Review: Visual Studio 2012 shines on Windows 8

Microsoft's everything-and-the-kitchen-sink IDE fuels Windows 8 and Windows RT development with smoothly integrated tools and an abundance of resources

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As I warned at the beginning, Visual Studio 2012 is a big product. There's a whole lot more I didn't touch on: testing features, project lifecycle management, version control features, Visual Studio's integration with other Microsoft products, and so on.

If you want to do Windows development -- particularly Windows 8 and RT development -- then Visual Studio is really the only game in town. This is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, Visual Studio 2012 does an admirable job as the platform for building applications for a dizzying variety of targets. On the other hand, if you don't like it, you're pretty much stuck with it. Nevertheless, countless successful applications, small and large, were born, raised, and graduated from the Visual Studio IDE. And countless more are still to come.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 at a glance

CostPlatformsPros Cons
Free Express editions; Professional with MSDN costs $1,199 ($799 renewal); Test Professional with MSDN costs $2,169 ($899 renewal); Premium with MSDN costs $6,119 ($2,569 renewal); Ultimate with MSDN costs $13,299 ($4,249 renewal).Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012
  • Visual Studio 2012 does a good job of combining user-interface and execution-logic construction under a single roof. This is particularly impressive given the range of targeted platforms.
  • Top-notch integration of development, code analysis, and debugging.
  • More samples and code templates than you'll use in a lifetime.
  • If you want to build a Windows 8 Application, Visual Studio 2012 is the only real game in town. This is not Microsoft's fault, but competition is always nice for the end-user/developer.
  • Visual Studio 2012 is big and complex. If you're new to it, it will take weeks to find your bearings.
  • To develop a Windows Store application (Windows 8 and/or Windows RT), you have to acquire a developer's license. The license is free, but at the time of this writing must be renewed monthly.

This story, "Review: Visual Studio 2012 shines on Windows 8," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in Windows and application development at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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