Microsoft Takes Aim at 'Nonprofessional' ProgrammersBy Channel Insider Staff | Print
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The Redmond software vendor is targeting 18 million would-be programmers with its new Express line.On Tuesday, Microsoft officially took the wraps off a new line of low-priced tools aimed at nonprofessional programmers.
The first betas of both the full Visual Studio tool suite and the so-called "Express" versions of Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual J# and SQL Server (as well as a new product, Visual WebDev Express) will be available this week for download from the Microsoft Developer Network site. (Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 will be available to MSDN testers only; the Express betas will be open to anyone.)
Visual Studio 2005 (code-named Whidbey), SQL Server 2005 (code-named Yukon) and the Express family of tools are due to ship by mid-2005.
The Express tools fulfill that goal, Montgomery said. And with Microsoft expected to price each of the Express languages in the "tens of dollars" range, With Express, Microsoft thinks it's found the right combination of price and functionality for people who are interested in dabbling in new languages and writing simple but useful programs over a weekend, he added. (To encourage these "weekend warriors" to write simple programs, Microsoft is including starter kits built in conjunction with three content providers: eBay, Amazon.com and PayPal.)
Besides attracting a new cadre of customers, the Express tools will help Microsoft fulfill another mission. Microsoft has designed the Express versions of VB and VC++ so that programmers canuse them to write Windows client applications only. (Individuals who want to write Web applications will be directed to use Visual Web Developer Express.)