Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

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With Visual Studio 2012, we strive to provide the best development experience across all Microsoft platforms. This includes enabling developers to bring to life the richness of Windows desktop applications - whether you are learning to build your first app or whether you’ve been developing on Microsoft platforms for many years.

A few weeks ago, we shared our plans for the Express editions of Visual Studio 2012. As we've worked to deliver the best experience with Visual Studio for our platforms with Windows 8, Windows Phone, and for Web and Windows Azure, we heard from our community that developers want to have for Windows desktop development the same great experience and access to the latest Visual Studio 2012 features at the Express level.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we will add Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop to the Visual Studio 2012 family. This will bring to the Visual Studio Express family significant new capabilities that we’ve made available in Visual Studio 2012 for building great desktop applications.

Adhering to the core principles we’ve set for our Express products, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop will provide a simple, end-to-end development experience for developing Windows desktop applications targeted to run on all versions of Windows supported by Visual Studio 2012. With this new Express edition, developers will be able to use C++, C#, or Visual Basic to create Windows desktop and console applications.  Developers will also get access to new advances available across the Express family in Visual Studio 2012, such as the latest compilers and programming language tools, integrated unit testing, and the ability for small development teams to collaborate via Team Explorer and TFS Express.

Planned for release in the fall, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop will provide a great learning environment for students and other new developers getting started.  It will enable a friction-free solution for existing developers to bring their desktop apps forward with the latest toolsets.  And it will enable developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows.

Desktop development has always been a core part of Windows. With Visual Studio 2012, we continue to extend those desktop development capabilities and provide a great development experience for developers building desktop applications.



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  • I'm glad this decision was made.  @Joe - as for why separate products?  I think it makes sense.  If you are downloading express as a web dev, you don't want the desktop stuff in there and visa versa.  Download just the dev platform you need.  Keeps it simpler for the new people just learning the platform.

  • If there was a rating button on this blog, this post would get all stars!

  • This is very good news indeed. Now we need to get a VS2010 theme option and we'll be back in business. Go over and vote for it here:  and also comment here:

  • Given you state you listen to the community I assume there will be an announcement soon that you are going back on your decision to remove XP support for desktop applications written using VS2012?

  • This is huge - I want to thank Microsoft for this, what a reversal, such a great decision.

  • Alastair: +1. One can dream...

  • Thank you very much! This means a lot to me and other people.

  • hallelujah

  • Fantastic news.  Very good to hear.

  • Thanks.

  • A boneheaded decision was reversed! whew. One step back from the brink.  

    Here, let me give you 5 stars: * * * * *

  • Good. I will not go on saying how great this is because this should have been done this way in the first place. I am beginning to suspect that you do these things on purpose. First the design then the lack of express features so you can distract our attention from other problems.

    I would like to see simplified SKUs. Please combine Web and Azure in one Express edition and Desktop and Metro (even WP) in another. They are so similar so why create all the confusion?

  • Thanks for VS2012 Express for the desktop.  But.... there's never an apology or an admission that you're wrong from you guys is there?  

  • Really a great news. I thank you.

  • Who cares if there's an apology?  They fixed the mistake; that's all that matters.  

    Now if only the Windows team listened to feedback.  Windows 8 is broken and Sinofsky's team refuses to acknowledge there are serious problems with it.

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