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Microsoft Programming Software Windows

Microsoft Relents On Metro-Only Visual Studio Express 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-shouted-loudly-enough dept.
snydeq writes "After hearing objections from developers, Microsoft will offer a version of its Visual Studio Express 2012 package for desktop application development after all. The company had previously announced that Express 2012 editions, which are free, platform-specific versions of the Visual Studio 2012 IDE, would be limited to Windows 8 Metro-style development as well as development for the Windows Azure cloud platform, Windows Phone, and Web applications. 'We heard from our community that developers want to have for Windows desktop development the same great experience and access to the latest Visual Studio 2012 features at the Express level. ... And it will enable developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows.'"
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Microsoft Relents On Metro-Only Visual Studio Express

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  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:30PM (#40262023)

    Good start.

    Now, if only they'd relent on the Start button, Start menu, and letting users opt-out of Metro altogether...

    • Does anyone actually use the start menu anymore? I know Microsoft's data shows they don't, and people largely launch apps from the super bar. I know my own usage is the same. The only time I ever go in the start menu is to do a search. Can't remember the last time I went to All Programs. For me, the start screen is no big deal, and I actually welcome it since it's more useful than the start menu ever was for me.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:37PM (#40262113)

        The problem isn't the lack of start menu so much as the fact that to access the "super bar" you have to go to the full-screen Metro interface. It is a jarring experience, and funny on a multi-screen setup where one of your monitors just becomes this giant, monotone search field. It is not at all conducive to the rest of the experience *on a desktop* (I'm sure if fits fine on a tablet).

        • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:39PM (#40262137)
          I don't mind the transition between desktop and start screen at all, but if you do, you can just put a shortcut do desktop in your startup folder and it'll take you right there on startup.
          • by epyT-R (613989)

            This will bring up the desktop, but it won't solve the full screen problem when starting new applications. anyway, why should users have to kludge the kludge to unkludge the kludge on a $200 piece of software?

        • The super bar is what they are calling the "system tray" no? It is there in the "desktop app" it is just the start button that sends you back to metro. I think metro should have been an optional skin or even better a "space" like it is in Mac for an app store. Multiple desktop support should come with any modern OS IMHO.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            The other major problem is there is no way in hell to just kill metro, even if you never use it its sucking resources and cycles no matter what. this would be fine on a modern desktop, where we have so many cores and so much RAM that nobody will give a crap, but what about laptops and netbooks? Do you REALLY want to give up a decent sized chunk of your battery life for metro?

            I just hope this is the straw that breaks the camel's back. for a decade now Ballmer has been practically wiping his ass with money at

            • Metro is supposed to be more power efficient than win 7. Apps need to be made so that they can be hibernated really quickly since whenever the system is under memory pressure it will start dropping apps that are in the background. They claim crazy fast "rehydrating" something like 200ms (I wonder if they tried real programs not the phone->computer demo apps that ship with the beta but something "real" like VS or photoshop sized). Anyways since the system hiberates things and everything is supposed to use

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:41PM (#40262169)

        >>>people largely launch apps from the super bar

        The what? (looks round). I don't see that on my Win7 desktop.
        And yeah I still use the start button since it gives me a nice list of all my programs in one quick spot.

        • He's talking about the taskbar, which also functions as a means to start applications on Windows 7.
        • it gives me a nice list of all my programs in one quick spot.

          I prefer the apps list in Windows 8 as a list of all programs in one quick spot. It's alphebetized and doesn't include nonsense like uninstall wizards and docs like the start menu does. And it shows all the icons at once so I don't have to read a series of folder names like with the Start Menu.

          • by dslbrian (318993) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:09PM (#40263927)

            I prefer the apps list in Windows 8 as a list of all programs in one quick spot. It's alphebetized and doesn't include nonsense like uninstall wizards and docs like the start menu does. And it shows all the icons at once so I don't have to read a series of folder names like with the Start Menu.

            Well you must not use very many programs. Their ridiculous flat organization method quickly falls apart and looks like crap. Just take a look here [hothardware.com] (images 3-5 on that page pretty clearly demonstrate). So yeah, you enjoy that needle in a haystack...

            • So hothardware goes out of their way to make their system look as shitty as possible. Every one of those screens can be cleaned up and customized. They also fail to note that the start menu search still works the same way it did before.
      • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:48PM (#40262265)

        Those of us that have more than three or four pieces of software installed do. Scrolling a huge fullscreen pile of tiles is a lot more time consuming than scrolling through a well organized start menu or using a quicklaunch link. The fact I can start a new application from it without losing sight of my desktop is something I"ve come to expect from computer use over the last FIFTEEN years..

        • I like how you characterize the start menu as "well organized" but the start screen as "a pile" (subtext "unorganized"). The start screen can be just as organized as the start menu, and given that the start screen has one more dimension than the start menu, I have more options for organization. My start screen on my Windows 8 PC is organized to my liking and doesn't seem like a "pile" to me at all.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Hierarchical menus.
          • by epyT-R (613989)

            I don't know why turkeyfeathers was modded down.. he's right. the hierarchy is useful, and it can be easily sorted by alpha if necessary.. the current full screen tiled mess isn't, and having to scroll it horizontally just makes things worse. Starting an application should not be a disruptive 'experience.' It negatively affects workflow by unnecessarily stopping information flow to the user from already open windows.

        • by GIL_Dude (850471)
          It is interesting how, with complex software, everyone ends up with a different usage pattern. I use the start menu all the time, but as a search and execute. Press the Windows Key (or if your keyboard is one of those "defective" ones that doesn't have a Windows Key press ctrl-esc), and just type. To start Word, Windows Key, w, o, r, d, enter. We've tried to train literally thousands of our users to do it that way. But we do still see some folks slowly clicking their way through the start menu the old slow
          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>To start Word, Windows Key, w, o, r, d, enter.

            That requires effort (lifting my hand and typing). Easier to move my mouse a millimeter and click Start, MS Word, Open Doc, click desired file, and start reading. ;-)

            • by geekoid (135745)

              the mouse is slower, however.

              Also, you can pin a program to the taskbar and hit WinKey + Number.

          • To start Word, Windows Key, w, o, r, d, enter.

            Doing this will still open word in Windows 8

          • by epyT-R (613989)

            I find clicking twice faster than typing 'word' and hoping the heuristics guess right.. I've found that sometimes it doesn't. It depends on what was installed on the machine. Also, often used applications go in the quicklaunch, and that is faster than the start menu. A stock start menu is clunky, yes, but it works A LOT better than full screens of tiles to scroll through, and if a minute is taken to organize it, there's no contest.

      • by KlomDark (6370)

        What, are you one of those people who has their desktop covered with shortcut icons?

        I use the start button constantly. They finally got it perfect in Windows 7. Best thing on there.

        WTF is super bar? (I thought Wendy's got rid of that right after Dave died?)

        Do you mean the Quick Launch Bar? (The icons next to the start button) If you don't, then please explain...

        • Super bar is what many call the task bar in Windows 7, since it is both a task bar and a launcher combined in one.

          And no, my desktop is not covered icons. I use about 10 programs regularly (Photoshop, Indesign, Visual Studio, Matlab, TexWorks, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Opera) and they are all pinned to my task bar. Anything else I want to use I just launch from the search box.
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>What, are you one of those people who has their desktop covered with shortcut icons?

          First thing I do is erase all that junk from my desktop and tab bar. The cleaner the appearance, the better it looks. (Plus I don't have to push my windows around trying to find hidden icons underneath them.)

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        I typically use the Start menu - not for the apps, which may be part of the quick launch bar, but for going directly to websites using favorites. I also enable the menu mode of My Documents and typically use that instead of opening Explorer. Same w/ the control panel, and sometimes, I use My Recent Documents as well. So the Start button is invaluable to me, and if it's not gonna be there in Windows 8, I'll either stay w/ XP, which is what I'm using now even though I have a copy of Vista, or else, I'd try
      • Dozens of times per day, yes. The super bar is shiny and pretty but it's cumbersome to use. The hands down most effective layout they've come out with yet is the quick-launch bar, the taskbar (without fucking window grouping), and the start menu.

        I don't want the click area to launch a program to be the same as the one to switch to open instances of that window. It's a huge pain in the ass and extra clicks if I want another window of the same type open, which is extremely common for me.

        I don't want mu

        • Your complaints about the super bar can all be alleviated by choosing "small icons" and "never combine" options. It acts just like Windows XP except the windows are grouped and you can rearrange them.

          I especially want to be able to have a more or less complete list of installed programs in a hierarchical layout that's accessible from one place .

          This would be the apps list [afterdawn.fi]. It's quickly accessible, contains all apps in alphabetical order, and shows all the icons at once instead of being buried in folders. I like it much better for accessing all my programs than the "All Programs" list in the start menu.

          • I'm aware of all of the above. And yet, the default is to be less useful than prior versions of Windows. It amazes me that Microsoft's answer to making an OS more usable is to remove ways to use it. I expect within three versions both Windows and Gnome will be nothing but a Facebook button in the middle of the screen.

            As for buried in folders? I prefer the term organized. You know, sorted into sub-folders according to function as opposed to dumped in a huge single directory. I don't have a problem ins

      • I have a hundred or more installed programs. Yes I use the start menu. I don't actually use the mouse to get there though. Windows key and start typing. Usually in 5 or less characters the list is down to 2-3 and I arrow over to the right one. I'm not sure how you do it but for changing settings it is great because you don't have to navigate around the control panel. Just type a few characters (eg. win -> def for defrag) and you are right to what you want.

        • This is what Microsoft's data shows the majority of people using their start menu for. The start menu is no longer an application launcher, it's an application searcher, and the only reason it's in the start menu is for legacy reasons. Thus in Windows 8 there's a completely revamped search, which is much more useful in my opinion. You can still press the windows key and type a few characters, and there are all the results.
          • I didn't have a good experience with the beta so only played around with it for about 20 min on a VM. Didn't notice the search. Did notice the pain of navigating metro with a mouse. Might be the beta but it was click and drag, click and drag. Click. Clicky clicky click. It seemed all the examples were content consumption based apps very little for the "get to the keyboard and start typing" sorts. Of course their was the VS demo but that was just type to make yet another app that requires you to go back to m

      • by bratwiz (635601)

        Personally, I use the Start button and the Start Menu all the time. And I kind of like having it.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Some do, many just dump all the crap on the desktop. since metro tiles have to be written as metro apps its gonna be shit as folks just want to dump crap on the desktop.

        Sometime this weekend i'm gonna install RP on the box at the shop running Win 8 CP but i don't think it will get any better reception, they have ALL hated it, every customer that has tried it.

        Frankly this release just stumps me, as i don't really know who the target is. I thought it was the teens and tweeners, the ones that live on cell phon

    • Sorry, but not enough people joined the appropriate Facebook group. I think it's because people didn't invite enough of their friends.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 08, 2012 @04:35PM (#40262081) Homepage

    This is a great marketing tactic here:

    And it will enable developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows.

    Translation: It will not forbid developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows.

    developers want to have for Windows desktop development the same great experience and access to the latest Visual Studio 2012 features

    Translation: developers want to have what they already had.

    • by gstrickler (920733) on Friday June 08, 2012 @05:16PM (#40262621)

      developers want to have for Windows desktop development the same great experience and access to the latest Visual Studio 2012 features

      I translate it a bit differently: Despite our efforts to force Metro down everyone's throats, developers have told in no uncertain terms that they would prefer to continue developing for a traditional windows interface.

    • Translation: It will not forbid developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows.

      That doesn't make sense. Making or not making VS Express available does not "forbid" anyone to do anything, since VS is not the only tool that can produce Windows apps. Qt Creator does just that, and comes bundled with MinGW - completely for free. It's open source itself, too.

      Translation: developers want to have what they already had.

      Again, not really. Developers already had VS 2010, and they continued to have it - it was not being taken away. The problem was that all the new stuff in VS 2012 was being withheld from those who used the free versions unless they were

  • How did "Express" come to mean "free" in the software world, anyway?

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Dunno, but it keeps managers from only allowing the "free" version I suppose, and it does not have any relation to the word "cheap" and therefore "sub-par". Although I guess it does by now, at least for software.

    • It dates from the late nineties when software vendors would offer reduced-feature versions of their software subtitled "Lite" or "Light" for zero or a considerably discounted cost compared to the full version. One of the most famous of which was Eudora Light, which was free; and contrasted with Eudora Pro, which cost about $40.

      When it came time to offer free pack-in versions of popular Microsoft programs with Windows 98, Microsoft marketing decided that they didn't like the connotations of being feature-sta

      • by Bill Dimm (463823)

        Thanks for the explanation. I'm well-aware of the old "lite" versions, I just never understood why "express" was seen as a better/clearer name since the software is generally not any faster than the full version. I suppose the process of obtaining the software (no credit card or manager's approval needed) is faster ;-) I guess the moral is that better != clearer in the marketing world.

    • How did "Express" come to mean "free" in the software world, anyway?

      Because marketing folks realized that it sounds better "Crippled", "Limited", or "Demo", which would more accurately describe the relationship of the zero-cost version to the full-price version that the zero-cost version exists to help support the market for by building a large base of users familiar with its general structure who will be inclined to purchase the full-price version when their needs exceed the limits of the zero-cost version

  • Free publicity! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bregmata (1749266)

    Microsoft could never buy the kind of publicity in the developer community that this kind of announce/recind behaviour will get them for free.

    Man, they're good.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday June 08, 2012 @05:01PM (#40262447)
    I was all ready to post a snarky comment about not needing Visual Studio because I could do everything I needed in Delphi. So I quickly look it up since I haven't touched it in over 10 years and much to my surprise Delphi [embarcadero.com] is not only still around but looks like it's thriving. Who knew?
    • I wouldn't say that Delphi is "thriving" - they're nowhere near as big as they were a decade ago - .NET stole most of their lunch. But there was a lot of code written in Delphi back in the day when it was actually the best tool for the job which still runs today, so of course supporting it makes sense - and adding new features while they're at it never hurts.

  • Metro may be or may not be the future for Windows, but you can be sure that Aero and earlier Windows styles will be around for a while. New applications may be developed in Metro design, but if you extend existing apps, simply switching to Metro is not an option. Therefore I think Microsoft made the right decision to include support for earlier Windows versions in their VS Express editions. Limiting support to Metro would force many developers to stick with older versions, which cannot be what Microsoft int
  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:13PM (#40263959) Homepage Journal

    Good, now just fix the menus then you're off to a good start.

    Next, make choosing Metro or Explorer (with Aero glass or classic) for the UI an option then Windows 8 should be even better than Windows 7. Otherwise, it will be at least as despised as the epic fail known as Vista.

  • I called this when they first announced Metro only applications for Express editions.

    However, getting applications compiled with Visual Studio to run in XP is still presently a lost cause. The only way you will be doing development compatible with XP is if you stick to VS2010. I hope they relent on this as well. I may not want to support XP, but it is still on a moderate chunk of machines.

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