Microsoft debuts Visual Studio 2012, the only (free) way to create Windows applications

I’m not a coder. I don’t develop applications. I almost flunked the only programming class I ever took. So obviously, Microsoft’s announced new software absolutely does NOT have me in mind, but that isn’t a problem – I’m a reporter, not their intended audience. However, details about the new Windows 8 developmental tool, Visual Studio 2012, do catch my attention, and it’s clear that this is an important development for… well, developers.

In an unusual move today, not only did Microsoft announce the release of Visual Studio 2012 — a tool used to develop Windows programs — but announced it is free and also issued the first update for this new (free) developmental software. The update will include useful things like serious load-testing capability and integration with SharePoint for ease of distribution. On top of this surprising announcement, Microsoft is also bragging about the fact that they’ll be pushing out bugfixes and updates every three weeks – faster than I imagined Microsoft could actually move, given their normal update schedule.

For the retro-designer, Microsoft surprised us with the announcement that Visual Studio 2012 would support development of C++ applications for Windows XP, on top of being able to design apps for Windows 8 desktops (and phones, one would assume). This means not only is Visual Studio 2012 free to use for Windows 8 applications but also Windows XP/Vista/Win7 programs.

With Microsoft’s recent announcement that they are opening up the Windows Store to apps from individual developers without company accounts, there was some understandable caustion on the part of new developers – not because they had the market opened up to them, but because the only way to design applications for use with Windows 8 systems was the paid for (and fairly pricy) professional edition of their development software. With Visual Studio 2012, now there’s a free alternative. Hopefully this will encourage even more budding developers to wade into the Windows 8 app pool.

[via ArsTechnicaimage credit: Microsoft]

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