Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 Express and SQL Server Express gain momentum as the tools bring more kids and women into the developer ranks. Microsoft has made the tools free forever.
Just like tobacco companies and automobile makers, Microsoft knows that the best way to make sure that people will keep buying products is to get them into the hands of young people, especially young women.
For Microsoft, that means continuing the practice of offering the Express versions of its Visual Studio and SQL Server tools free to developers.
Microsoft announced this and a series of Visual Studio 2005 Express edition momentum news on April 19.
"Software has the potential to transform everyday lives," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft.
By making the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions available free of charge, were putting the power of code into the hands of an exploding community of recreational programmers. This community has asked for it, and we are excited to provide it."
Matt Trossen, president of Phidgets USA,
a producer electronics and components for robotics based in Westchester, Ill., said he sees the Microsoft Visual Studio Express tools as a good way to teach programming to newcomers.
"We are working toward combining the value of Visual Studio Express with Phidgets to build kits, projects, and curriculum for introducing to schools worldwide which are aimed at getting the next generations of programmers even more excited about learning programming," Trossen said.
"Through the use of Visual Studio Express with Phidgets, schools and teachers are finding a new way to show kids how they can learn to build projects never before possible.
"Initial response from education professionals has been very positive since it allows them to create much more interactive real world type projects that draw the interest of their students in."
Trossen said the Visual Studio Express technology, which he calls VSE, can help attract more women into programming.
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"While I dont have any demographics on the issue, I can tell you that the percentage of girls and women entering the field of programming is certainly growing," Trossen said.
"At many of the recent conferences we have attended there have been a much larger percentage of women in attendance than one would have expected," he said.
Tools for free.