Microsoft Visual Studio Express
Screenshot of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Desktop running on Windows 7, developing a Windows app called Wikipedia Recon Drone
|Stable release||2012 (September 12, 2012[±])|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Integrated development environment|
Microsoft Visual Studio Express is a set of freeware integrated development environments (IDE) developed by Microsoft that are lightweight versions of the Microsoft Visual Studio product line. Express Editions were conceived beginning with Visual Studio 2005. The idea of Express editions is to provide streamlined, easy-to-use and easy-to-learn IDEs for users other than professional software developers, such as hobbyists and students.
The first versions of Visual Studio 2005 Express were released on October 2005 and the Service Pack 1 versions were released on December 2006. Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions run on Windows 2000 SP4 and above Windows NT-based platforms. In response to popular demand since their original release, Microsoft has stated that these editions will always remain free-of-charge. Visual Studio 2008 Express editions were released in November 2007 and their SP1 on August 11, 2008. Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 Express Editions require Windows XP SP3 or a later Windows version; Windows 2000 is no longer supported for development but can be a target platform if using 2008 Express. Windows Phone support is only available on Windows Vista or a later Windows version. Microsoft may make previous versions of Visual Studio Express unavailable. Visual Studio 2005 Express editions are not available for download from Microsoft's website.
Visual Studio 2010 Express Editions were released in April 2010 alongside Visual Studio 2010. Free registration is mandatory in order to continue using Visual Studio 2010 Express Editions beyond 30 days.[dead link] Earlier with Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 Express Editions, registration was not required for the ISO version but was required for the web download version.
2005-2010 products 
The Visual Studio 2005, 2008, and 2010 Express IDEs were geared toward single project types. For example, where the full retail editions supported multiple project types within a solution, with the Express editions you might develop a web application in Visual Web Developer Express that consumed a class library developed and built separately in Visual C# Express.
Visual Studio 2005, 2008, and 2010 Express consisted of the following separate products:
- Visual Basic Express
- Visual C++ Express
- Visual C# Express
- Visual J# Express (2005 only)
- Visual Web Developer Express
- Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone (2010 only)
- SQL Server Express
The version shipping with Visual Studio 2005 will be supported until 2015 as per the product life-cycle strategy.
Visual Basic Express 
Visual Basic 2005/2008 (but not Visual Basic 2010) Express Edition contains the Visual Basic 6.0 converter that makes it possible to upgrade Visual Basic 6.0 projects to the Visual Basic.NET. The Express Editions (2005 and 2008) mostly have the same following limitations: (Specific 2008 Express editions limitations here)
- No IDE support for databases other than SQL Server Express and Microsoft Access
- No support for Web Applications with ASP.NET (this can instead be done with Visual Web Developer Express, though the non-Express version of Visual Studio allows both web and windows applications from the same IDE)
- No support for developing for mobile devices (no templates or emulator)
- No Crystal Reports
- Fewer project templates (for example, Windows services template and Excel Workbook template)
- Limited options for debugging and breakpoints
- No support for creating Windows Services (can be gained through download of a project template).
- No support for OpenMP
- Limited deployment options for finished programs
- Visual Basic Express lacks some advanced features of the standard versions. For example, there is no Outlining feature Hide selection to collapse/expand selected text.
Despite the fact that it is a stripped-down version of Visual Studio, some improvements were made upon Visual Basic 2008 from Visual Basic 2005. Visual Basic 2008 Express includes the following improvements over Visual Basic 2005 Express:
- Includes the visual Windows Presentation Foundation designer codenamed "Cider"
- Debugs at runtime
- Better IntelliSense support
Visual Web Developer Express 
Visual Studio 2005 lacks certain features, such as the Accessibility Checker, the ability to create standalone Class Library Projects (which can be done by the other language-specific Express Editions), the extensibility support necessary to load third-party add-ins, macros and some other features.
Visual Studio 2008 Express Web Developer SP1 supports both class library and Web Application projects, which were not supported in Visual Studio 2005 Express. It also includes a new integrated HTML designer based on Microsoft Expression Web. However, the functionality to publish self-developed websites is not present in this edition.
Visual C++ Express 
The Visual C++ Express Edition can be used to compile .NET as well as Win32 applications. The Windows Platform SDK compilers and core files are included which can be used to build applications that use the Win32 API. Applications using either MFC or ATL are not supported by Visual C++ Express. Although the libraries can be obtained from some older versions of Windows SDK and Windows Driver Kit, allowed usage of those libraries are limited.
However, natively compiling 64-bit applications through the IDE is not supported without some involved configurations. If the freely available full version of the Windows SDK is installed, 64-bit applications can be built on the command line using the x64 cross-compiler (Cl.exe) supplied with the SDK. True integration of 64-bit compilers to the Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition is possible, but remains cumbersome. In Visual C++ Express 2010 however, it is as simple as changing the Platform Toolset to the Windows SDK instead of the built-in v100.
Since Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, 64-bit desktop application build is supported without needing to install an older version of the Windows SDK.
Visual C++ 2008 and 2010 Express does not include a resource editor. The higher-end commercial editions of Visual Studio, specifically the Professional and Team Suite editions, have these features.
Many open source projects have started providing project files created with Visual C++ Express; noteworthy examples include the Ogre and Irrlicht engines. Modding kits for commercial engines, such as Valve's Source engine, are also supporting this development system.
The limitations of Visual C++ Express are:
- No resource editor.
- No built-in MFC support.
- No built-in ATL support.
- No profiling support.
- No built-in x64 compiler for editions. (A 64-bit compiler is included with Windows SDK or Visual Studio Express 2012.)
- No support for OpenMP.
- No support for add-ins or IDE macros.
- Ability to attach the debugger to an already-running process is possible by enabling Tools -> Settings -> Expert settings (starting with 2010).
- No option for crash dump generation (Debug->Save Dump As).
Visual C# Express 
Visual C# Express is an easy-to-use, free, lightweight, integrated development environment (IDE) designed for beginning developers, students, and hobbyists interested in building console-based applications, class libraries, Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation applications. It can be used to create applications and games (when combined with the XNA Game Studio) for Windows, Xbox 360 and Zune.
Limitations: The list of breakpoints where the user could control the breakpoint features has been removed, so that now the user can only toggle breakpoints.
- Encapsulate field
- Promote local to parameter
- Reorder parameters
- Remove parameters
- Extract interface
This effectively reduces the refactoring capabilities of Visual C# Express to Renaming and Extracting Methods.
Developers state the reason of this removal as "to simplify the C# Express user experience". However this created a controversy as some end users claim it is an important feature, and instead of simplifying it cripples the user experience.
The ability to attach the debugger to an already-running process has also been removed, hindering scenarios such as writing Windows services and re-attaching a debugger under ASP.NET when errors under the original debugging session cause breakpoints to be ignored.
Additionally it has been observed that the express version requires that the time between builds be greater than approximately 20 seconds. If a project is rapidly modified and rebuilt the target will not be updated even though the source has been modified and saved.
2012 products 
Unlike previous Express editions, each of which was geared around a single programming language, each of the 2012 Express editions is geared toward an overall solution type, and can contain more than one project type (for example, a web solution might consist of a web application project and a couple of C# class-library projects).
Microsoft has released four Visual Studio Express 2012 products:
|Edition||Description||Desktop OS||Server OS|
|Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web||Allows development of web applications. Includes integrated features for deploying to Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing platform.|
|Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8||Allows development of Metro-style apps for Windows Store. This edition runs only on Windows 8.||Windows 8||N/A|
|Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop||Allows development of conventional Windows desktop applications in C#, VB.NET and C++, targeting Windows client technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and the Win32 API. Windows XP is not supported, although it is supported (for C++ only) in Update 1. Unlike previous Express editions, it also has in-built support for compiling 64-bit binaries through the IDE.|
|Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2012||Provides source control, work-item tracking, application lifecycle management and build automation for teams of up to five developers.|
|Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone||Consists of Windows Phone 8 SDK that enables developing applications for Windows Phone v7.5 and v8 and testing them on an emulator. Supports C++, .NET Framework and DirectX. As part of its .NET Framework support, it can integrate with Microsoft Expression Blend.||Windows 8 (x64 only)||N/A|
SQL Server Express 
SQL Server Express is a freeware, light-weight, and redistributable edition of Microsoft SQL Server. It provides a no-cost database for developers writing basic Windows applications and web sites. SQL Server Express replaces MSDE 2000 and significantly expands on its feature set.
SQL Server Management Studio Express, which provides a graphical user interface for administering SQL Server Express, can also be downloaded.
The SQL Server Express Edition has the following limitations:
- Limited to one physical CPU or four CPU cores
- Can use a maximum of 1 GB of random-access memory
- Databases have a 10 GB size limit
- Many features are unavailable, including but not limited to: Data mirroring, failover clustering, profiler, workload throttling and Server Agent, database compression and snapshot
Visual Studio is extensible by nature, ultimately consisting of a core "shell" that implements all commands, windows, editors, project types, languages, and other features through dynamically loadable modules called "packages". Microsoft encourages and fosters third-party partners to create modules for Visual Studio via the free VSIP program. However, according to Dan Fernandez, Microsoft "made a business decision to not allow 3rd party extensibility in Express".
See also 
- "Registration Issues". Microsoft. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- "Microsoft Brings Programming to the Masses With Visual Studio Express". Microsoft. April 19, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- "Free Developer Tools - Visual Studio 2010 Express | Microsoft Visual Studio". Microsoft.com. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- Visual Studio Express Support website[dead link]
- "Visual Basic 2005 Editions". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- "Visual Basic 2008 Editions". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Visual Studio 2005 Express Developer Center - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - questions 23 to 35, especially question 28 at the Wayback Machine (archived April 6, 2008)
- "Which features are missing from Visual Web Developer Express: Mikhail Arkhipov's blog". Blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- Scott Guthrie. "Scott Guthrie's post on VS2008/.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta (bottom of page)". Aspalliance.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Windows Driver Kit (WDK) Version 7.1.0 Release Notes". Microsoft. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- "How to: Configure Visual C++ ProjecHVJHJFts to Target 64-Bit Platforms". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition and 64-bit Targets". Jenshuebel.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop is Here". MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. 12 Sep 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Visual C++ Editions". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
- "Source SDK wiki: Compiler Choices". Retrieved 2009-08-12.
- "Memory Windows". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Debugger". Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Visual Studio Hints". Williams, Kenneth A. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Visual C# at C# Online.NET (CSharp-Online.NET)". Csharp-online.net wiki. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- "C# C Sharp and Tutorials on C# Friends.com". http://www.csharpfriends.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- "XNA Developer Center". Microsoft. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- "Technologies site about MSDN". MSDNER. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- "Aaron Stebner's WebLog". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2004-10-20.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web". Visual Studio portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8". Visual Studio portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Develop Windows Store apps using Visual Studio 2012 (Windows)". MSDN. Microsoft. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop". Visual Studio portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012s.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop is Here". The Visual Studio Blog. Microsoft. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2012". Visual Studio portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone". Visual Studio portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2012". MSDN. Microsoft. 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Introducing the Visual Studio SDK". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Visual Studio 2008 Shell - Details". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Dan Fernandez's Blog : Visual Studio Express and TestDriven.NET". Blogs.msdn.com. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
Further reading 
- Marsman, Jennifer (7 September 2012). "Best Practices for migrating Windows 7 desktop apps to Windows Store apps". MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 30 November 2012.