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Microsoft Software

Microsoft Launches Visual Studio Express, VS 2005 Beta 541

Posted by simoniker
from the express-to-impress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At the TechEd Europe keynote today, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1. With it, they also released a set of five 'Express Editions' of Visual Studio. These currently free applications offer a student and hobbyist-oriented version of Visual Studio, and are available in C#, C++, VB, Web Developer, and SQL flavors. Each download weighs in at right around 50MB and features tools, documentation, and starter kits. There's been multiple posts and more information on this announcement over at MSDN Blogs, too." Update: 06/29 13:57 GMT by S : A clarification from the Express FAQ: Although the Beta Express products are currently free to download: "We have not announced pricing and licensing and will not do so until next calendar year."
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Microsoft Launches Visual Studio Express, VS 2005 Beta

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  • Sweet! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pxtl (151020) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:50AM (#9559475) Homepage
    Say what you will about MS, but Visual Studio has always been an excellent product. Nice debugger, and VB is an excellent RAD language (particularly the GUI-drawing system).
  • Re:That's cool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OptimizedPrime (558992) <{tedwardm} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:52AM (#9559490)
    No, this may be free as in beer, but they are definitly not meeting the "free" spirit of Open Source. It looks like you can't make commercial products with these, which is certainly not free/open
  • Re:That's cool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mopslik (688435) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:52AM (#9559493)

    It's good to see Microsoft trying to get on board with at least the spirit of Open Source.

    Except that it's not Open Source, just free (as in price) software. Sure to raise some hackles around here.

  • A smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Albanach (527650) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:55AM (#9559522) Homepage
    This strikes me as a smart move. How many here discovered Linux while looking for a development platform as a student?

    Microsoft are attempting to lock students in, probably even before they hit tertiary education.

    Most of the big distros come with good development tools these days. Still I bet Microsoft's tight integration is going to present a new challenge to the open source community.

  • by jobsagoodun (669748) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:55AM (#9559526)
    Should be on 'free', not 'express'.
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:55AM (#9559529)
    I've found their build system to be nightmarish, but maybe that's just me.
  • Nice Move (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ReallyNiceGuy (721792) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:56AM (#9559544)
    This is a very inteligent move from Microsoft to fight the Open Source movement. Making the tools free for use will (theoretically) create a motivation for writing Open Source applications for Windows. But this was already done by Borland, with its free version of the Delphi/Kylix programming environment. I think that this only shows that the pressure that the Open Source is putting over Microsoft reached the pain threshold.
  • by AgntOrnge (718563) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:56AM (#9559546)
    I'm not a software dev but is it common for people to develop on a platform different than the one they are developing for? Common sense to me says it would be a PITA as far as testing etc but like I said, I don't do it so what do I know.
  • license (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio@y a h o o .com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:56AM (#9559547) Homepage Journal
    I understand that this was released under a license reminiscent of the KWPL [pintday.org], better known as the Kjell Woodson Public License [pintday.org]. Nice to see a little more truth in advertising!

  • Re:That's cool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @08:59AM (#9559581) Homepage Journal
    Actually this is a move to knock out DevC++, gcc, Eclipse, and Netbeans.
    The more you get people to use "windows only" solutions the better microsoft feels.
    They know it is all about the developers and want to lock them down as hard and as fast they can.

    Hello how about Evolution for Windows to compete with Outlook?
  • by barryfandango (627554) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:02AM (#9559603)

    Note that only the Express Betas are free - the final products will be a low-cost alternative, I suppose, for the hobbyist or beginning programmer.

    What I would love to see is a return to the days when a development environment was automatically included with a system (like QBASIC was with DOS.) I think a lot of young programmers would get a good start if some bundled, easy-to-use development tools were waiting for them on install (Like C# Express right next to WordPad in the Accessories folder.)

    It's sort of amusing that as Microsoft continually "expands" the concept of what qualifies as an OS (Web Browser, Media Player) they've removed another element that used to be considered primary and indispensable.

  • by Basje (26968) <bas@bloemsaat.org> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:04AM (#9559620) Homepage
    A few years back a lot of software was made by hobbyists to scratch an itch. Many of these programs weren't much, but it kept a lot of computer enthousiasts on windows, and made for some very innovative/useful tools.

    Nowadays, this niche is largely filled with F/OSS. Thus the MS platform is deprived of free help for home users, and misses out on home innovation. I cannot help to think MS is trying to win back some hobbyists/developers to their platform. This move reinforces that thought.
  • by torpor (458) <{ibisum} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:05AM (#9559629) Homepage Journal
    You don't ----neeeeeeeeed----- MFC, and in fact I would advise you to stay the hell away from it.

    Use wxWidgets [wxwindows.org], or some other framework instead. For fun, why not try something like ClanLib... [clanlib.org]

    MFC is godawful. Once you've tried a few of the other frameworks that allow you to write cross-platform GUI code for Windows, I doubt you'll disagree with me ...
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:06AM (#9559641) Homepage Journal
    I gotta agree with you. As a Windows developer, I am infuriated on an almost daily basis by Microsoft, but I have to say I actually enjoy using Visual Studio. It's reasonably simple (if you ignore the next-to-useless, pseudo-CASE tools), flexible enough to let you do what you need, and it works... I've been using VS6 for about 5 or 6 years and it's solid as a rock. I'd like to upgrade, but the project I'm using is staying with VS6 for now.

    I will say I have no interest in .NET, "managed code" and all the other well-meaning but ultimately frightening things that they are doing to the tools. I can tell you that every two or three years they regild OLE, tack a new name on it and try to sell it as something other than a hodge-podge of incomprehensible and poorly documented cookbook tools. My philosophy with MS development has always been, the development environment is great, the libraries suck.

  • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:09AM (#9559674) Homepage Journal
    For the record, that's a very good thing. Backward compatability carries too large a security risk here...
  • This wasn't a very unexpected development(no pun intended)

    MS are worried that the windows platform is hemorrhaging developers to linux/OS X platforms. And as MS know; more developers, means more software, means more users, means more money, means more developers, etc , etc...

    These downloads are aimed at drawing younger, paticularly student developers, to coding in a windows enviornment. Previously, every programming course I ever heard of started with C and Java, because of the low cost of development tools. If MS release free Dev tools, I can see schools and Universities switching to teach VB and C#, so their students are ready for the "real world".A lot of people in my course complain about this, paticularly after internships. When people don't have to pay $600 for Visual Basic, I think its uptake might increase, just a little.

    Looks like a long term strategy I think. The question is will it work?
    I figure it will draw more programmers back to windows, paticularly those frustrated by the C++/EMACS/Shell method of programming, which is admittedly a tough nut to swallow for the budding hacker. Most these days are likely long term GUI users, much more at home in Visual Studio type enviornments. I know I was! That why I got anjuta [sourceforge.net] Anjuta be praised!! :E
  • by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:10AM (#9559690) Journal
    So it would be better if all software was incredibly expensive and difficult to use in order to discourage all those "people who don't know what they're doing"?

    Or was that a joke?

  • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:11AM (#9559700) Homepage
    I suggest getting Whole Tomatos excellent Visual Assist [wholetomato.com] plugin. It's fantastic. It too has problems with deeply nested templates, but the developers are (usually) very quick with fixes, especially if you can send them a sample of the code thats broken. No affiliation, just a very contented user.
  • Re:Nice Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:22AM (#9559793)
    I don't think MS has reached the "pain" threshold, but some interesting things are going on Microsoft:

    1. They are creating a much more robust community than they ever have. Check out http://blogs.msdn.com sometime. They have a lot of their developers - and not just low level guys - blogging on a regular basis. It's an interesting thing to watch these people work. And it really gets out of that "faceless corproate entity" mold they were heading down.

    2. The software is getting better. Windows is pretty reliable now. It's not perfect by any means, but Windows 2000 was the first shot. Windows XP and Windows 2003 are really quite a bit better. It's easy to joke about "the most reliable Windows ever". In the real world there isn't that dread like there was in the NT4 days about BSOD's and reliablitly problems.

    3. They have opened up a lot. And they are testing the waters on where to go. The VS.NET 2005 has a pretty open feedback and bug reporting system. My guess is that if this shows signs of promise they will expand the effort and create a company-wide public bug-tracking/feature request/complaint system similiar to BugZilla or the like.

    Why is this important? Open Source has some big pluses going for it. For one, the software is percieved rightly to be of higher quality. Microsoft is agressively working to beat that notion.

    Second, Open Source is considered to be cheap. Of course it's "free", but we can all think how it costs in a business sense: opportunity cost, labor, upkeep, etc. Microsoft is agressively challenging Open Source on this front. If they can keep some developers who would have gone to Linux by offering free development tools, or development editions of products, then they are doing good. And MS is dropping prices on a lot of the commonly used components: Small Business Server 2003 which includes Windows server, exchange, SQL Server, and a bunch of useful features costs about 1/2 of what SBS2000 cost a typical setup.

    Finally, the big thing Open Source has going is the source. You can modify, redistribute, improve, etc. That's good. But that targets a small market. We know that even in the community of Linux users 99% or higher of users never look or touch the code. A high percentage don't even compile from source. What a lot of Linux users like is that it is easy to get fixes into source (by going to the programmer who wrote the code) and the community around the product is very transparent.

    MS is working very agressively to beat Open Source at it's own game. To make a company of 50,000 responsive, transparent, vital and robust without stopping the profitable business of selling software.

    Right now as far as the balance sheet and growth projections report MS isn't in any pain. They are working though to maintain it's market position and beat back the growth that Linux has seen. Remember, most of the growth that Linux has seen is at the expense of other Unix vendors, not Microsoft.
  • by x0n (120596) <oising@iol . i e> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:24AM (#9559808) Homepage Journal
    The compilers have always been free, or at least for as long as I can remember. This is about an IDE.

    - Oisin
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:27AM (#9559838) Homepage Journal
    I think that part of the motivation for making the beta of the so called "hobbyist" tools free is to prime the pump with a new generation of Windows developers. The full professional version of Visual Studio .Net is fairly expensive for a teenager or college student (school discounts not withstanding). So making something a free download should rope in the some of those budding programmers who in MS's view would otherwise cut their teeth on OSS tools and platforms.

    Most of the /.ers here are not going to be swayed by this, but the kids are another story. A good part of the success of Microsoft and Windows is because of good tools that were well promoted. With the great interest in OSS these days, MS has to work harder for mindshare. So don't be too surprised if the final pricing is something like $49.99 and lower with student discounts and such. And of course, an easy upgrade path to the professional tools.

  • by x0n (120596) <oising@iol . i e> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:29AM (#9559856) Homepage Journal
    "What I would love to see is a return to the days when a development environment was automatically included with a system".

    Wouldn't we all; but you can't have it both ways. Microsoft were spanked for bundling IE, and we cheered. Don't you think they'd be spanked even harder for bundling VS?

    - Oisin

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:30AM (#9559863)
    >If the tasks are more technically involved, or require more advanced security, then you should forget it!

    So, you're saying that because you don't know how to make technically involved (and/or secure) projects work with VB then nobody else can?

    The limitations mostly rest with the designer/programmer, not with the language.
  • by stienman (51024) <adavis@@@ubasics...com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:37AM (#9559923) Homepage Journal
    If your product isn't selling like it used to you need to make certian everyone buys it for the price they are willing to pay, rather than setting a fixed price and letting everyone who can afford it buy it.

    For instance:
    Take product X at $200
    Remove 'enterprise', 'professional', and 'commercial' features. Sell as cheap hobbyist or student edition.
    Remove 'enterprise' and 'professional' features. Sell as low end (shareware, small developer) edition.
    Remove 'enterprise' features. Sell as high end developer edition.
    Sell original software at 2-3x the original cost.

    By taking the original product, splitting it further than it already was and spreading the price curve they reach more smaller buyers while milking the bigger buyers for more since they are willing to pay it.

    It does give good PR (apparantly - it got on slashdot and many seem to think this is a 'good thing') It further gives cheaper tools for home hobbyists. Lastly, it removes some of the incentive for pirate software - if the average user can buy and download a fully supported working version for $50 and an hour of time they may be more likely to do so than searching, installing, troubleshooting, and wondering if the errors they keep getting are their fault or the fault of the pirated software.

    But in the end it's simply an old method to extract maximum cash from a larger target audience, while encouraging current users to upgrade.

    -Adam
  • One word. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:43AM (#9560009)
    Qt, Kdevelop.

    Ahn, ok, two words. So sue me. :-P
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:47AM (#9560070)
    DevStudio is fairly good and certainly better than anything on Linux for C++ work but I wouldn't call it excellent.

    Particularly for .NET development, it is missing many features that have been standard in Java IDEs such as JBuilder or Eclipse for some time. For example the ability to debug two apps at once (for client / server etc.), or to rename a class and all references to it throughout a file. Not to mention it's biggest flaw - DevStudio is intractably bound to developing apps that run with MS technology.

    But even for Windows work, by far and away the most annoying 'feature' of DevStudio is the retarded context sensitive help. I've lost count of the number of times that I've hit F1 over something in a Win32 C++ project to be taken to a help page for Windows CE. I'm not sure what context it seems to be using, but it has nothing to do with what I'm doing.

    Still, it's clear from these 'express' editions that MS is worried by the number of free alternative IDEs that are springing up - in particular Eclipse. After all, if students learn to programme using Eclipse, it means MS is completely frozen out the picture. After all Eclipse is primarily for developing Java apps (bad for .NET) and is cross-platform (bad for Windows). A few years down the line those students will be driving the market and a huge slice of potential MS revenue flies out the window.

  • Not directly...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scorchio (177053) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:57AM (#9560239)
    But if you compile the final release version up with their free c++ compiler and libs [microsoft.com], then there's no limit on distributing the app.

    For c++ apps, anyway. Or have I missed something?
  • by omicronish (750174) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:05AM (#9560330)

    I would have loved to at least give it a try, but it requires you to log in using Microsoft Passport! Bad idea! I think many people are not willing to sign up for Passport - even for goodies like this...

    Just make a dummy Hotmail [hotmail.com] account. It's virtually like downloading a program from other sites that require signing up. Remember, you're an 88-year old accountant from Zimbabwe, with name Aljsfdklsfe LKSJEFLKejf, and password asdf.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:08AM (#9560363)
    Where is Delphi now?
  • by orderb13 (792382) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:10AM (#9560388)
    The proof that MS is loosing developers is implicit in my statement, since I am a MS developer planning on leaving MS development. As far as coding non internet-apps, I'll have to agree with you that VB and C are definatly the way to go. The problem arises when coding internet apps. I have not been impressed, for various reasons, with the web development that microsoft tries to push through. As far as functionality is concered, there are some things that SQL Server does well, but many that it fail misserably at (such as very large database management). If you're just wanting to write some quick apps then SQL Server and VB work really well for this (esp with .Net's integrated development tools), but for enterprise level apps, you definatly don't want to take that route. As far as using triggers is concerned I'd be just as happy if those were taken out of all databases, as usually they are not documented and the programmer never has any idea they are there until something wonky happens. For personal programming and anything that I need RAD for I'll take VB, but for truely large enterprise level applications, esp ones that are web centric, MS just doesn't cut it. After all, how many large corporations do you know that use MS for their enterprise level apps?
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Decaff (42676) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:10AM (#9560394)
    Visual Studio is an adequate development system, but could have been so much better. In the 80s, Gates was introduced to some really powerful IDEs, such as Digital Smalltalk. He even commented "This is the future". Instead of providing an IDE with dynamic layouts, cross-platform support, multi-processing, the ability to break into an app, re-compile bits and resume, true object-orientation with inheritance, and with the full source code of the IDE and the ability to extend the IDE (this is Smalltalk), we got Visual Basic and Visual Studio. It could, and should, have been so much better.

    Visual Basic is a quick-fix language, but left in the hand of an inexpert developer can lead to a buggy unsupportable mess (I have had clean up plenty of such messes). Something like Object Pascal would have been far better, with good type safety, yet high speed, and with true object orientation, not the crippled version of VB6.
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:21AM (#9560501)
    Alot of time reinventing the wheel? My company just deployed a custom firewall that uses a VB GUI. That same product written 100% in C++ would have taken MONTHS longer to develop, instead we just had to write a simple driver. Get your facts straight. VB is a very popular language, and you can do almost EVERYTHING in it you can do in C++.
  • Re:RAD? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bandit0013 (738137) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:44AM (#9560739)
    Um... "Real system development"?

    If you know anything about .NET you'd know that C#, VB .NET, etc are all compiled into the same intermediate language. Therefore no .NET language is more "Real" than any other, it's a matter of preference.

    C# tends to be less verbose and more comfy for java developers. VB .NET kills C# as far as productivity when interacting with office etc.

    I'd really like to see c/java coders get off their high horse about how "vb isn't a real language". It's just not true anymore.

    **note anymore, yeah vb used to miss alot of things like true inheritance... that is all gone in .net
  • by ad0gg (594412) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:01AM (#9560909)
    Which includes vs.net licenses aswell. Thats $12k worth of licenses. Microsoft runs great deals, you just gotta keep your eyes open for them. If you pay retail for any of your ms software licenses, you're a moron. BTW, 5 msdn universal license for $350 applies to ISVs and is advertised on their partnership web site. So if you sell custom software, you can get this deal aswell.
  • by Seek_1 (639070) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:10AM (#9560997)
    "Express".. as in stripped-down functionality so that once your project gets to the point where you'd making money off it, you upgrade to the full edition and pay them a big pile of cash.
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by justins (80659) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:21AM (#9561140) Homepage Journal
    the ability to break into an app, re-compile bits and resume

    Is present in Visual C++, and has been for a while.
  • Re:RAD? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:34AM (#9561310)
    RAD! I've been building apps with VB for years and have to say that you "VB is for prototyping" snobs don't know what you're missing. The annoyances and shortcomings of VB are more than made up for by the ease with which you can create excellent apps. We have a whole reinsurance company here running very well on VB 6 / SQL Server 7 apps - the only real problems we have are due to sloppy programmers - the language, dev environment and tools are more than up to the job. If we had started building our systems in C++ five years ago we'd be in some deep, nonfunction kaka right now. Our VB apps got up and running quick, and stayed running.
  • Re:Quote. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:45AM (#9561452)
    ArsTechnica (for example) seems to embrace the terms "enthusiast" and "hobbyist". Its only on slashdot where dinking around with "Python on Debian" means you can pretend to be some sort of hardcore elite user. Hobbyist.
  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decaff (42676) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @12:18PM (#9561869)
    "Dynamic Layouts" - Uh, yes this is in Visual Studio

    The drag-and-drop pixel-positioning of Visual Studio form design? OK, so you can in principle do better, but most don't.

    "Cross Platform Support" - Uh, yes, if you are talking about non-x86 support. Of course it doesn't run on non-Windows platforms. I don't think that makes much sense to create a Windows dev environment that RUNS ON OTHER OPERATING SYSTEMS!!!

    (no need to shout!) Why not? There are Windows CE development environments that run on Windows 2000.

    The fact is, cross-platform and full-featured IDEs were available decades ago.

    "Multi-processing" - Er, what? This makes no sense. If you mean support for multiprocessing in the compilers, or the ability to assign seperate compiles to different processors, then this is supported.

    No: I mean a full featured multi-processing language and IDE combination that allows launching of several apps and processes at once, with the ability to follow individual processes, interrupt and resume them.

    "The ability to break into an app" - Er, yeah. Um, thats in there. Its in the the debug menu: Attach to process.

    And then compile and resume.

    "re-compile bits and resume" - Er, yeah. Its been in since VS 5.0.

    Its not there. If you have ever tried to deal with run-time bugs in VB6, you are regularly presented with a message that if you proceed with further edits, you will terminate the program. That really is not true compile and resume. Its poor a third-rate substitute. Remember, other languages and IDEs have been doing better than this for decades, so why not Visual Studio? It may be better in VS.Net?

    "true object-orientation with inheritance" - Um, that would be a feature of the language, not the development environment. Clueless.

    Not clueless, as in Smalltalk (which was the example I presented), the language and development system are one. The separation of language and IDE is arbitrary, and unecessary, as any Smalltalker or LISPer will tell you. Its so primitive.

    "the ability to extend the IDE" - Er, yeah. You can do this. This is why so many companies sell VS addins to the IDE.

    This is one of my real dislikes of Visual Studio. My impression (I could be wrong) was that it was designed partly as a way to set up a component and extension market for the IDE, not to allow developers to easily extend the IDE themselves. It took years before you could even write components in the main target language of Visual Studio itself: VB. In Smalltalk, you can adapt the debugger if you like, add new features to the process management, do all kinds of things, and then use those in your deployed application. There was a thriving market for home-grown extensions to Digitalk (and other) Smalltalk IDEs in the 80s and early 90s. These could be nothing more than the addition of a few useful menu items, but it was easy and trivial to do. Visual Studio (and many other popular IDEs) restrict freedom.

    I mean really, why do people bother posting FUD? Is it for the karma, or are they really clueless?

    You may disagree with what I say, and that is fine, but I don't see how it can be labelled either Fear, Uncertainty or Doubt. Its simply a critical comparison of IDEs, and as the Smalltalk market is very small, and I'm certainly not going to do Visual Studio sales any harm(!) I really don't see what the problem is.
  • by GCP (122438) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @12:45PM (#9562221)
    Previously, they had the very expensive VS Pro with all of the languages, plus several "Standard" editions, one for each language, at about $99 each.

    People who only wanted to develop in C++ would always be interested in Visual C++ Standard. "Why do I care about Visual Basic or Visual J#?" they would ask.

    But then inevitably the question would arise whether the Visual C++ Standard license allowed you to write commercial software and for some reason the answer was never very clear. Most people thought the answer was no (see Google Groups), but MS's website never managed to include that most frequently asked question in its FAQ, despite year after year of people asking the question.

    I notice now that the new C++ Express Edition doesn't include MFC or ATL, which are what most people doing commercial C++ for Windows would be using, but it does make a big deal about how you can write .Net "managed C++" apps, which almost nobody is interested in.

    It's a bit puzzling why MS doesn't just make the best possible development tools, including everything (MFC, ATL, .Net, fancy compiler, profiler, nice editor, etc.) and give them away to ensure a steady stream of new apps that make Windows a "must have" in order to stave off Linux.

    Reducing the cost of VS Pro + MSDN from thousands to zero would almost certainly increase the quantity and variety of commercial-quality apps for Windows, much of it free, making it harder for people to abandon the platform.

    They've previously commented that they don't want to do that because it would destroy the 3rd party dev tools market for Windows, but given their history, that explanation seems laughable.

    It can't be that they're trying to protect their Office apps from free competitors, because those are so huge that the resources needed by any challenger dwarf the cost of a few copies of VS Pro.

    Maybe they're trying to protect the idea of commercial software in general, or trying to lock developers into the platform by getting them to commit money to it, or just trying to make short run money by selling tools, but those seem like pretty shaky theories.

    Anybody know?

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decaff (42676) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @07:23PM (#9566464)
    You can extend the VS IDE, the ActiveState guys have a great Perl add-in which has intellisense and all new Perl project wizards.

    What I meant was that the IDE should be open for casual developers to extend quickly and easily in the language they normal work in. It would have been great if, when VS was first introduced, you could easily add extensions to it in Visual Basic. Suppose you wanted to add an Edit menu item that linked to code to, for example, reformat your source. In the Smalltalk system, this is not only trivial, its expected practice, and a normal way to work. Visual Studio imposes a separation between the IDE extenders and component providers, and the casual developer. I think this is an arbitrary and unnecessary division. The thing is, its a fact of history that Gates saw and took an interest in IDEs that gave this kind of power to every developer, but when MS released Visual Studio it was (and still is to some extent) restrictive on what you can do and use. The big question is why?
  • by matt_trentini (663474) on Wednesday June 30, 2004 @12:11AM (#9568218)
    No, it's just a steep learning curve if you never used the original Windows message model. Lots of us like it and use it.

    Well, lots of us use it anyways...

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