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Visual Studio is just way too expensive!

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    For someone, who is not in school and therefore can't get an educational copy, Visual Studio is just way too expensive! (more than $500 for 2003 Pro version alone) 

    How is someone supposed to break into the windows application development world when that person can't afford to buy the requisite tools?

    Microsoft appears to be doing a great job with .NET starter kit solutions and sample code (ASP and Windows Forms). How about a Visual Studio starter kit? For goodness sakes, you can build a PC for the amount of money it takes to buy VS 2003 Pro!

    Is anyone at MS listening?

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    You can download the .NET Framework SDK, that includes the C# compiler, for free.

    Then you can just use the editor of your choice and start coding. We all did that during the beta Smiley

    Or you can get Visual C# or VB.NET Standard edition, that are much cheaper than the full bore Visual Studio package.

    Or you can go watch VB at the Movies, contribute with some feedback and get a copy of VB.NET Standard ed for free Smiley

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    I'm going to have to agree with tLat on this one. I realize that you can use the SDK standalone and all, but that's just as cumbersome if not moreso than developing Java apps. The whole idea of Visual Studio is to make .NET development easier for the developer, and it takes care of so many of the little things that are such a pain in the butt.

    I come from an Oracle background, and have recently moved into the MSFT development world. I did that for a good reason because I'm not comfortable with the direction or the decisions that Oracle has made as a company over the past couple of years, but that's a whole other discussion for another time. My point here is that there is one thing that I definitely feel that Oracle has gotten right: their software availability. ALL of their databases and development tools are made available as a free download from their OTN web site ( and can be used with 100% functionality for an unlimited time without cost for non-commercial development. That's a perfect model. You want to use our products? Here ya go, have at it. You want to make a profit off of them, then it's going to cost you.

    I REALLY wish that MSFT would adopt a similar model with their software. I would LOVE to learn more about administering Windows Server 2003, and SQL Server, but don't really have much of an opportunity because I just flat out can't afford to buy a copy of them to play around with at home. But if MSFT would let people download and use them for free for non-commercial use (aka those of us who want to be able to just play around with stuff at home where we're not going to be making any profit off of it, just using it to learn on) I really think they'd have a lot more people adopting their technologies even faster than they do now, because they would be more widely available to people outside of corporate America. One thing's for sure, they'd have a lot more people that knew how to use their development tools better. Why do you think Java took off as fast as it did as a platform? It was because it's free to use. Certainly not because it's easy.

    Anyway, just my $.02.

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    (I am not gonna comment on Oracle... I am not gonna comment on Oracle... I am not gonna comment on Oracle... )


    You obviously don't have to depend on Microsoft for development tools.

    If you want a fully featured IDE, there's SharpDevelop (free) or the C# plugins for Eclipse (here's one).

    A decent replacement for SQL Server is MSDE, that's basically the SQL Server 2000 engine with a 5 user and 2Gb max db size limitations, and no visual management tools. But hey, once you used svrmgrl or sqlplus, everything is a breeze Smiley

    The main problem with non-commercial use of tools and systems is that there's a non insignificant part of the population that would take advantage of the offer just to get a free ride. It's that group of people that is ruining the party for everybody else...

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    Shame the offer is only for US and Canada.

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    In theory you can do just about anything. But when you apply for a job they want you to be productive in Visual Studio. Noone cares that you're a wizbang with Emacs hand coding MSIL. Get real.

    I agree with lTat. At the same time I see the problem with designing the license so enterprise customers still have to fork out cash for the full product.

    But how is that problem solved today? Lets face it - it's spelled p-i-r-a-c-y. And it's a BAD solution.


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    You mean you can't learn SQL Server in the 120 days they give you as a trial?

    I feel you on that one.  Oracle definately has a better way of getting people on board with it's products.  Now keeping them there is another story.  But like what was said that's another story.

    There are alternatives to the full blown  You could get the the inidvidual(C#, VB) languages for about $100 and use the online version of the MSDN.

    If is your game you could use Web Matrix from

    There are also the educational books you can buy which come with samples of VS.Net but then you are back at my first statement.

    Your best bet may be to get the individual language you want to learn and ude the online MSDN.

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    Also check ebay. Even if your not in acedemics, you can get acedemic versions there cheap, plus used copies of the enterprise and professional packages at discount.

    - surf

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    Maybe there should be a Microsoft Visual Studio.Net Outsourced & Unemployed Edition. Smiley


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    To learn .Net development there is no prerequisite for the purchase of Visual Studio.

    Microsoft does not sell the VB, C#, J#, JScript or C++ compilers. They are all free. They are part of the Framework SDK and C++ SDK.

    Microsoft is selling a productivity tool which is Visual Studio. In each version (Pro, Ent) the glorified notepad gets more features, but the compilers are still free.

    I do not see a point in Microsoft lowering the price of Visual Studio as I am only purchasing it to increase the speed of my development. My time is worth the money.

    If I was breaking into a new language, I would be focusing more on the language than the tool used to produce the code. Sometimes learning a language without the aide of a development tool gives you a better understanding of whats going on and makes you a more valuable programmer to the industry.

    This is just my opinion though.

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    If you're uber tech-geek and don't mind some headache like half-working help and few crash along the way, you could jump to the bleeding edge and find the CTP build of VS2005. If you have previous experience in C#-like languages (java etc), the half-working help along with good online resources shouldn't pose a problem for learning purposes. I am not sure how legal this is though, you could apply for the soon to come beta also.

    FluffyDevilBunny : Perhaps. But if one already has some Java experience or has read a book or two on C#, then the helper features of VS can make the learning more intuitive and you can concentrate on the .NET semantics instead of getting some syntax right. Though SharpDevelop could be an alternative worth looking at atleast initially.

    Edit: Mixed SharpDevelop with SharpReader lol

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    lars wrote:

    In theory you can do just about anything. But when you apply for a job they want you to be productive in Visual Studio. Noone cares that you're a wizbang with Emacs hand coding MSIL. Get real.

    Funny, where I work we don't care if people know VS when we interview.  We presume that anyone can learn an IDE and we only worry that you know the languages we use and that you have some other knowledge that is useful to our team.  Of our last three or four hires, only one had prior experience with VS and that was while working on XBox games.  Come to think of it, they could be working with emacs right now.  I wouldn't know since it only matters that their code functions.

    Do you actually list Visual Studio as part of your skill set?

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    Lowrez wrote:
    We presume that anyone can learn an IDE and we only worry that you know the languages we use and that you have some other knowledge that is useful to our team.

    I agree 100%. Now that isn't to say that I don't get impressed when someone says I use Emacs totally. I just beleive that the knowledge of the language/architecture is king and the IDE you use is semantic.

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    Lowrez wrote:
    I wouldn't know since it only matters that their code functions.

    That's great. But in my world the time and cost of producing that code also matters. It also matters that the project is developed with a somewhat standard set of tools and practises. In case the hardcore Emacs nut get run over by a forklift some day...

    I think Visual Studio is a wonderful and productive tool. And I wish everyone the same experience I get from using it. Which is my motivation for wanting everyone to be able to afford it. And I guess that's abit naive. But it feels better to think that way.


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    Jeremy W

    Have they stopped selling the standalone versions then? I haven't had to buy Visual Studio in a year or two, but back then they had the standalone versions C# development studio, for instance which were 70-120$.

    Also, if you're a student, you qualify for the educational versions through your University, which'll bring the price down to 100-200$ anyways.

  • User profile image

    Jeremy W. wrote:
    standalone versions C# development studio, for instance which were 70-120$.

    Correct. The standalone version of VC#.Net is about $120. I think that's very resonable.


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    Is there actually a Web Edition of Visual Studio, or are the standalone versions of VB.NET and C# capable of that?

    There should be a slimmed down version of Visual Studio that just does Web Development (and Web Services I suppose) - i.e. no WinForms capabilities. If you are only doing ASP.NET development, why would you need WinForms? Also capable of doing VB.NET or C# coding.

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    Besides what everyone here has already mentioned, if you were looking for the database modeling capability like the one that comes with Enterprise Architect, then you should try the VisioModeler software. pretty interesting that this is still out there and that not too many people know about it... I did not even know about it until this morning.

    The interface leaves a lot to be desired (maybe it is time for a revamp), but it looks like it would do the job.

    Also as a note to the Whidby developers, update the Visio modeling tool so that it can be integrated into the IDE a little more, or installed as a seperate tool. Maybe an update to the VisioModeler is in order for those without the Enterprise Architect edition.

    The overview of tools on the ORM site was somewhat lacking. (to get a feel for what ORM is, Check out The .NET Show about it - Episode 25)

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