Microsoft Visual Studio
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A typical "hello world" program in Visual C++ 2005.
|Stable release:||8.0.50727.42 (October 27, 2005) [+/-]|
|Preview release:||None [+/-]|
|Use:||Integrated development environment|
Microsoft Visual Studio is an advanced integrated development environment by Microsoft. It lets programmers create programs, web sites, web applications, and web services that run on Microsoft Windows, PocketPC, Smartphones, and the World Wide Web.
Visual Studio includes the following:
Some versions include a developer edition of Microsoft SQL Server.
In the past, the following products were included:
- Visual InterDev, a web page development application used for modifying Active Server Pages as well as HTML and other web scripting files.
- Visual J++, a Java development tool.
- Visual FoxPro, an xBase programming language now allied to but independent from the Visual Studio platform.
Visual Studio 97
Microsoft first released Visual Studio in 1997, bundling together many of its programming tools for the first time. Visual Studio 97 was released in two editions, Professional and Enterprise. It included Visual Basic 5.0 and Visual C++ 5.0, primarily for Windows programming; Visual J++ 1.1 for Java and Windows programming; and Visual FoxPro 5.0 for xBase programming. It introduced Visual InterDev for creating dynamically generated web sites using Active Server Pages. A snapshot of the Microsoft Developer Network library was also included.
Visual Studio 97 was Microsoft's first attempt at using the same development environment for multiple languages. Visual C++, Visual J++, InterDev, and the MSDN Library all used one environment, called Developer Studio. Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro used separate environments.
Visual Studio 6.0
The next version, version 6.0, was released in 1998. The version numbers of all of its constituent parts also moved to 6.0, including Visual J++ which jumped from 1.1, and Visual InterDev which was at 1.0. This version was the basis of Microsoft's development system for the next four years, as Microsoft transitioned their development focus to the .NET Framework.
Visual Studio 6.0 was the last version to include Visual Basic as most VB programmers knew it; subsequent versions would include a quite different version of VB based on .NET. It was also the last version to include Visual J++, which included deeper ties to Windows and proprietary extensions to the Java language that were incompatible with Sun's version. This caused Sun to sue Microsoft. As part of the settlement, Microsoft would no longer sell programming tools that targeted the Java Virtual Machine.
Although Microsoft's long-term goal was to unify its tools under one environment, this version actually had one more environment than VS 97. Visual J++ and Visual InterDev broke away from the Visual C++ environment, while Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro maintained their separate tools.
Visual Studio .NET (2002)
The biggest change was the introduction of a managed code development environment using the .NET Framework. Programs developed using .NET are not compiled to machine language (like C++ is, for example) but instead to a format called MSIL or CIL. When an MSIL application is executed, it is compiled while being executed into the appropriate machine language for the platform it is being executed on, thereby making code portable across multiple platforms. Programs compiled into MSIL can be executed only on platforms which have an implementation of Common Language Infrastructure. It is possible to run MSIL programs in Linux or Mac OS X using non-Microsoft .NET implementations like Mono and DotGNU.
Microsoft introduced C#, a new programming language, that targets .NET. It also introduced the successor to Visual J++ called Visual J#. Visual J# programs use Java's language syntax. However, unlike Visual J++ programs, Visual J# programs can only target the .NET Framework, not the Java Virtual Machine that all other Java tools target.
Visual Basic was drastically changed to fit the new framework, and the new version was called Visual Basic .NET. Microsoft also added extensions to C++, called Managed Extensions for C++, so that C++ programmers could create .NET programs.
Visual Studio .NET can be used to make applications targeting Windows (using Windows Forms, part of the .NET Framework), Web (using ASP.NET and Web Services) and, with an add-in, portable devices (using the .NET Compact Framework).
The Visual Studio .NET environment was rewritten to partially use .NET. All languages are unified under one environment, except for Visual FoxPro. Compared to previous versions of Visual Studio, it has a cleaner interface and greater cohesiveness. It is also more customizable with tool windows that automatically hide when not in use.
Also in this version, Visual FoxPro was no longer being bundled and is now sold separately.
The internal version number of Visual Studio .NET is version 7.0.
Visual Studio .NET 2003
Microsoft released Visual Studio .NET in 2002 (the beta version was released on the Microsoft developer network in 2001). Microsoft introduced a minor upgrade to Visual Studio .NET in 2003 called Visual Studio .NET 2003. At that point, it referred to the previous version as Visual Studio .NET 2002. It included an upgrade to the .NET Framework, version 1.1. It also came with built-in support for developing programs for mobile devices, using either ASP.NET or the .NET Compact Framework. As well, the Visual C++ compiler was improved to be more standards-compliant, especially in the area of partial template specialization, and a free version of the same C++ compiler shipped with Visual Studio .NET 2003 was made available to the public, although without the IDE, called Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 (no longer available and now superseded by the Express Editions).
Visual Studio 2003 shipped in four editions: Academic, Professional, Enterprise Developer, and Enterprise Architect. The Enterprise Architect edition included an implementation of Microsoft Visio's modeling technologies, which focused on creating Unified Modeling Language-based visual representations of an application's architecture. "Enterprise Templates" were also introduced, to help larger development teams standardize coding styles and enforce policies around component usage and property settings.
The internal version number of Visual Studio .NET 2003 is version 7.1.
Visual Studio 2005
Visual Studio 2005, codenamed Whidbey (a reference to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound), was released online in October 2005 and hit the stores a couple of weeks later. Microsoft removed the ".NET" moniker from Visual Studio 2005 (as well as every other product with .NET in its name), but it still primarily targets the .NET Framework, which was upgraded to version 2.0.
The most important C# language feature added in this version was the introduction of generics, which are very similar to C++ templates. This potentially increases the number of bugs caught at compile-time instead of run-time. C++ also got a similar upgrade with the addition of C++/CLI which is slated to eventually replace Managed C++.
Other new features of Visual Studio 2005 include the "Deployment Designer" which allows application designs to be validated before deployments, an improved environment for web publishing when combined with ASP.NET 2.0 and load testing to see application performance under various sorts of user loads.
Visual Studio 2005 also added extensive 64-bit support. Visual C++ 2005 supports compiling for x64 (AMD64 and EM64T) as well as IA-64 (Itanium). Previous versions of Visual Studio did not come with 64-bit support. The Platform SDK only included the 64-bit compilers and 64-bit versions of the Visual C++ 6.0 libraries. 64-bit versions of Visual C++ .NET 2003 libraries were available only by e-mailing Microsoft.
Visual Studio 2005 is available in several editions, which are significantly different from previous versions: Express, Standard, Professional, Tools for Office, and Team System. For a side by side comparison of the various editions, visit Microsoft's Product Feature Comparisons. In addition to these, four separate Team System editions are provided in conjunction with MSDN Premium subscriptions: Team Suite, Team Edition for Software Architects, Team Edition for Software Developers, and Team Edition for Software Testers. Team Edition for Database Professionals is currently a Community Technology Preview and will be a separate Team Edition product and part of Team Suite when it launches.
Team System includes support for large development organizations, and comes in separate editions for software architects, developers, and testers.
Tools for the Microsoft Office System lets developers create extensions to Microsoft Office.
Express Editions were introduced for amateurs, hobbyists, and small businesses, and are available as a free download from Microsoft's web site. There are Express Editions for each language (Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual C#, Visual J#), each targeting the .NET Framework on Windows, as well as a Visual Web Developer for creating ASP.NET web sites. The Express Editions lack many of the more advanced development tools and extensibility of the other editions.
Other than the Express Editions, individual language editions of Visual Studio are no longer available for purchase.
Visual Studio 2005's internal version number is 8.0.
The successor to Visual Studio 2005, code-named Orcas, is currently under development. The name Orcas is, like Whidbey, a reference to an island in Puget Sound, namely Orcas Island. The successor to Orcas is code-named Hawaii.
Visual Studio has a facility for developers to write extensions (or add-ins) for Visual Studio to extend its capabilities. These add-ins "plug into" Visual Studio and offer some benefits not available from Visual Studio itself. For example, some add-ins offer optimized builds or enhanced programming tools or other rapid application development features. Others provide support for new languages. Add-ins can be developed in the Standard (and higher) versions of Visual Studio 2005. Express Editions do not support hosting add-ins.
- Microsoft Visual Studio Express - Free, Lightweight version of Visual Studio 2005.
- SharpDevelop - Open source IDE.
- Dynamic-Link Library
- Visual SourceSafe
- List of Microsoft Visual Studio Add-ins
- Microsoft Visual Studio Official Website
- Visual Studio Product Line Feature Comparisons
- Microsoft Visual Studio Team System page
- Microsoft Visual Studio SDK
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