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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  • No, I don't suggest emailing Microsoft employees directly - these are very busy people, and any rudeness/rants will just be ignored.   I would suggest using uservoice/connect/vcblog comments, etc.  

  • I installed Windows 8 Customer Preview in a virtual machine. This crap is just unusable. The metro part is so damn painful to use. The desktop is metro frames around traditional colorful 3D icons. Looks so damn bad. Right now I'm writing this post using the metro IE - horrible. Why would anyone want to write apps for this horrible framework or even use these apps. sadkjbkfjsdfasdjfasdfadsgsdgadsgdfgadfgadfgdf ALL CAPS HOLY FFKKKKK

  • I fully agree with what Nicholas Piasecki posted.

    I don't trust Microsoft's new technologies anymore.

    There is opportunity costs to learning a new technology or API.  With the time spent learning I could be working and making $$$.  Or I could be getting better at other established technologies or APIs.  

    So learning a new system is an investment.  The return on investment is when I get to use it on a job.  (I get to make money with it.)

    I don't care how much you try to ram Win RT and Metro down my throat.  I will not be moving to a system that is only supported on an unreleased Operating System.

    Especially when I see how willing you are to leave behind operating systems that have SIGNIFICANT usage in the market place.

    When you move a technology or API off active development then very few companies want to start new projects using that technology.  That makes my "investment" in that technology useless.  In essence it is like you bankrupt that tech (as far as my investment is concerned).

    For example, I was a smart device (Windows Mobile) developer.  When you left that behind, all my investment in that tech was lost.

    I also went to the trouble of learning the ins and outs of Linq-to-SQL.  That knowledge is also useless.

    Happily I was able to avoid learning much Silverlight.  But I am a WPF Developer now and I am worried about my skills being rendered useless there.

    If I was investing money in companies, I would be leery of an owner that had previously bankrupted and caused me to loose money.  If the owner had done it 3-4 times...  

    Well, I stop investing.

  • The decision to make VS Express 2011 only support Metro-apps is extremely disappointing and certainly doesn't make me want to buy the Professional edition. It doesn't even seem too likely I will be upgrading to Windows 8 in any case, there doesn't seem to be any point.

  • I agree with many of these posts. As about the only professor at our large university pushing some experience with Microsoft and Visual Studio I am getting weary of trying to keep up with the latest. Particularly, when the latest does not seem to be any better, just different and the fad of the day. I for one have never (absolutely never) cared about the "user experience" either as a developer or a user. Windows XP look and feel was just fine.

    I guess I am going to have to brush up on my Makefiles for C++ and Eclipse for Java.

  • Developing on Microsoft OS since MS-DOS 3.3, still using VS 2008 and approved strategic shift to Java+Linux in our company. It's bad enough Microsoft charges so much for server OS, but given that it seems majority of time now invested into making GUI grey and dull I have no confidence in investing our time and money into new fud that has no chance of success.

    Somebody at Microsoft must have forgotten that not only people actually pay money for VS, but far more importantly invest time and money to create software for your platform that kept you in business in the last 30 years.

    Will Microsoft still be here in 10 years? No, because those who won't switch to Mac/Linux will still be using Windows 7.

  • VS 2011 is going to be a biggest failure with dows 8. You can't force developers to code in Metro. Metro sucks.

  • Let me share a secret with you, Microsoft: We  Windows developers are the ones that supposedly will write Metro apps. You are f**king us so hard right now that many will be pissed at you and Metro. You don't want that.

  • MS this is really disappointing about the express editions. I wish you knew how many students (without access to academic MSDN packages) especially in high schools use the vs express editions to learn how to program. Now you have just relegated them to just web and Metro.

    Even though I think Metro is brilliant on my Windows Phone, I think it is still not proper on a mouse & keyboard desktop (even with touch) so forcing kiddies and older folks new to .net programming to only use metro on the free express editions is so wrong in so many ways. Sure one can use VS 2010 express editions but given how you silently gave Silverlight (and other nice ms techs) the boot we might just wake up on day and be unable to get a registration code for the express editions but instead get a nice link to buy VS11 Pro.

    I was so happy with VS11 before when I saw TFS Express now I can see there is a price for everything. It's so absurd that you are connecting the express editions to Windows 8, have more faith in you own OS and maybe we devs can follow but forcing this down our throats is not right. If I want to work in a walled garden I will go to Apple.  

    As much as you want to kill XP the fact is that so many businesses still use it and have lots of old apps connected to it. All you have just managed to do is tell devs working on XP dependent apps that they should just ignore VS11 and stick to VS 2010 for the foreseeable future. I’m not working on anything  XP related but I can imagine MS would want me to go in front of a client with XP and tell them ‘sorry my shiny new dev tools don’t like windows XP so upgrade now or I won’t work for you’ nope not going to happen. For the folks in an XP environment I feel for you.

    PS: I pray the guy who made this decision doesn’t have his sights on SQL Express or MS Expression or we might end up with SQL Express CALs and MS ‘Expression Metro’.

  • So if I need to support XP for legacy customers, I will need VS2010 Pro and have no reason for VS11? MS did something similar for embedded where you require VS2005/2008 professional to develop for WinMobile 6, but you can no longer buy licences for these compilers.  Guess we are meant to upgrade the device so can use VS2010 to develop, but with WinMobile running on an industrial device this just isnt possible.   I dont have a problem with phasing out old stuff, but business need to keep running stuff for years in industrial environments.  Trying to juggle different compilers on same code base is not fun.

    Our solution for WinMobile problem was to develop for iPad/browser and give them to customers, not having XP in VS2011 will pretty much start this trend for our Desktop apps too

  • It is still BUTTUGLY not to mention less usable than 2010, add to all that increased prices, Metro forced down our throats etc etc etc.

    Shame on you microsoft. You used to be with it, not any more. I guess balmer will come prancing onto the stage shouting Dollarbills, Dollarbills Dollarbills.

  • Why so may BAD BAD decisions at the same time at Microsoft? Is there someone deliberately sabotaging the company?

  • Not supporting desktop in Express Editions and not supporting .NET 4.5 on XP are horrible decisions. And they were obviously not made because of technical reasons, both would very well be possible without problems. This was only decided to push XP out of market even before official end of support, and to push Metro into market - on the backs of developers. We will now now seem to be the ones responsible for not supporting XP anymore or not making a desktop version of our applications, while in reality Microsoft is responsible for that by killing tool support.

    Very very bad and disappointing stuff!

  • When VS11 Developer Preview was released, in terms of C++11 conformance Clang was pretty much the same as VS11. As of now Clang left even GCC behind and it seems to have implemented ~95% of C++11.

    What's going on?

    a) Is Microsoft moving extremly slow with improving the compiler?

    b) Does Clang have a huge developer base?

  • If VS11 was a good IDE, it wouldn't be a big problem that there is no usable Express Edition. But because it actually is no good IDE (for native developers; poor C++11 compiler, no XP support, terrible UI), you will probably loose 95% of the Express users and a lot of users of the other editions (which are more important for you, because this users pay for it).

    You could provide a good IDE. Then you would have more paying customers.

    Or provide a cheap IDE. Then you would have more users (-> more software running on Windows).

    Or provide a good _and_ cheap IDE. Then you'll have more paying customers _and_ a lot of happy users. Happy users would btw. mean less negative feedback in your blogs. Maybe you have noticed, that feedback was very good and friendly when you published the first information about new VS (About performance. About your first changes to UI. About C++11). But when you started to cripple the IDE (UI, Express Edition, XP), it turned into negative.

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