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Microsoft produces a number of versions of their popular Visual Studio product. In this movie, I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about the different versions that are available. Visual Studio also comes in a wide price range. You might be surprised to learn that there are free versions available for you to use. On the other hand, you can get out your corporate credit card and spend some serious cash for the Ultimate edition, which costs up to $12,000. There are a number of price points in between these two extremes. Microsoft caters to every niche. For this title, I will cover the features that are available in Visual Studio Premium Edition.
And I will sneak in a preview, a really cool debugging tool in the Ultimate edition. To start your journey with Visual Studio, go to their download sites listed here. There is also a link to a product comparison page. Can you imagine the fun you can have reading about the differences between the versions? The Professional and Premium versions offer all the core features. Either one will keep you happy while coding. Premium also offers automated UI testing tools, special database projects, and code analysis tools. If you have got the money, then the Ultimate edition is your baby.
It contains every conceivable tool you will ever want to utilize as a developer. It also has the price tag to match. The Test Professional version is targeted at your QA team. It contains test planning and test tracking workflow tools. It also includes manual testing tools, and works with the new IntelliTrace features, which I will cover in the debugging chapter. Team Foundation Server is the collaboration backend. This server enables your team to integrate all of the individually deployed Visual Studio tools. TFS contains centralized databases for storing project requirements, work items, it can track bugs, and has a source code repository.
It has automated build tools available, and can be configured to have web portals for each project. A new tool in the Visual Studio Toolbox is the Team Explorer Everywhere. This tool exists to collaborate with Java developers. I copied a portion of the comparison matrix on the Microsoft web site to this slide. Take a look at the Debugging and Diagnostics section here. This shows that if you buy the Professional edition, you have the basic debugger. But if you fork out the money for the Premium or the Ultimate edition, you also get these additional tools.
When you purchase a version of Visual Studio, you also get an MSDN subscription level. Having MSDN is cool, because it gives access to the software download library. The more you pay, the more software licenses you get. For example, in the Ultimate edition, you get business software. You can download Office 2010 or Project 2010. A couple of months ago, I was working on a project that required a legacy copy of Access 2003, and there it was in the library. If you need Design tools, look for Expression Blend or Expression Design.
In the Developer section, there are copies of Visual Studio going back ten years, plus other tools like FoxPro Classic and even 1990s era versions of Visual Basic, and to sweeten the deal, you get access to all the standard Windows operating system and Server products too. Microsoft is also interested in bringing the power of .NET to the student and hobbyist programmer, so they created the Express editions of Visual Studio. Go to the Express web site to learn more about these free, yet powerful tools. Yes, low cost all means that they are lacking features that you would find in the paid versions.
Here is a listing of the free editions. There is one for each of the major languages, for example, C#, Visual Basic, and C++. There are also versions for specific types of development, for example, the XNA Game edition. There are so many choices. I am certain you will find one that fits your needs. My personal favorite is Visual Studio Ultimate, but that's also an easy choice for me because it's included in my MSDN subscription.
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