or will not include.  Why replace this with wording that doesn't mean anything at all.  

    Why not just remove the text entirely, or leave it in if it's really true.  Does removing the meaningful text indicate some sort of reversal, or reconsideration?  Why communicate all these tidbits in the form of PR-like news releases, and then let the community speculate on what it all means without any clarification?  

  • There is no reason for me to upgrade the express edition to 11. What am I going to use metro style apps for anyway. I guess I will be using Sharp Develop which is where I started before using the express editions.

  • People, please let Stephen Teixeira know what you think: stevetei@microsoft.com

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