April 19, 2006 9:00 AM PDT

Microsoft extends tool giveaway

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'Free' is the new 'cheap' for software tools

January 31, 2006
Microsoft has decided to continue indefinitely a free development tool offer it launched last year to better attract hobbyists and students to Microsoft's software.

The company on Wednesday said Visual Studio 2005 Express will be free permanently. When it was released for the first time, last November, Microsoft had said it would be free for a year.

The software giant on Wednesday also detailed a number of partnerships to provide informational resources, including snippets of source code, to nonprofessional developers.

For example, Microsoft has created an application with Lego to program the company's Mindstorm buildable robots. Microsoft is also providing tips to part-time developers to do things such as programming digital cameras, said Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for Visual Studio Express.

"There is a resurgence in hobbyist and do-it-yourself developers," Fernandez said. "We want to enable the next generation of developers."

Microsoft estimates that there are about 18 million nonprofessional programmers. Fernandez said Visual Studio 2005 Express has been downloaded 5 million times since last November.

Providing free software, particularly development tools, has become more commonplace with the swell in open-source software offerings. Companies that cater to professional programmers, such as Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, are eager to get their software into potential customers' hands.

Microsoft on Wednesday also added more features to its free database, SQL Server 2005 Express.

Visual Studio 2005 Express comes in different editions, including those for Visual Basic, C#, J#, C++ and a Web development version that uses JavaScript.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft Visual Studio, hobbyist, development tool, open-source software


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Who cares?
Putting aside the fact that VB(a "language" only for the most ignorant "programmer") and C#(a poorly designed, unsecure ripoff of java) are total garbage, there still is nothing of interest here.

Everything they are 'generously' giving away can already be had elsewhere, free and better quality. Much of what is not free is still available free elsewhere, again usually better quality.

There is no point to this unless you are so masochistic and ignorant that you would willingly tie yourself to MS. You never need MS tools to write programs for windows(at any level, from apps to drivers).
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
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I do I do
Keeps my kids in shoes - pretty good shoes at that. Of course, when I was a kid we programmed in ones and zeros, but we have outgrown that now. Why would anybody but a clueless moron buy Hyundia tools to fix a Chevy, especially when the Chevy tools are free?
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
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I care
I'm a student... I am interested in getting the tools, etc... but there is one main problem: time and effort. I can't really take the time to go searching... when it comes up without me asking, however, I will go for it...

just like real life realty: location, location, location.
Posted by shryko (2 comments )
Link Flag
vb has grown up
vb has grown up significantly over the past 4 or 5 years so i wouldn't mock it. its now a fully OO programming language. c# too is very cool, even though it borrows a lot from java...
Posted by spider9 (4 comments )
Link Flag
Dautrive is a MS hater -- his mind is colored only by hatred
Otherwise he'd realize that this free entry level tool continues a MS tradition of making it easy and inexpensive for new people to learn to program for Windows.

His comments about VB and C# are proof of his deliberate ignorance. I'd bet he can't program himself, he's likely just parroting (that's making noises without understanding what they mean) foolish critisisms he's heard elsewhere.

People who know how to program and have used various tools have long acknowledged MS's Visual Studio tools to be leading edge tools which is one reason why you can tell BillD isn't a programmer.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Before your professional career even begins, it will be outsourced to some open-minded developer in Asia.

Hatred of a technology company is senseless, especially for an aspiring IT professional. I interview a lot of college kids - you wouldn't make it past the phone screen.
Posted by just_some_guy (231 comments )
Link Flag
Downloading this software
Has anyone managed to actually download this software? I looked at their web pages and cannot see any download option. The Download button at the top of the page takes you back to a circular link.

Maybe its just too obvious
Posted by SourceS (1 comment )
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Check the right had side below the headings. MS is really, really good at hiding things in plain sight <g>.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
I do care but ...
I use vb6 to write professional apps that sell for 10k a piece. As a vb programmer since 95' I do appreciate it as a very serious language but lacking some basic properties here and there.

I've tried vb .Net 1 and 2 and got to the conclusion that those are realy c++ compilers with vb syntax. They report errors of undeclared classes even in the most simple no code demo apps.
The latest version keeps closing because of a misterious problem in the "Manifest" (??!!@)

All VB advantages are gone. Some changes (like
forcing to start arrays from 0, and string format) require total rewriting especially when
using legacy code wrapped in a dll.

It would take me at least one full year to learn
this tool, and another four years to rewrite my code from scratch to this new environment. Would anyone like to pay my bills for the next five years ???

Dear Bill. WE WANT VB7 !!!!
Free stuff is worth it's price.
Posted by bar86 (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no biggie
used Basic since PDP 11m DataGeneral an dMAI days. Different flavor over time, but .net is still Basic.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
Exactly my point
MS changes things and breaks much in the process just to make a quick buck off suckers.

.net is a poor implementation of Java. It is rare when a java update happens and you have make a huge effort to get older code to play nice with the new compilers. Backwards compatibility in Java is outstanding. Of course then JVM could really care less, since it knows nothing about the Java language.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
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