Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop is Here

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop is Here

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A few months ago, Soma announced plans for a Visual Studio Express 2012 edition for Windows Desktop. Today, we are happy to share that this new Express product is available for download. (You can find the system requirements and download details here.) This post is written by Jennifer Leaf, one of the program managers working on the new product.

It would be impossible to list every feature in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop. However, in this post I want to tell you about some of the new tools and capabilities in the product that have not been available in any other Express products in the past. I’d also like to answer some of the questions you’ve been asking about what we’re including in this edition. Unless otherwise mentioned, the features listed are supported for all languages that are included in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop – C++, C#, and Visual Basic.

Project Types

In Express for Windows Desktop, you’ll be able to create the same projects that you could in Visual Studio 2010 Express, for example, WinForms, WPF, Console and Class Libraries for Visual Basic and C#, and Win32 projects, class libraries, and CLR apps for C++. You can also combine C++, C#, and Visual Basic projects into a single solution, making it easy to write a single application using any of the available languages. Finally, you can round-trip your projects with Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

New Project dialog in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Unit Testing

We wanted to make it easy for you to write and run unit tests for your projects. To make that possible, Express for Windows Desktop includes our existing unit test framework for C# and Visual Basic and the new native C++ unit test framework. This lets you write, run and debug unit tests directly inside Visual Studio. Unit Test project templates are also included so you can start writing unit tests right away.

Unit Testing in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Code Analysis

We added a targeted set of code analysis rules to Express for Windows Desktop, which are the same code analysis rules that we added to Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8. For C++ projects, these rules help detect common coding errors, such as buffer overflows, dereferencing null pointers, using uninitialized variables, or misusing APIs. These errors can potentially lead to security vulnerabilities or application crashes if the errors are not fixed. For managed projects we included rules that help ensure correct object disposal, comparison, and garbage collection performance.

Code Analysis in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

TFS Integration

This release, we introduced Team Foundation Server Express 2012, as well as the Team Foundation Service at www.tfspreview.com. We also included Team Explorer, which allows for integration with your TFS server into all of our Visual Studio 2012 Express products, including this one. We wanted to make it simple for you to use the source code control, work item tracking, and build automation that TFS provides.

Team Explorer in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Dependency Management with NuGet

Express for Windows Desktop includes NuGet, which makes it easier than ever to integrate libraries developed within your organization, or from 3rd parties, into your projects. To add or manage package dependencies for your projects, simply select the “Manage NuGet packages…” option from the project, or from the solution context menu in Solution Explorer.

NuGet in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Language specific features

The new VS 2012 language and library features are available in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, including the async and await keywords in Visual Basic and C#, C++ AMP, and improvements to C++ 11 Standards conformance.

You can use Express for Windows Desktop with your Visual Basic and C# applications to target both .NET 4.0 and 4.5.

We also included the C++ 64-bit cross-compiler and libraries, so you can build 64-bit desktop applications without needing to install an older version of the Windows SDK.

Data Connections

In previous Express products, the ability to connect to a data source was limited to Database File. In Express for Windows Desktop, this capability has been extended to support all SQL Server data sources. For example, in Database Explorer, you can connect, navigate, query against and edit database objects through the latest SQL Server 2012 and Windows Azure SQL Databases.

Feedback

We look forward to hearing your feedback on the release. Please submit bugs to the Visual Studio Connect site, and suggestions to Visual Studio UserVoice.

Special thanks to the following people who reviewed or contributed to this post: Mathew Aniyan, Aaron Bjork, Howard Dierking, Erick Ellis, Lisa Feigenbaum, Federico Kolliker Frers, Erin Geaney, Andrew Hall, John Hart, Saurabh Jain, Eric Knox, Phil Lee, Rong Lu, Karen Ng, Peter Provost, Pete Steijn, and Theo Yaung.

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Jennifer Leaf – Senior Program Manager, Visual C++

Short Bio: Jennifer is a Senior Program Manager with the Visual C++ team. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2010, she spent the previous 9 years leading teams that developed C++ and C#-based tools for simulation and network data instrumentation and analysis.

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  • Please add 8 and 5 and type the answer here:
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  • @Doug George

    Visual Studio 2010 is still available at retailers (Amazon or CDW, for instance), but availability may be limited depending on your region. Typically when a new version releases, the previous version is still available for 60-90 days in retail.  If you're unable to find a local retailer, we're happy to help you find one (contact info: cathask at Microsoft dot com).

    Have you considered an MSDN subscription?  With an MSDN subscription, you get access to pre-release software and current Microsoft products, as well as products dating back over a decade (including Visual Studio).

  • Hi,

    Is it possible to create and deploy Desktop apps for ARM processors so as to provide support to Tablets and other ARM based Windows 8/Windows RT devices?

  • It's really a great tool, functional, fast, smooth, reliable and anything else I could wish for, but it's spoiled by the new look.

    Can we get the old toolbar icons back?  I can't figure out what half of these new monochrome icons are, much less what they mean.  It's a DESKTOP app, not a METRO app.

  • Yes, it is not so much good, that there is onyl the Team Foundation support, but you still can use for example VSS, but it will be not so much comfortable, because it will be not implemented in the VS menus (so you must use the VSS client - or other source code client).

  • I followed the link, I got a page that mentionned VS express that flashed up for a quarter of a second and then got redirected to a page with professional products, where I cannot find the express product.

  • A really informative post. Have given me a better in site and realized I have a lot to learn. Really appreciate your post THANKS

  • Do we have 64 bit of Express edition

  • Give all your votes to this item and maybe the VS team will listen to the complaints

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../3139212-improve-ui-workflows-for-team-explorer-especially

  • Great, the 2012 Express Edition seems to be a great improvement from the 2008 one

  • is this free?

  • I want to down load Visual Studio 2012, but i dont want to install it on my computer

  • Excuse Me. I have Win 8. What is the difference between desktop VS and Win 8 VS. I couldn't edit my normal project.

  • thank you mam

  • i like it but hope there are new definitions  on the visual c++ compiler in this release.  thr idea of a solution  in more than one language is a welcome. i like to use the simplest language for simple jobs and complicated issues for advanced ones.

  • Thanks!

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