Visual Studio 2012 Express confirmed for desktop developers

A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it would offer Visual Studio 2012 Express for software developers. However, the Express products were limited to Windows 8 Metro apps along with one for Windows Phone apps and one for web development. At the time, Microsoft said it would not offer a version of the free software for desktop app makers. This decision angered a lot of software developers.

Today, Microsoft has announced it has reversed that decision and will in fact release a desktop app version of Visual Studio 2012 Express after all. In a post on the Visual Studio blog, Microsoft stated:

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.

The blog added that Visual Studio 2012 Express for the desktop will be a great learning tool for students and will also serve as a way for open source applications to be ported to earlier and current versions of Windows. The desktop port of Visual Studio 2012 Express will be released in the fall.

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35 Comments

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My immediate reaction when I first read that Express was going to be Metro-only was that Microsoft was going to reverse that decision before the product shipped.

And here we are.

Well there goes 2012 being the year of Linux. Because apparently without this all desktop development on Windows was dead.

MrHumpty said,
Well there goes 2012 being the year of Linux. Because apparently without this all HOBBYIST desktop development on Windows was dead.

fixed for you. I get VS Ultimate free from school for comp sci and actual developers have access to VS retail so the free versions only affect hobbyist and people learning.

Quppa said,
What do all the people who were defending Microsoft's earlier decision have to say about this?

They will still blindly attack without any objectivity, anyone who doesn't say "I love Windows 8 and Microsoft".

Quppa said,
What do all the people who were defending Microsoft's earlier decision have to say about this?
As someone who did think it wasn't going to make much of a deal I still say the same thing. Those who were going to write meaningful software for windows would have continued to do so with 2012 either through free versions provided while in school or by buying the full professional version at its reasonable price (any programmer worth mentioning can recover the cost of VS in less than one billed project).

I'm glad MS did this, but I don't think it has any effect on software availability on the Windows Desktop or the viability of Windows as a desktop OS. It will, however, shut up all of the kids who think everything should be given to them because they can spell their name and breathe.

Quppa said,
What do all the people who were defending Microsoft's earlier decision have to say about this?

You mean all those people who said it was Microsoft's decision? I guess they'll still say it was Microsoft decision.

Quppa said,
What do all the people who were defending Microsoft's earlier decision have to say about this?

Well to be fair there was a major out cry from the dev community . Of course being a free product MS had all the right to withdraw it if they needed to.

MrHumpty
I'm glad MS did this, but I don't think it has any effect on software availability on the Windows Desktop or the viability of Windows as a desktop OS. It will, however, shut up all of the kids who think everything should be given to them because they can spell their name and breathe.
So you actually think Microsoft is spending who knows how much money on supporting another free edition of VS just to get some people to shut up on discussion boards? Let's be serious. VS Express is a way to reach out to everyone who wants to try out Windows development, whether they're just starting out with programming or coming from another platform: it's in Microsoft's best interest to attract all the developers they can to their platform, they are the ones that create value for the OS.

Dr_Asik said,
VS Express is a way to reach out to everyone who wants to try out Windows development, whether they're just starting out with programming or coming from another platform: it's in Microsoft's best interest to attract all the developers they can to their platform, they are the ones that create value for the OS.

Can't agree more.

Thank you Microsoft for implementing some common sense. I know many high school students who learn to program using the express editions, and when you're learning basic fundamentals of programming, you don't need to be thrown in the deep end with Metro, XAML and all that jazz. Basic elementary Windows applications are the best way to get to grips with programming, and fortunately, they no longer have to be stuck on an old version to do so.

That's not to say you can't then progress to Metro applications, but not everyone is a born programmer genius, so it does help to provide them with the simpler environment to cut their teeth on (And the Express editions are far easier to understand and work with for a beginner than the full suites), before they go on to set the world on fire with their software.

So thank you Microsoft.

Ideas Man said,
That's not to say you can't then progress to Metro applications, but not everyone is a born programmer genius, so it does help to provide them with the simpler environment to cut their teeth on (And the Express editions are far easier to understand and work with for a beginner than the full suites), before they go on to set the world on fire with their software.

By 'basic elementary Windows applications', do you mean console programs? It's surely easier to create a Metro-style app than it is to create a desktop program - that's one of the goals of the platform.

Ideas Man said,
Thank you Microsoft for implementing some common sense. I know many high school students who learn to program using the express editions, and when you're learning basic fundamentals of programming, you don't need to be thrown in the deep end with Metro, XAML and all that jazz. Basic elementary Windows applications are the best way to get to grips with programming, and fortunately, they no longer have to be stuck on an old version to do so.

That's not to say you can't then progress to Metro applications, but not everyone is a born programmer genius, so it does help to provide them with the simpler environment to cut their teeth on (And the Express editions are far easier to understand and work with for a beginner than the full suites), before they go on to set the world on fire with their software.

So thank you Microsoft.

Highschoolers would have had access to a near free version of Visual Studio even without express editions. It's easily argued that would be better for them anyway since they can haved mixed projects and really stretch their legs when designing software.

Highschoo Kids and College Kids saved themselves $100. The world can continue to spin.

By popular demand, Microsoft listened. But you know what?

You're still not getting a start button in Windows 8! Steve Ballmer doesn't negotiate with terrorists.

Enron said,
You're still not getting a start button in Windows 8! Steve Ballmer doesn't negotiate with terrorists.

There are twice as many start buttons in Windows 8 as there are in Windows 7

MS Lose32 said,
Microsoft.respect += 0.1;

Rather CurrentUser.Respect[Companies.Microsoft] += 0.1;
You're not going to set everyone else's respect

And this is why I love MS. They're not afraid to admit mistakes and correct them. Apple would tell you to go f**k yourselves.

The blacklash from developers is proof that we are not all going to eat the "Metro" coolaid just because microsoft says so.

betax said,
The blacklash from developers is proof that we are not all going to eat the "Metro" coolaid just because microsoft says so.

Not sure about the eating "Metro" part, as more than a few people on other sites wondered what this meant for the future of hobby to amateurish XNA game programming. Probably someone in MS realized the problem there and had to reverse course.

betax said,
The blacklash from developers is proof that we are not all going to eat the "Metro" coolaid just because microsoft says so.

Metro is a design idea. And Metro is used also for desktop apps (e.g. MetroTwit)

Glad to see this. Couldn't see myself paying for a license for VS professional just to make some hobby programs (I could stick with VS 11 but a crucial bug got fixed in VS 12 that I really can't live with.)

J_R_G said,
Glad to see this. Couldn't see myself paying for a license for VS professional just to make some hobby programs (I could stick with VS 11 but a crucial bug got fixed in VS 12 that I really can't live with.)

You know, VS 11 == VS 2012?

J_R_G said,

I meant 2010, not VS 11. whoops.

And that is the first post as to why folks had a justifiable reason to resent Microsoft's original decision - what I had been hearing before (especially on Ars Technica) was nerdrage and whinery.

Julius Caro said,
yay! +1 on the "useful for students" part.


And we can get the full version through dreamspark for free.

xn--bya said,

And we can get the full version through dreamspark for free.

With which you're not allowed to create applications you distribute commercially.

So there's still lots of use for Express for students, should they want to monetize their potential. (or just TRY to)

GS:ios