In response to developer reaction, Microsoft has done an about-face on its plans to not include support for developing Windows 8 desktop apps in the free Express version on Visual Studio 2012.
In May, Microsoft announced that the free, Express SKU of Visual Studio would support the development of Windows 8 Metro-style Win RT-based apps, but not desktop apps. Developers were up in arms, according to an Ars Technica article.
However, in a June 8 post on the Visual Studio team blog, Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsofts Developer Division, acknowledged that Microsoft heard its developer community loud and clear and would be including support for building desktop apps.
“A few weeks ago, we shared our plans for the Express editions of Visual Studio 2012. 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.Today, Im happy to announce that we will add Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop to the Visual Studio 2012 family. This will bring to the Visual Studio Express family significant new capabilities that weve made available in Visual Studio 2012 for building great desktop applications.“
Moreover, with this new Express edition, developers will be able to use C++, C#, or Visual Basic to create Windows desktop and console applications, Somasegar said. Developers will also get access to new advances available across the Express family in Visual Studio 2012, such as the latest compilers and programming language tools, integrated unit testing, and the ability for small development teams to collaborate via Team Explorer and TFS [Team Foundation Server] Express.
Visual Studio Express 2012 will be available this fall along with the other SKUs of Visual Studio to support app development on Windows 8.
Desktop development has always been a core part of Windows, Somasegar said. With Visual Studio 2012, we continue to extend those desktop development capabilities and provide a great development experience for developers building desktop applications.