Microsoft Reveals Visual Studio 11 Product Lineup, Adds Windows Phone

Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Phone is slated for release with the next version of Windows Phone, the company announced on Friday.

Microsoft has unveiled its final Visual Studio 11 product lineup and specifications, and the SKUs and hardware requirements are largely unchanged from Visual Studio 2010.

The major change involves the free Express tooling, which is now platform-centric (Windows 8 Metro, Windows Phone, Windows Azure) with multiple language support. This means that desktop application developers who want to use the latest tooling must purchase Visual Studio 11 Professional or higher.

Visual Studio 11 Ultimate is still the company's all-in-one Application Lifecycle Management platform. It integrates all of the tools (including the higher end testing functionality and design tools) with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server for team collaboration. Visual Studio 11 Premium offers most of the diagnostic and testing tools without the high level architecture and modeling support. Visual Studio 11 Professional is the entry-level developer product. Visual Studio LightSwitch, previously a standalone product, is now available in all three editions. All of the Visual Studio 11 products require Windows 7 or higher.

On Friday, Microsoft announced that it has added Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Phone to the lineup. The free tooling is slated for release with the next version of Windows Phone. The Visual Studio 11 previews (including the current beta product) have not supported phone development or out of band Windows Azure upgrades.

Express tooling for Windows Azure is expected with the next update of Microsoft's cloud platform, according to the Visual Studio team blog. In addition to the Windows Phone and cloud tooling, Microsoft is offering Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8, Visual Studio 11 Express for the Web and Visual Studio 11 Team Foundation Server Express. All three products are currently in beta and available for download.

The Visual Studio 11 default target for managed applications, running on Windows Vista or higher, is .NET Framework 4.5 or the VC11 tooling for native apps. Developers can use the IDE's multi-targeting support to run managed applications on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with .NET 4 and earlier versions of the framework, according to Microsoft. However, multi-targeting for C++ requires a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010.

The company is working on solving this issue, according to the Visual Studio Team blog:

"[W]e are evaluating options for C++ that would enable developers to directly target XP without requiring a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010 and intend to deliver this update post-RTM."

Pricing Preview
Microsoft offered developers a preview of its estimated retail pricing for the Visual Studio 11 products earlier this year. The company is planning to offer Visual Studio Ultimate with a 12 month MSDN subscription ($13,299), Visual Studio Premium with MSDN ($6,119), Visual Studio Professional with MSDN ($1,199) and Test Professional with MSDN ($2,169). Visual Studio Professional is also available as a standalone product without an MSDN subscription ($499). Full featured Team Foundation Server is $499, with the same ERP for a CAL (user or device). Outside of the entry-level Professional product without MSDN, Visual Studio 11 pricing is generally higher than Visual Studio 2010, which debuted in April 2010.

Upgrades for existing customers with MSDN subscriptions are considerably less, and Microsoft is encouraging developers to buy or upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 with MSDN to take advantage of the renewal pricing for the Visual Studio 11 lineup.

The pricing on Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN ($799) remains unchanged. However, the company is offering various incentives including a bundle with a discounted Samsung Series 7 Slate ($2,198). Microsoft is also reducing the pricing on Visual Studio 2010 Professional from $799 to $499 U.S. (Pricing outside of the U.S. may vary by region.)

In April, Microsoft expanded its licensing terms for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 to enable access to Server Reports and System Center Operations Manager, without a CAL purchase. In March, the company started to offer Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010 as a free download.

Visual Studio LightSwitch, which offers templates for building data-driven line of business apps, was released out of band last summer. It's availability as a standalone tool is ending when Visual Studio 11 is released, according to a blog posted by Jay Schmelzer, principal director program manager of the LightSwitch team at Microsoft. Visual Studio 11 is integrated with LightSwitch Version 2, which offers project templates for Windows 8 Metro style apps. LightSwitch also adds support for the OData protocol, which can be used for querying and integrating data services (HTTP, ATOM and JSON) into applications.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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