October 31, 2012, 2:58 PM — Visual Studio is no longer simply an IDE, no longer a place you go just to write and debug C/C++ code. It has long since become something of a development mashup. It's where you go to tackle any task in the development process, regardless of the target. It's where you head to do your LightSwitch development, your SQL Server development, your Web application development, your Windows Azure development, and your ASP.Net or Windows Forms development in C#, F#, VB.Net, and -- oh, yes -- good old Visual C++. Naturally, it's where you build applications for http://www.infoworld.com/category/tags/microsoft-windows-azure and Windows RT.
That's not all. With the new Visual Studio 2012, you have to start wondering what you don't do in Visual Studio 2012. It's not the Master Control Program by a long shot ... but it's trying.
[ Learn how to work smarter, not harder with InfoWorld's roundup of all the tips and trends programmers need to know in the Developers' Survival Guide. Download the PDF today! | Stay abreast of key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]
As with earlier releases of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2012 is available in several editions. The Express editions are, of course, free. Whereas some of the non-free editions target QA and Team Managers, the Express editions are intended specifically for developers:
Express for Windows Desktop. This version of Express caters to the more traditional developer, one employing the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, or the tried-and-true Win32 libraries. This edition also supports the creation of Windows 8 Store applications.