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Introduction to Microsoft Visual Studio Express Editions

What Is That?

Visual Studio Express Editions are a new line of Microsoft development Tools. This line of products is an expansion of the Microsoft Visual Studio and SQL Server products.

 

It is a lightweight, yet powerful, easy to use and learn tools for beginners, students, and hobbyist users.

Express products are:

  • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual J# 2005 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

With Express Editions you will be able to learn how to program using a lightweight streamlined environment with built-in tutorial contents, and evaluate the .NET framework for Windows and Web development. So, you can think of it as a step towards using the full professional editions.

In this tutorial we will try to give you a general idea about what the Express Editions can do, how they differ from the rest of Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions, how to obtain them and for what price, compatibility, installation, and more.

How Much Does It Cost?

Fortunately, You have to pay nothing to obtain these express editions. All of them are for free for every one.

On Brief

Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition

Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition is a stand-alone web focused tool for building ASP.NET 2.0 applications. It is a member of Visual Studio 2005 family and is designed exclusively to build web applications and web services. As Visual Studio 2005, Visual Web Developer does not support ASP 1.1. It supports development with Visual Basic and C# and includes a rich HTML and XML editors. It comes also with a built-in web development server giving you the ability to build and test web applications without the need to setup an IIS server. This indeed a great time saver as this setup is traditionally known to be somewhat time consuming and is a source of some possible hassle.

You can use this product to edit web projects created with Visual Studio 2003 as a backward compatibility. When you do this, the Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition converts your old application to a new formats giving to you the ability to continue working with the new features supported in this edition. Note that the conversion process is one-way, means that you will no longer be able to to continue to work with this converted application in Visual Studio 2003. Because of that the conversion process creates a backup of your project before converting it, an appreciated backup scenario.

If you convinced with this nice tool and want to upgrade to Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, don not worry much about the application you built using Express Edition. There is 100% compatibility between both of Express Editions and the Professional one.

Visual Studio Web Developer Express Edition comes with a fully functional starter kit applications designed to help you learn ASP.NET 2.0 and cover common web development scenarios. Each sample is complete, functional and well documented so you can start building your first web application immediately.

To download Visual Studio Web Developer Express Edition, click here. You can setup it directly from the web and in the same time you can download it for a later offline setup process. If you are to select the offline setup process then you will need to perform a process of burning the downloaded CD image into an actual CD-ROM disc or at least you can use one of the programs that can extract ISO CD images (Examples: Win ISO, Virtual CD, ... etc)

Visual Basic, C#, C++, J# 2005 Express Editions

These programming tools is a lightweight reduced version of professional editions and are designed for beginners and hobbyists.

With Visual Basic and Visual C# 2005 Express Editions you can develop windows applications, consol applications (which are command line applications), and reusable components.

With Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition you can develop native (unmanaged, WIN32 API) applications as well as managed applications. You can also develop consol applications, and class library applications. With Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition you can take the full advantages of programming with WIN32 API.

Like Visual Basic and Visual C# 2005 Express Editions, Visual J# 2005 Express Edition gives you the ability to develop windows applications, consol applications, and reusable components. Adding to this the fact that Visual J# 2005 Express Edition introduces you to the world of JAVA in an easy yet powerful way while gaining full access to the Microsoft .NET framework class libraries! ... A mix that is not available every where indeed.

To download Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition, click here

To download Visual C# 2005 Express Edition, click here

To download Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, click here

To download Visual J# 2005 Express Edition, click here

Please get back to the section about downloading and setting up Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition above for more details about the download and setup process.

SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

SQL Server Express is a lightweight version of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 with the benefits of fast downloading and installation, simplified database administration, free management tools, full integration with Visual Studio Express Editions, ease of deployment, reporting services, plus free starter kits and rich documentations and tutorials.

Although included with the express suite of tools, the express edition of Microsoft SQL Server is widely used in many professional products as an easy to deploy, affordable database engine.

To download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, click here. Please get back to the section about downloading and setting up Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition above for more details about the download and setup process.

Differences

As we mentioned above, Express Editions are designed for beginners, students, and hobbyists. They are designed specially for scenarios common to those targeted people. The user interfaces are streamlined to ensure that more advanced features do not interfere with the learning process.

SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is designed for simple applications. It is limited to using 1 CPU, up to 1GB of RAM, and 4 GB maximum database size. It does not support SQL Server 2005 advanced features like Reporting Services, Data Transmission Services, Analysis Services, and Notification Services.

Compatibility

Fortunately, Visual Studio Express Editions can be installed side by side with other versions of Visual Studio. As an entry point for professionals, applications developed by Visual Studio Express Editions are showing 100% compatibility and ease of migration to higher end Visual Studio 2005 editions.

Express Edition as well as higher editions work perfectly with .NET framework 2.0 but does not support .NET framework 1.1

Installation

When you  click on the "Download Now" link, a bootstrap automated installer begins installing the software on your computer. If you encountered any problems with the automatic installer, or if you want to download an Express Edition to burn on a CD use manual installation.

The Manual Installation provides three options. They are, manually installing  your Express Edition on the local machine, burning the Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition to a CD, or Installing an Express Edition from CD.

More...

You can use Express Editions for commercial use. There are no licensing restrictions for using them in this regard.

You can get more starter kits for each Express Edition form http://msdn.microsoft.com

You can use Express Editions Forums to get help and support from other people using these Express Editions, as well as Microsoft products team members.

You can perform that registration of the Express Editions for some benefits like free books and articles.


For further information

Refer to the online copy of Microsoft Developers Network at http://msdn.microsoft.com or use your own local copy of MSDN.


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