Free For the Taking: Visual Studio Express Editions

When the Express Editions were originally released, Microsoft stated that they would allow them to be freely downloaded for a period of time. Last week, Microsoft removed the time limit and stated that the 2005 Express Editions should always be free.

If you are not aware, there are six different Express Editions that Microsoft released. These are:

  • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual J++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

The SQL Server 2005 Express Edition was planned to remain freely available. This edition replaced the MSDE (Microsoft Data Engine) that had also been free for use. The news of the other editions going permanently free was well received.

According to a Microsoft press release, over 5 million downloads of the free editions have occurred since the release on November 7th of 2005.

"By making the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions available free of charge, we’re putting the power of programming into the hands of an exploding community of recreational programmers,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft.

Somasegar's comments are very true. With free editions of tools for doing Web development, Visual Basic development, and C#, Microsoft is making it very easy for new people to try out the tools and see if programming is something for them to do. If you haven't used any of these tools, you too can now try them out. You should find them all at

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About the Author

Bradley L. Jones


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