Visual Studio 2012 is still a work in progress, but many developers learn about the latest version of Visual Studio using the Express Edition because it’s a free download. You can use the Express Edition to learn a new language, get a basic idea of Visual Studio functionality, or simply to play around. The Express Edition is also lightweight, which makes it possible to use with an older machine that might not support one of the other editions. So, it was with regret that I read that the Express Edition was only going to support Metro applications. Obviously, a lot of other people regretted Microsoft’s decision because there has been quite an outcry about the lack of support for desktop and console applications in the Express Edition. Fortunately, Microsoft has heard developers and according to Mary Jo Foley, has added desktop support back in.
Microsoft is still trying to push its Metro agenda, however. The desktop and console application support come in a separate product named Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop. This product won’t ship at the same time as the other products—it’ll ship later. I wasn’t able to find out how much later, but there is going to be a delay. The product is mentioned at the bottom of the page on the Visual Studio Express 2012 products site, but when you click the link to download it, you’ll find it missing. The June 8th blog post doesn’t mention a delivery date either.
There are a lot of new features in Visual Studio 2012 and its associated .NET Framework 4.5. If you haven’t tried these features, an Express Edition product could be precisely what you need for experimentation. Of course, you can also obtain a beta version of Microsoft top of the line Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate for experimentation purposes for the time being as well, but it does have some hefty system requirements.
Have you had a chance to look at the new version of Visual Studio? Let me know your thoughts about it at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.