Wow… Free Visual Studio versions

One of the great strengths of the Java community is the quality of the free (as in both speech and beer) development environments, Eclipse and NetBeans. Although Microsoft let you have the .NET SDK for free (as in beer), there was no free IDE. Until now.

It appears that Microsoft is releasing the Beta for Visual Studio 2005 Express for free, and is at least considering it for the real release. This is a major step forward for Microsoft.

Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has started to make a play for developer mind-share again. While it has always had a very strong corporate developer presence, it’s penetration into the open-source and hobbyist markets, where a lot of innovative products come from, has left something to be desired. Besides the obvious political problems, the fact of the matter is that Visual Studio cost too damn much for hobbyist use. Looks like that’s about to change.

In the Java space, having quality free IDEs means that the commercial IDEs have to really lift their game to compete. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the .NET IDE space (which is larger than just Microsoft).

Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 20 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 22 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

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