Tools for Free
The educational and promotional value of offering the Express tools for free has been obvious to Microsoft. Initially Microsoft said it would offer the Express tools free as a promotion for one year, "but were announcing that Visual Studio Express will now be free forever. One big reason were doing this is adoption has been huge," said Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for Visual Studio Express.Fernandez said that since the launch of the Visual Studio and SQL Server Express editions on Nov. 7, 2005, a strong community has built up around the products, and the various editions have been downloaded more than 5 million times."In five months weve had 5 million downloads, which is huge for a development tool," Fernandez said. Read more here about Microsofts efforts in the enterprise tools space. Moreover, at the Maker Faire event put on by OReilly Medias Make Magazine, Microsoft will display how a variety of innovative companies are using Visual Studio 2005 Express editions to bring the power of code to the growing community of 18 million recreational and hobbyist developers, Fernandez said. The Maker Faire will be held April 22 and 23 in San Mateo, Calif. The SQL Server Express and Visual Studio Express editions are targeted at a variety of developers, from beginning Windows developers, hobbyist Web developers, amateur game developers and hardware developers, Fernandez said. All the editions of Visual Studio Express will be offered as free downloads: Visual Web Developer Express, Visual Basic Express, Visual C# Express, Visual C++ Express and Visual J# Express. Meanwhile, Microsoft also released new learning content on the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) Coding4Fun Web site, providing tools and resources for the community to get up and running quickly, the company said. Click here to read more about Microsofts designer tools. Moreover, companies such as Phidgets USA, Lego Group and eBay and have chosen to support the Visual Studio Express editions. Working in conjunction with Lego, Microsoft created an application that lets the robotics community use Visual Studio Express to program their Lego Mindstorms robots to do specific commands, such as maneuvering around obstacles, and control them from their computer keyboard or mouse, the company said. Next Page: Learning experiences.