Microsoft Touting Visual Studio Express

    April 21, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The now-free version of the developer platform Visual Studio 2005 Express gives hobbyists and home developers the tools to hone their application development skills.

Microsoft plans to demonstrate its Visual Studio Express system at Maker Faire, the first ever fair from MAKE magazine. The fair will be held this weekend, April 22-23, at the San Mateo Fairgrounds in San Mateo, CA.

As one of the many sponsors of Maker Faire, Microsoft will bring along its freely available development product. Last November, Microsoft made Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express free downloads. Since then, the various editions have been downloaded over 5 million times.

All Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express, have been made available for free.

“Software has the potential to transform everyday lives,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “By making the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions available free of charge, we’re putting the power of programming into the hands of an exploding community of recreational programmers.

“This community has asked for it, and we are excited to provide it.”

The company also unleashed a new website on its Microsoft Software Developer Network. Called Coding4Fun, the website offers various Starter Kits that Visual Studio Express developers can use to quickly develop an application.

Selections from the assortment of Kits include a Classified Site Starter (just what eBay wanted to see), a Travel Log Starter Kit for travel planning and tracking, and a Skype Wrapper for .Net.

On the Coding4Fun site, various developers have contributed articles demonstrating the types of applications hobbyists and others can try. One recent contribution shows how to create a motion-detection capable webcam, for example.

At Maker Faire, Microsoft will show off the support it has received from companies like LEGO and eBay. That support includes the development of applications like programming LEGO Mindstorms robots or tapping into eBay’s assortment of web services. Microsoft also announced its Made In Express contest for developers:

Those who decide to test out the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions will have the opportunity to submit their projects to Microsoft’s Made in Express Contest, which was designed to highlight cool people doing cool things with the Visual Studio and SQL Server Express products. Attendees can also expect to experiment with the new Ultra-Mobile PC and a Portable Media Center device, as well as watch the Finalizer BattleBot in action.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.