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Microsoft Relents On Metro-Only Visual Studio Express

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the somebody-shouted-loudly-enough dept.

Microsoft 228

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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228 comments

Well, it's a beginning (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40262023)

Good start.

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

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262063)

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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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).

Re:Well, it's a beginning (4, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40262299)

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?

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262659)

This will bring up the desktop, but it won't solve the full screen problem when starting new applications.

What problem? Please explain this in detail.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262755)

What do you mean the full screen problem? Desktop apps open as usual. Do you mean metro apps? Don't use them then. As for the kludge, it's all perspective. I for one appreciate the changes. You don't. Okay fine, but you have the option of not upgrading. Big deal.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263001)

Actually, on a dual screen system that starts the desktop on the second screen and the main one still sits on that lame Metro screen.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262123)

Everyone who's still on XP uses it, and with XP no longer sold on new systems, they'd be jumping straight to 8 with an upgrade.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262203)

So those people who intentionally put off migrating forward for over a decade are going to be surprised that things aren't exactly the same as they were before. Cry me a river.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 2 years ago | (#40262321)

So those people who intentionally put off migrating forward for over a decade are going to be surprised that things aren't exactly the same as they were before. Cry me a river.

Half a decade. Windows Vista came out in January 2007.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40262509)

So those people who intentionally put off migrating forward for over a decade are going to be surprised that things aren't exactly the same as they were before. Cry me a river.

Half a decade. Windows Vista came out in January 2007.

And it was not for a few years after that that Vista became somewhat useable.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40262927)

And it was not for a few years after that that Vista became somewhat useable.

AKA the release of Windows 7.

Skip 8, you know how it is with Microsoft. Whatever comes out after 8 will rock, but 8 itself will be a pile of shit.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263509)

Um, I work at a decent sized ($1B market cap) multi-site (and multi-national) med device company as an Engineer and my workstation still runs XP, as do a lot of computers here. My laptop is Windows 7, but I still use the start menu. I could get along without it, but I do usually go for the start menu out of habit. It's that familiarity with the interface that people are lamenting the loss of. Change for the sake of change is not the same as value added. The time their metrics are saying will be saved by the new workflow will easily be matched by the time wasted as I instinctively go for what has consistently been there for 2 decades, then try to remember what they replaced it with.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40262479)

newer is not always better. in fact, financial desperation in these times is driving needless change in products in areas that don't need change, often to their detriment.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

greenreaper (205818) | about 2 years ago | (#40262527)

He's talking about the taskbar, which also functions as a means to start applications on Windows 7.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40262943)

Everyone I know disables that shit as soon as they figure out how (or that they even can). "Everyone I know" includes far more than just smart people.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262989)

Ummm... I've never heard of a person disabling the taskbar before. Didn't even know it was possible, or that there would be some reason for doing it. Seems to me like you are making shit up.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262913)

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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262173)

I use it all the time, but mostly for search. The real estate available on the new start screen is nice, and my big issues were some quirks with the keyboard navigation and the fact that it didn't automatically show settings results if there were no matching applications, and I wouldn't be surprised to see tweaks like that made for the final version.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#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..

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262713)

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:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262719)

>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..

Why do you want to look at your desktop when you are searching through the start menu?

They are almost no reason why you need to do that. You might as well argue that you don't like UEFI because it boots too fast and you are used to waiting around for BIOS during boot.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 2 years ago | (#40263053)

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 way.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40263203)

>>>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. ;-)

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

KlomDark (6370) | about 2 years ago | (#40262283)

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...

Re:Well, it's a beginning (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262657)

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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40263093)

>>>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.)

Re:Well, it's a beginning (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40262303)

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 getting my hands on PC-BSD.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262379)

I use the Start Menu all the time. The fact that most of my launches are Firefox or Media Player from the bar does not mean that Start is useless to me. In fact, it's basically the whole reason I use Windows over just getting a Mac or installing Linux.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262451)

I use the Start menu quite a lot as an easy search, system administration links that I rarely use like Administrative Tools, etc., to power off the machine, quick links to my various types of media, i.e., Pictures and Videos, and I use it to just browse my rarely used programs when I'm bored. It seems like a pretty good menu to me although after XP the menu other than search did get clunkier to use.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

drwhat99 (2596325) | about 2 years ago | (#40262815)

I like the new start screen. But to be honest, I'll probably use it about as much I as I did the start button - almost never.

And the full screen metro apps, I don't really use them much, but they are pretty nice so far.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | about 2 years ago | (#40263275)

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 multiples of the same window type to be grouped. I want them showing in the taskbar where I can see by the title which file is being edited in it and switch to it with a single click instead of having to guess at thumbnails or go through extra clicks for a list.

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 . I don't want to have to keep their names all in memory. I don't want to have a bazillion launchers cluttering the bottom of my screen.

I don't want shiny and pretty. I don't want minimalist to the point of uselessness. Pretty needs to stop the very instant before it starts impacting my ability to get shit done quickly. If it slows me down it can fuck right off.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40263479)

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.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

SexyHamster (174881) | about 2 years ago | (#40263613)

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.

As a computer tech who occasionally has to remote into someone's desktop or an unfamiliar server to change settings or fix things I enjoy the consistency that the start menu provides.

No matter what kind of icon organizational disaster the user has turned their desktop into I can find the computer and networking options under the start menu. The same applies to the task bar. Sure you can pin icons to it, but it's unlikely the user will have anything pinned to it that I'll find useful in a remote support session.

I've mostly given up on organizing the start menu since most applications want to put their icons in the root of the tree, but at least you can sort it alphabetically.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262071)

Yes. relenting to a bunch of bastards who don't want to buy the full version sure is a start.

Now if we can just get rid of you clowns who hate change.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40262115)

Yes. relenting to a bunch of bastards who don't want to buy the full version sure is a start.

Most teenagers don't have $500 to blow on visual studio.

Now if we can just get rid of you clowns who hate change.

Fallacy.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (5, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#40262693)

Yes. relenting to a bunch of bastards who don't want to buy the full version sure is a start.

Because open-source developers who don't make any money from their software were going be to effectively blocked from supporting their existing apps on windows 8?
With windows 7, you got the compiler in the SDK, so you could at least compile your own apps written in another IDE. Windows 8 doesn't have that any more, the only compiler and standard header libraries are part of Visual Studio 2012; so unless the non-profit making open source dev wanted to cough up $500 for the full version of VS2012 pro out of their own pocket (that included a bunch of crap they didn't need), they couldn't support windows 8.

Never mind that VS 2012 has a much faster compiler than the older version, microsoft tend to tweak APIs and such - and when they release a new OS, only the new VS gets it integrated.

And how were new students going to learn to code for windows? Most people start with CLI coding, not fully blown graphical UI versions, ala metro.

Plenty of people need Visual Studio Express to write code for windows, because it is so tightly integrated and designed to go together. Nerfing the express version wouldn't force developers to write more metro apps - it would just kill off existing apps for Windows 7 from 8, cut down on new people learning to write software for windows, and kill off future open source apps on windows.

I'm amazed they thought that making the free compiler for windows metro-only was a good idea in the first place. At least they've overturned what would have been a big self-inflicted foot wound.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262781)

I don't hate change, but I do hate change that brings no benefits and serves only to make my computing experience more awkward. Trying to pretend my desktop is a tablet (making me drag the login screen out of the way? please) counts as the latter kind of change.

Put it on tablets by all means... find a better solution for your power users.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262129)

It's pretty easy to turn off already, if you want.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262343)

not really..

Re:Well, it's a beginning (-1, Offtopic)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#40262235)

I think I saw Bob on the Metro. They spent a lot on his ticket. Give them some time to realize the train is stopping in the ghetto.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262257)

The start menu's days are numbered because nobody uses it after they've installed 10 things.

In 1994 when Windows 95 was released, people at most installed maybe 10 things.

Now my damn start menus has too much crap in it because I haven't reinstalled the computer for over a year... mainly because I don't want to go through the hassle of calling Adobe to reactivate again. I actually went through the effort of using windows backup and backing up the hard drive and restoring it to a larger one.

Re:Well, it's a beginning (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | about 2 years ago | (#40262271)

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

That's one... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262069)

So when will they relent on THE ALL CAPS MENUS [msdn.com]?

Re:That's one... (1)

Lord Crc (151920) | about 2 years ago | (#40262121)

They already said it will be exposed as an option, so that's already covered.

Re:That's one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262475)

But mixed case is not the default. With a good design philosophy, defaults should be the settings used by the majority. What percentage of the comments have anything positive to say about that design decision?

A decent compromise would be to create a way to customize and share your menu settings with others so thousands of man hours aren't wasted by having to browse through unfamiliar menu options. If you have to reinstall for whatever reason settings like this waste time. Also, offer a "Classic" mode on a startup screen, not an option buried with hundreds of other options that almost requires a web search or posting to a forum to locate what you want to do.

Re:That's one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262135)

You provided your own link showing that they did. I recommend you read it.

That said, we will enable you to customize the casing, and we are exploring options for how to expose that choice. We will post again once we’ve settled on a final approach to be available in RTM.

Re:That's one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262219)

Trolls so busy trolling they forget to read!

I love the marketing speak (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 years ago | (#40262081)

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.

Re:I love the marketing speak (5, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I love the marketing speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263561)

mod this the hell up! its really not as sinister as every is making it out to be!

It's a free tool! (1, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40262097)

They give away an up-to-date free (as in beer) version of one of the most advanced software development tools on the planet, and yet people complain about its limitations.

Re:It's a free tool! (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40262151)

This reads like astroturf. People are actually complaining because the free new version is less capable than the old free versions to date.

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40263011)

Let's see if I've got this straight: "You gave me A, B, and C for free yesterday, and now you're only giving me an improved A and B for free? I deserve an improved C, too! You're a miserable, horrible entity for denying me the new and improved C!"

This reads like astroturf. People are actually complaining because the free new version is less capable than the old free versions to date.

So you've rationalized that all the complaining is somehow legitimate, and even insulted me as an "astroturfer" in the process. What makes you so damn deserving that they should give it away to you at all? It's this arrogant sense of entitlement that is so amazing to me.

Apparently the "Me" generation has begat the "Gimme!" generation.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:It's a free tool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263097)

In this case, C is the only thing relevant for developers.

Re:It's a free tool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263405)

The correct analysis would be "You gave me A, B, and C for free yesterday, and now you're only giving me an incrementally* improved A and B for free. Meanwhile, a different vendor is offering me A, B, and C for free yesterday, improved versions of A, B, and C forever, and if I feel I need them, free D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z under those same conditions, with assurances that they will get into other alphabets if more functionality starts to exist. If you wish to retain my support for your system, which is needed if you wish for your system to sell, give me back my C for free, or I start developing for these far nicer people."

That is to say, it's less a selfish demand and more of an explicit warning that this particular company now has competition that is efficiently eating away at its core business, so it may behoove it to not take things away from its developers.

*: Apparently unlike you, most of the modern development community does not find "can make things for the next version of our system" to be an "improvement", more of "expected of them as a bare minimum if they wish to keep their position as a dominant market force".

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

butlerm (3112) | about 2 years ago | (#40263719)

Let's see if I've got this straight: "You gave me A, B, and C for free yesterday, and now you're only giving me an improved A and B for free?

What would really happen if Microsoft crippled future versions of Visual Studio Express is that a market would be created for low or no cost alternatives. That would probably be a good thing but it would be annoying for many people to convert. It probably wouldn't be too hard to port KDevelop [kdevelop.org] to Windows, for example.

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40262155)

They're only complaining because they're removing functionality people were used to. I agree this is the right move though.

Re:It's a free tool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262507)

The old version still works perfectly fine for Windows 8 desktop apps.

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

finity (535067) | about 2 years ago | (#40262261)

That was my initial thought too. But the complaining worked, so more power to the complainers.

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40262835)

Yup. Who were they to whine that suddenly the express version was extremely limited in how the software made with it could be distributed!

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40262335)

>>>and yet people complain about its limitations.

If the MS software is free then you really have no right to complain.
It reminds me of when Fantasy & Science Magazine gave-away a free "digest" edition on amazon. As a digest, rather than get all ~15 stories/articles for free, you got 1 free story and 5-6 articles/reviews. A sampler basically. BUT people still complained about it:
- "I only got one story and some other junk."
Or "You have to pay $2 to get the full thing! No way."
Or "Amazon says they charged my account $0.00. I thought it was free??? What dishonesty! Never deal with this company again"

Re:It's a free tool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262387)

Yes, but they also removed the Standard tier with Visual Studio 2010 (formerly ~$300). Previously those people could use Express, but this felt like another attempt to push people to Professional (~$500). Also, a number of open source projects rely on Express to maintain their Windows builds of VS-compatible libs.

Re:It's a free tool! (5, Insightful)

pympdaddyc (586298) | about 2 years ago | (#40263005)

Okay, wanking about whether or not people have entitlement issues is missing the core of the situation.

There are developers that will be new to .NET development, and there will be developers that have already been developing desktop applications against the Express versions of the software. If we have learned nothing from the gaming console or phone platform wars, it is that you want to encourage application development. Any barrier to entry or project sustainability, even one that is merely perceived, will cause some number of people to pick a different platform to learn and grow on, and the .NET ecosystem will shrink. There are plenty of other languages and IDEs to turn to that are free, easy, and reliably maintained without having to worry about version-ed crippleware.

I am a full-time .NET developer. I'm an MSDN subscriber and so am utterly independent of the Express versions. Yet I feel very strongly that incidents like this hurt me and hurt .NET development on the whole. As a developer community we're already hamstrung by the lackluster (or totally absent, depending on how you look at it) cross-platform availability for the .NET framework and culture that leans more corporate/enterprise. The least we can do is provide a basic, sustainable development tools for learners and free/open projects.

Re:It's a free tool! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#40263585)

They give away an up-to-date free (as in beer) version of one of the most advanced software development tools on the planet, and yet people complain about its limitations.

I think they were complaining because when a new Express version goes RTM, old Express versions are discontinued, and the new Express versions were announced to lack key features in the old Express versions, meaning that free access to features that are currently available in free versions of VS would no longer exist.

Express = Free? (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#40262101)

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

Re:Express = Free? (1)

owlstead (636356) | about 2 years ago | (#40262209)

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.

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262239)

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

It doesn't mean free. You misunderstand. You should be asking" "When did 'Express' come to mean 'lock you in and charge extortionate rates' in the software world, anyway?"

Re:Express = Free? (2)

pympdaddyc (586298) | about 2 years ago | (#40263047)

I am not sure what you mean. The .NET Express IDEs are truly, 100% free. Software you write with it is yours and can be sold or made open source.

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262307)

Because 'Outlook Express' was the free version of the Office-application 'Outlook'.... *ducks*

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262403)

I think they were trying to brand it as a creativity thing - "empowering you with the ability to express yourself".

Whereas the full VS is sold more as a professional set of tools to do Real Work on software (or a miraculous answer to all of life's problems)

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262627)

Heh, funny, I'd actually forgotten that Outlook Express ever existed.

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262481)

Heavy all-in-one office automation heavily integrated suites => Lightweight versions for lower end systems => Express version for low footprint/low features/low price market segmentation => Release low end version as freemium to buy mindshare of first time learners and encourage familiarity with heavy all-in-one interlocking ecosystem.

The magic of marketing, small constant incentives for ecosystem lock-in from primary education to legacy systems.

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263083)

BWAHAHAHA!

Last time I poked around with this, it wanted to install an SQL server.

Really. WTF.

Re:Express = Free? (2)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about 2 years ago | (#40262829)

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-starved or nerfed that the "Light" designation bestowed, even though they were doing the same thing as everyone else and shipping feature-starved, nerfed versions of programs they normally charged money for. So they came up with this word "Express" which means the same thing, but has connotations of being fast and easy. The first programs to use this designation were, as I recall, FrontPage Express and Outlook Express.

Re:Express = Free? (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#40263061)

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.

Re:Express = Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263259)

It might relate to express routes in buses and trains. They get you from point A to point B, but won't let you get off or on anywhere in between. In this instance, the software lets you build applications, but it does not let you have more advanced features.

Re:Express = Free? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#40263513)

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.

Wow, Single Vendor Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262139)

I work with NetBeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ on a regular basis. All of them are great IDEs.
Sure there are some things I like better about one versus the others, but I'm comfortable in all three.
If one of them decided to "drop support" for something I needed, I've got two other vendors to pick up the slack.
Visual Studio as a single vendor? Ouch .. that sucks!

BUT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262245)

IS IT STILL IN ALL CAPS?

A Microsoft story? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262349)

Lets do what Slashdot has done for over 10 years - bash, bash bash. If it were an Apple story it would be praise, praise praise. Seriously, it is old and quite pathetic at this point.

Re:A Microsoft story? (1)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | about 2 years ago | (#40262465)

To be honest, I'm seeing as much Apple bashing as I see Microsoft bashing here in /.
Now Google on the other hand can't seem to do any wrong.

Free publicity! (2, Insightful)

bregmata (1749266) | about 2 years ago | (#40262365)

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.

Well what do you know (4, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#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 got yer "Express" right heah! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40262537)

Wait, Metro. Wait, wut?

Oh, wait! That's that Windows 8 tablet/smart phone type interface bullshit, isn't it?

Fuck you Micros...wait, wut?

It's normal dev too?

Ok, then. n/m

Damn Straight! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40262575)

Tell the retard who designed metro to jump off the nearest bridge. Same goes for Ballmer. Get some fresh blood in that company stat!

Why Not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263017)

Why can't MS simply make metro the default UI but offer a simple way for those who want the traditional Desktop and Start Menu?? Surely if we're paying for the software we should be allowed to choose how we use it? Wouldn't this avoid alienating a massive part of their user base? Not saying I don't like the attempt to push a new better UI but why should we be forced to use something that so many seem against!

Either way those that want a desktop / start menu combo will either tweak windows to there needs or someone will release some software to get around it.

Kind of moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40263409)

It doesn't really matter. MSVC 6 was the last viable platform for serious software development on Windows. All the .NET stuff is just geared toward platform lock-in and isn't used by most software companies.

It's not too late, Win8 RTM isn't out yet... (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | about 2 years ago | (#40263501)

...there's still time for MS to consider that we're quite aware that they could sell Metro as a standalone app if it was so fantastic that everyone would buy it. Well, y'know, if everyone was using the hardware it's designed for...to say nothing of making it appear that the past seventeen years of Start-button UI development has apparently been going nowhere now that we apparently can't cope with two different ones.

And even ignoring Metro - what's in Win8 for the single-machine user? The list of truly minor improvements described as 'features' is embarassing - for example; an app store? Thank you MS, I'm so glad I paid for this! Faster bootup? Buy an SSD, it'll cost a third of the price. There isn't a single must-have feature. It doesn't even have a new DirectX to tempt the gamers.

Roll on Win9 with its 'because we listened' UI.

Wise decision (1)

grungeman (590547) | about 2 years ago | (#40263673)

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 intends to do. Since Metro and Aero are so fundametally different concepts, I suggest that Microsoft should offer a transition path that builds a bridge to Metro and allows developers to gradually adapt the Metro design. Maybe they could start with looking how the guys at www.iconexperience.com [iconexperience.com] have done this for their icons.
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