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 don't understand why so many people are saying "Thank you for doing this!".

    Don't you get it? You are thanking the entity that did the bad thing. It's like getting tricked by a used-car salesman into buying a car that uses fuel that only he sells, and when you beg and beg to let the car run on ordinary gas, and he complies, you thank him. This sounds like prisoners of communism thanking their captors, to be honest.

    Some of you might say "Thank You" is warranted because the product is free. Not so fast. Microsoft induces universities around the world to use Visual Studio Express as a learning tool for programming. The universities have a choice, but some choose Visual Studio. If the professors mandate the use of VS, that means that the time spent on VS cannot be used on, say, GCC. It the student is learning C++, the pure kind, no big deal. But the moment Microsoft pulls a stunt like "Metro only", they are perturbing the playing field significantly. They are basically monopolizing the minds of young people in everywhere, and any educator who tolerates this type of behavior by Microsoft should be ashamed of himself/herself.

    Furthermore, there is a class war going at the very moment inside Microsoft between hard-core native C++ developers, and .NET developers. Essentially, the .NET developers would like to kill C++ and see it die off. They have been trying for years to do this, while native engineers at Microsoft (pun intended) have been fighting them off. At some point, the .NET people realized that one way to kill pure C++ development was to go straight for the jugular - the development environment itself - Visual Studio. So they attacked Visual Studio 8, rewriting some of it in managed code, but the bulk of it was still native. They made far more headway into Visual Studio 2010, however, and the result has been DISASTROUS. Just Google VS2010 followed by any four-letter expletive and you will see what I mean.

    So that is the real reason that Microsoft tried to force "Metro-only" apps. It forces all the so-called pure C++, hard-core native developer hold-outs into jumping onto the .NET bandwagon. Once that happens, they will have finally accomplished their objective.

    Any person who calls himself/herself a real software engineer should not be applauded Microsoft. They should be castigating it for trying to get away with something so morally repulsive.

  • Now if I could just upgrade from Visual Studio 2010 Express. I can't - thanks to those silly OS requirements. Now I will have to install .NET Framework 4.5 and Visual Studio 2012 Express myself on Windows XP SP3.

  • @Le Chaud Lapin:

    I agree with you in that Microsoft should have NOT made VS Express Metro-only and THEN revert that decision. I would also say that this is just one of the huge mistakes they did recently, and that reverting this one mistake is absolutely not enough to restore trust in VS11. For me and my team, VS11 is not even viable without support for XP which is something they didn't revert.

    That said, I would still say "thank you" to Microsoft for reverting this awful decision on VS Express. It's simple, really, positive actions warrant positive feedback and negative actions warrant negative feedback.

  • So, finally whats the deal here? If I download the RC today, will I get the "desktop" application support in it? OR do I have wait for the "Express Final" ?

  • Great news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now i'll do something in metro/WinRT, but because i choose so and not because i have to...

  • I am with Clint (comment page 5): "This is stupid, the whole post is structured like it was a good idea based on community feedback, as opposed to them fixing a stupid mistake that the community pointed out."

    When re-reading the blog post, it seems the post was already authored at the time the new VS strategy was introduced. And by announcing VS Desktop edition now for the fall, they can keep the spotlight on Metro all summer long.


    In my opinion true dialog is different.

  • Please, could you confirm that Windows Desktop includes the creation of Windows forms applications with the the Express Editions ? Is it including the both types of projects for WPF ?

    It would be an excellent piece of news

  • Cannot image you do not add F#! I guess it is time to move my business to use Java and Andriod. At least Oracle and google give a consistent message.

  • Thanks guys. This is awesome news.

  • Without XP support, nothing else matters.  We cannot abandon 30% of our customers.

  • The new VS logo makes me feel uneasy. You could have metroified it in another way...

  • @Le Chaud Lapin

    "Not so fast. Microsoft induces universities around the world to use Visual Studio Express as a learning tool for programming."

    Do You even know about what You are talking? For universities there is MSDNAA and so You can use Visual Studio Ultimate for learning! Express are for freelancers so MS can do with it what he wants.

  • Excellent news! Looking forward to using it. Thanks guys.

  • We need F# to be included!

  • Well done!!

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