Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions are free downloads

Microsoft has launched the Express Editions of Visual Studio 2005:

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

Each of these is a simplified and streamlined version of Visual Studio 2005 focused on development in a single language (except Visual Web Developer, which includes Visual Basic and C#). A full run-down of the feature differences between these Express Editions and the full Visual Studio 2005 can be found in the product feature comparison matrix.

In short, all the essential features for building ASP.NET 2.0 Websites are here. The Express Editions include a simplified user interface and limited features (e.g., you can only interface with databases on your local computer), but for developers building simple sites or just getting started with .NET for Windows desktop or Web development, there’s more than enough meat in these products. Visual Web Developer Express Edition, in particular, is a must-download for anyone currently working with ASP.NET Web Matrix, though developers should note that these Express Editions are not backwards compatible with version 1.x of the .NET Framework — they can only be used to develop for .NET 2.0.

Although Microsoft had previously announced each of these Express Editions at a price point of US$49, it has instead launched them as free downloads for one year. In a year’s time, Microsoft may elect to begin charging for the software, but anyone who has downloaded it during the free download period will have it for keeps–this is not expire-ware.

Also available is SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, the successor to the aging MSDE database. Perfectly suited for use as a local database for Web development, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition will remain free for as long as the product is available.

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  • http://www.lowter.com charmedlover

    Nice! Downloaded a few of them and I’m installing them now. I started out in VB, but the disk I had got corrupted (VB6). It will be nice to be able to play around a bit in it again.

  • http://learnwebdesignonline.com artcoder

    Is the free version legal to be used for commercial purposes? Or is it one of those “for educational use only; not to be used for commerical purposes”?

    -artcoder
    http://myblog.webmarksonline.com

  • Philky

    You can use it for commercial purposes. It is in the FAQ on the Microsoft site.

  • M. Johansson

    I still think it’s a bastard that the Express SQL Edition doesn’t contain any administration interface. A tool for copying the content on the server to your web host would not be a bad idea.

  • http://www.divbyzero.org Div By Zero

    Nice move from Microsoft, I think I’ll give it a try

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    M. Johansson said:

    I still think it’s a bastard that the Express SQL Edition doesn’t contain any administration interface. A tool for copying the content on the server to your web host would not be a bad idea.

    What you want to look at is Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express (Community Technical Preview).

  • Sojan80

    And if you’re just getting started (as I am) with ASP.NET 2.0 I got the resource CD with this one which had 8 tutorials in VB and C# from http://www.Learnvisualstudio.net which is a site that has over 500 video tutorials for using both the express editions and the regular Visual Studio software.

    The tutorials though (beyond the 8 on the CD) are only available through subscription, but the rates are REALLY reasonable. I think a lifetime subscription was like $95.

    The other thing I like about the tutorials is that they are taught by a Microsoft MVP Programmer, which hopefully means they are teaching you best practices for development which is also something I am keen to learn more about.

  • materix

    On the “product feature comparison matrix” is says that the express edition has
    “Source Code Control: No”. What does that mean?

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    materix said:

    On the “product feature comparison matrix” is says that the express edition has
    “Source Code Control: No”. What does that mean?

    Source code control is a system whereby one or more developers working on a project can keep track of the different versions of the files that make up a project, and the changes that were made in each one. Developers can “check out” files so only they can work on them, then “commit” them back to the central server so that the other developers can get these changes. Microsoft’s product for doing this is Visual SourceSafe, but there are other options like CVS and Subversion that are more widely used.

    The Express Editions do not include built-in support for tracking your code in this type of system. That doesn’t prevent you from using a (possibly free) 3rd party tool to do this, however.

  • materix

    Kevin, Thx for the reply.

    Microsoft must feel a pressure from the open-source movement, and therefore launching these free products.
    Do you think this will be a major blow for it’s open-source competitors?

  • T

    Cool. Can I write C++ code in Visual C#?

  • nova

    c-sharp !== c

  • http://www.phpsimplicity.com NeverMind

    Cool. Can I write C++ code in Visual C#?

    why don’t you just use Visual C++?

  • http://learnwebdesignonline.com artcoder

    Cool. Can I write C++ code in Visual C#?

    No, you can not write C++ code in Visual C#. Although there are much similarities in the two languages. If you are learning, mind as well learn C# — the latest evolution of the C language.

  • Dr Livingston

    What I am more concerned about is the requirement of the .Net 2.0 framework to be installed before you install the Express download :(

    I don’t want to develop with .Net so why is there a need for it? But I suppose if it’s free, well I shouldn’t grumble huh…

  • Sojan80

    Kevin said you could only interface with databases on your local machine, so does this mean you can’t develop an application which would use say a MySQL Database provided by your hosr as the back end because it won’t connect to it? Do you need some sort of an interface to make it work with MySQL databases or is that one of the databases it works with natively?

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    Kevin said you could only interface with databases on your local machine, so does this mean you can’t develop an application which would use say a MySQL Database provided by your hosr as the back end because it won’t connect to it? Do you need some sort of an interface to make it work with MySQL databases or is that one of the databases it works with natively?

    You can certainly develop for a MySQL database on your host. You’ll just need to have a MySQL server set up on your local machine for use in development. Once you upload your finished application to your host, it’ll use your host’s server.

    The .NET Framework can connect to MySQL; you just need to include the MySQL .NET Connector in your application as a library. Alternatively, you can install the MySQL ODBC Connector and use .NET’s built-in ODBC support to connect to the database. Some hosts may prefer you to use one or the other.

  • Sojan80

    Dude you totally Rock! Thanks Kevin! I figured some one here at sitepoint would know the answer…

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  • i_like_php

    my hang up’s about this stuff, is whenever you’re ready to compile a program it literally freezes my machine.

    anybody having this problem while using Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition?

  • Sojan80

    So this is the final releases then? We’re not in Beta anymore? The last version of visual web developer I had was VWD Beta 2. Looks like I am downloading this and the rest of the express developer tools tonight!

  • VBoy

    Hi Guys,

    If I make a program for say a mortgage calculator with the Express FREE edition. Can I sell it for a profit? with the free release.

    anyone have a link to the site on MS that shows its free for commercial use? all i see is free for hobbyists, students.. .. etc

    Thanx

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    VBoy,

    If I make a program for say a mortgage calculator with the Express FREE edition. Can I sell it for a profit? with the free release.

    Yes, you can. From the FAQ on the site,

    4. Can I use Express Editions for commercial use?
    Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using the Express Editions.

  • Cibanik

    Does someone knows how to change the default browser the Visual Web Developer Express uses? I had Firefox as my default browser when I first installed it. After that I changed it to IE and reinstalled VWD and it still uses Firefox when I try to debug anything from there…

  • mr .ok

    SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Vs MySQL
    Which one is better??? And why it is better???
    Any link to verify the reason???

  • mx2k

    mr .ok,
    depends on what your needs are. however i’d personally go for mysql 5.0 over the express 2005 edition. sql 2005 thus far has been a pain to install on some machines.

  • http://www.napathon.net/ vinyl-junkie

    I’ve read all the comments here, but I’m still confused by what you meant when you said that you can only interface with databases on your local computer. Is that because only one hosting company is currently offering ASP.NET 2.0? (See question #30 in Microsoft’s FAQ).

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    I’m still confused by what you meant when you said that you can only interface with databases on your local computer.

    If you’re developing a Web application where the database server runs on the same machine as the Web server, then you’re fine. As you develop the site, you will run both your testing Web server and your testing database server on your own computer, and when you upload to the live server, both the Web and database servers will run there.

    If, on the other hand, you’re developing an application where your database server and Web server are two different machines, things will be a little less convenient. As you develop the site, Express Edition can’t talk to your testing database server if it’s on a different computer. So you’ll either need to write all your database-related code by hand, or you’ll need to run your testing database server on your own computer and make your application configurable enough so that when you deploy it to the live server it will then know to access the database on the separate, live database server.

  • itxitx

    Just not sure if I understood everything about DB access / design.

    Web Express Edition supports local/remote Databases.

    Other Express Versions only support local databases. But the final assemblie will be able to connect to a remote databse, if the appliction supports some kind of ini file containing connection string or whatever needed.

    Only the designing is limited to local databaes (ecept for Web Edition), I’m I right or didi I miss something?

  • ed welch

    Did anyone get the javascript debugger to work with a PHP application. I don’t mean debugging PHP, I mean debugging javascript in pages that are generated by PHP

  • Hugo Zapata

    Great news,, Microsoft giving its IDE for free.
    I have read the description and it says things about novice developers, students, but from what i see, anyone can take advantage of this great IDE’s, even experience developers. sure you get a lot of features with the $$ version, but if you can do what you want with the express edition then you dont have a reason to buy the super ultra feature loaded edition.

  • ed welch

    By the way it’s not free, it’s a one year trial.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    By the way it’s not free, it’s a one year trial.

    Not true, actually. The software may be downloaded for free for one year, but once you do you have a free license to use it indefinitely. Read the post above.

  • Joe Bob

    Hi There

    Can I use Access as my database?

    Thanks

  • Per

    Hi,

    In Visual Studio 2003, the connetion to MySQL was OK if you used MySQL .NET Connector and coded without the Server Explorer. However, it was very hard (if possible at all) to use the Server Explorer.

    Does anybody have experience with 2005 Express and the MySQL connection from the Server Explorer?

    Thx,
    Per

  • zolar

    I am presently using Compaq 5100US Presario Series with 512 MB RAM and when I use Visual Web Developer Express, I can work with it for a little while then my computer starts shutting down on it’s own. Do I need to get a new computer system to be able to code using visual web dev express with sql server express? I am currently looking at buying a new DELL and would like some advice on what it needs to have to be able to handle programming for Asp.net 2.0.

    Thanks for taking the time to listen.

    Jeff Anderson

  • http://www.napathon.net/ vinyl-junkie

    I am currently looking at buying a new DELL and would like some advice on what it needs to have to be able to handle programming for Asp.net 2.0.

    There is a page on Microsoft’s website that discusses hardware requirements, here:

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/4c26cc39.aspx

    Since you’re planning on getting a new computer, you might want to follow the links from that page to make sure you have all the software you need as well on that new PC.

    Good luck!

  • http://www.linux-juggler.com linux juggler

    i have download them but i have problems when i try to install VC.net .
    i have tired it on many computers but its gives me the same error every time ..

    any one have any idea ?

  • ikeo

    What error are you getting?

  • The Chinaman

    Change the browser:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2005/11/18/430943.aspx

    > Cibanik Says:
    >November 18th, 2005 at 5:10 am

    >Does someone knows how to change the default browser the Visual Web Developer >Express uses? I had Firefox as my default browser when I first installed it. >After that I changed it to IE and reinstalled VWD and it still uses Firefox when >I try to debug anything from there…

  • M. Johansson

    Wow, this blog is totally never updated and as such useless.

    /mattias

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  • dotnethunk

    well,its free for eternity only if u dont’ format your system forever,am i right??I mean,when I opted for visual web developer 2005 express,it had its own method of downloading,I cannot find any .exe file for its reuse once I format my system and if I do,I need to re-download.

    .Net 2.0 framework has automatically been downloaded but the problem is I cannot find the .net command prompt(which is found with .net 1.x),I mean theres no shortcut.what to do?

    well,Im into DotNetNuke as well.Im following traincert.net’s video tutorials.it says,for installing it,you need to create a new asp.net machine account.all goes well on the tutorial,but not on my system.it says name not found when I type ASPNET.wats going on??

    Im still a novice in .net tech,pl help me out.

  • Adrian

    Hi,

    I know part of this has been addressed above but I’m a real newbie and cant fully grasp it yet.

    I want to develop a desktop app that reads and writes to a sql server database hosted on my web hosting account.

    Does this mean I fall foul of the local database only limitation of express version and need to get the standard/prof version?

    Also do I have to have certain types of sql server hosting or should all work, eg SQlserver 2000/server 2005 dsn/dsnless.

    Many thanks to all

    Adrian

  • lowfive

    hi everyone,

    anyone got an example of a code snippet that works on Visual Web Developer 2005 Express plz??

  • NewComer

    Hi,

    Anyone knows on how to link Microsoft Access Database to Visual c++ 2005 Express Edition? I need know the how the link have to be established?

    Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.napathon.net/ vinyl-junkie

    NewComer, you might want to post your question on the SitePoint forums (see the link at the top of this page). Note: You must be a member to post, but registration is free. Good luck!

  • Aurangzeb

    if any one can help in how to retrieve data from datagridviewer rows and colums
    thank if u have the solution.

  • Aurangzeb

    1) If anyone can help me in Retrieving data from datagridviewer’s
    rows and columns.

    2) how to add a button to your datagridviewer’ textcolumn field

    thanks if you send help.

    send me on the following email address mirza_ashraf_vbdeveloper@yahoo.com

  • nip0n

    1) Can any1 tell is enough to use Express edition to develop b2b solution web site or must buy regular VS 2005?

    2) And is any1 try to run both product on same machine beacuze when you try download Visual web developer on first point say:

    “Before installing, you must uninstall any previous versions of SQL Server 2005,

    Visual Studio 2005

    , and the .NET Framework 2.0.”

    Hmm..why we can’t use payed VS 2005 and Visual express Web Developer tool?

    I need VS 2005 to develop some “.exe” programs…and express edition is nice topic oriented package

  • Dan

    Data Connections only show Access and MSSQL connection, yet I have ODBC for MySQL and DB2. Why dont those show up?

  • parwateesam rajan


    Very Nice! Downloaded a few of them and I’m installing them now. I started out in VB.NET, C#.NET, WEB DEVELOPER ,It will be nice to be able to play around a bit in it again

  • RemoteUser

    Hi,

    Nice site, well done! Please keep it up.

    Would someone know where I can get/buy CD/DVD versions of the Visual Studio Express 2005 & SQL Express. I do not have enough internet connection/bandwidth to download all the Express executables/ISO images and hence this request. Thank you.

    Regards.

  • Silas Underdog

    Hey everbuddy. I have dial-up, and can’t get better where I am located, and some time ago I ordered a free trial of Visual Studio 2005 from Microsoft. It came on DVDs. It has VS 2005 Team Foundation Serve, Team Suite and SQL Server Developer Edition. I couldn’t install it at the time because I needed SP1 and SP2. Since then I have downloaded SP1 and ordered SP2 on CD from Microsoft. Do you think if I installed this now that I could get some kind of update from Microsoft that would turn this into the Free Version.

    I thank you

  • Amit

    Hi,
    I have downloaded VS 2005 Express Edition for Web. have a issue with design view. whenever i add new website or items (.aspx) pages i am not able to see the design view !. If i click on design view not thing happes, only source view is displayed ?

    Cheers,
    Amit Joshi

  • Rodolfo

    Hey! and what about PostGreSQL via ODBC? can i connect visual basic express to postgres?

  • sau

    I have downloaded VS 2005 Express Edition for Web. have a issue with design view. whenever i add new website or items (.aspx) pages i am not able to see the design view !. If i click on design view not thing happes, only source view is displayed ?
    can any one tell me how it would resolved.
    my id saurabh.shuk@gmail.com

  • Morx

    Hi!!
    I’ve created a mysql database but I don’n know how to connect it to vb express. Is it possible? Can someone of you explain me step by step how to do this??

    please help me!!!:P

    THANKS A LOT

  • .NET student

    I want to connect mysql database via visual c-sharp 2005 express, but i can’t find “Microsoft ODBC Data Source”(i have already install MyODBC) option in “DATA” — “Add New Data Source”…… menu item~~~
    Is visual c-sharp 2005 express not support to connect mysql with ODBC ?

  • tired

    hey anyone who can help me to do my work..I am looking for an example of log in code using visual basic 2005

  • Ralph S

    http://www.e-webdesign.ca I used VS Web developer to create a website but the ISP wouldn’t configure it with aspx extensions. This is my site address but I had the use front Page though I still think it is much easier to use than VS Web Developer. Some things I like in the program is the auto lowercase application. (Web Developer) and it has very good debugging applications. I used it to debug a Web site for a company and it was very useful. I like the way it tells you there x number of errors and you have to fix the errors before opening the view site page. (browser) It does have a lot of good things about it.

  • Anonymous

    i have a problem in connecting my sql to visual studio 2005 .NET

  • Mannu

    Is it legal to develop enterprise application using this free express edition

  • Rick Beardsley

    Has anyone been able to connect to MySQL 4.1.11 in Visual Web Developer 2005? I’ve tried ODBC 3.51 and 5 with no luck…. 3.51 has an access error for the user and password and 5 keeps looking on localhost no matter what I put into the server info…

    Thanks,

  • Sojan80

    I’ve gotten Connector.NET 5.1.2 to work on a Windows XP Pro box with no problems

  • Rick Beardsley

    Sojan80,
    I was only trying ODBC…. can you give me an example for the connection string in Visual Web Developer?

  • Sojan80

    Ooops forgot to escape it..

    <connectionStrings>
    <add name=”MySQLConn” connectionString=”Database=mySqlTest;Data Source=localhost; User Id=myUserId;Password=myPassword” providerName=”MySql.Dat.MySqlClient”/>
    </connectionStrings>

    and

    <assemblies>
    <add assembly=”MySql.Data, Version=5.1.2.2, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=C5687FC88969C44D”/>
    </assemblies>

    and the rest is history!

  • Anonymous

    thnx

  • chaitu

    hi,
    iam planning to develop a website in vs2005 express, Is there any issues to launch this site because microsoft has many privacy policies for their products so please give the information for this free edition.

  • Tying to get the hang of it

    Hi,
    I am new to Microsofts Developing Environment since I am a delphi windows application programmer and I dont have much experience with creating web based applications. Have experimented with VS Web Dev and SQL express edition and created some not too bad web sites on a local machine. However, I need to know what I am supposed to do if I have to access these over the internet. I have the basic ideas such as finding a web server to host the database but exactly how does that work.

  • ghost

    thank you