Windows 8 is not the only product that Microsoft is currently working on. The company is also working on a refresh of their popular Visual Studio product lineup, and boy, there will be changes that will certainly irritate part of the user base that is currently working with the product.
Microsoft notes that Visual Studio 11 will only be available for Windows 7 or higher (which at the time of writing means Windows 8), and not for Vista, XP or other Windows operating systems. According to the official announcement, this is due to the leveraging of core capabilities that only those operating systems offer. Microsoft unfortunately fails to mention what these core capabilities are.
The company notes further that the default target for applications will be set to .Net Framework 4.5 when it comes to managed apps, which means that those will run on Windows Vista or higher, and not on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. If compatibility is an issue, developers can target new or existing applications to the .NET Framework 4.0 to ensure compatibility with those operating systems. I guess that is also official confirmation that the next iteration of the .Net Framework will not be compatible with Windows XP or Windows Server 2003.
But that is far from the only changes that will affect lots of Visual Studio users. Microsoft is a bit ambiguous in the blog post when it comes to Visual Studio 11 Express, and its support for desktop app development.
The Visual Studio 11 Express website on the other hand offers the following information that make it a lot clearer:
Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8 provides tools for Metro style app development. To create desktop apps, you need to use Visual Studio 11 Professional, or higher. In addition, Visual Studio 2010 Express products - Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C++ 2010 Express, and Visual C# 2010 Express - will remain available for free download.
This basically means that Windows 8 users who install Visual Studio 11 Express will only be able to develop Metro apps with it. And Windows 7 users?
It is likely that they can continue developing desktop applications with the programming environment, as it would not really make much sense to only give them the option to create Metro apps - which they can't test or use on the system - in Visual Studio Express 11.
Update: It seems that Windows 7 users won't be able to use Visual Studio 11 Express at all, only Express for Web and Team Foundation Server Express.
Users who want to stick with Visual Studio when it comes to developing applications need to download and use the previous versions of the program which have been available for a while.
What's your take on this?
Update: Microsoft has made a correction and announced Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop.
dhering to the core principles we’ve set for our Express products, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop will provide a simple, end-to-end development experience for developing Windows desktop applications targeted to run on all versions of Windows supported by Visual Studio 2012. With this new Express edition, developers will be able to use C++, C#, or Visual Basic to create Windows desktop and console applications. Developers will also get access to new advances available across the Express family in Visual Studio 2012, such as the latest compilers and programming language tools, integrated unit testing, and the ability for small development teams to collaborate via Team Explorer and TFS Express.