what is all the fuss about? There are free Visual Studio versions and compilers…

I want to give a short overview of the development tools made my Microsoft that are actually available for free:

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2003 Toolkit

    • C/C++ Optimizing Compiler and Linker
    • C Runtime Library and the C++ Standard Library, including STL
    • Microsoft .NET Framework Common Language Runtime
    • this is the complete C/C++ Compiler and Library packaged for those developers who care more about the command line than about a proper IDE. In fact this is essentially all you need to develop and build C/C++ projects – even commercial ones.
    • EULA
    • download

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions

    • comes in several flavours:

      • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express

        • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express is a stand-alone, lightweight, easy-to-use Web-focused tool for building ASP.NET 2.0 applications. It includes everything you need to begin building Web applications, including fully functional Starter Kit applications and a built-in development/test Web server.
        • download

      • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition

      • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition

      • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition

        • updated version of the Compiler/Linker and Libraries

        • download

      • Visual J# 2005 Express Edition

    • free for 1 year (until November 2006)
    • they are all fully usable for commercial projects – no license restrictions
    • about 35-70 Mbytes per Edition
    • MSDN Express Library is available (will probably increase the download to 400 Mbytes
    • a free SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is available for those who want to develop database applications
    • of course not all features of the commercial Pro/Team/… Suites are in the Express Editions but the IDE is quite complete and very powerful

So you can see – there are some ways to develop software with an IDE/Toolset that costs nothing more than the download bandwidth. So don’t complain that this evil empire called Microsoft is only forcing everybody to spend money on the development tools. Because it’s not. nuff said.