Microsoft extends Visual Studio Express 2012 to desktop apps

Previously, these packages were limited to Metro, Azure, Windows Phone, and the Web, but developer pressure has led to Microsoft offering a desktop version

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. Metro is the new tablet-style look and feel planned for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

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Developers were unhappy with the lack of desktop application support. "A few weeks ago, we shared our plans for the Express editions of Visual Studio 2012," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar, in a blog post on Friday morning. "As we've worked to deliver the best experience with Visual Studio for our platforms with Windows 8, Windows Phone, and for Web and Windows Azure, 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."

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop is due for release this fall, Somasegar said. "Adhering to the core principles we've set for our Express products, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop will provide a simple, end-to-end development experience for developing Windows desktop applications targeted to run on all versions of Windows supported by Visual Studio 2012. With this new Express edition, developers will be able to use C++, C#, or Visual Basic to create Windows desktop and console applications."

Microsoft last week began offering a Visual Studio 2012 release candidate, generally considered the last stage before a general product release. But Microsoft has not stated exactly when Visual Studio 2012 or Windows 8 will ship. Also in the Windows 8 realm, tools provider Telerik said this week it will preview its RadControls for Metro toolset at Microsoft's TechEd conference in Orlando, Fla. next week. RadControls for Metro features a set of XAML and HTML data visualization controls for Windows 8 Metro-style development, said Chris Sells, vice president of developer relations for Telerik. The company is looking to add further controls as well. "We're starting at data visualization because that's one of the places that Microsoft has left a big hole in support for application-building on the Metro-style UI," Sells said.

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