Microsoft's Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, the free version of its toolkit for writing Windows 8 desktop apps, is available for download as of today, September 12.
That's one of the news nuggets Microsoft officials revealed during today's virtual launch of Visual Studio 2012.
This past spring, there was much developer outcry over Microsoft's decision not to offer an Express 2012 for Windows Desktop SKU -- alongside free Express SKUs for Windows 8 Metro-Style (now known as Windows Store), Windows Phone, Web development and Windows Azure. Microsoft reversed course and added a version of its entry-level tool for those preferring to build Win32 desktop apps for Windows 8 using C#, VB.NET and C++. That product, Visual Studio Express 2012, is what will be available next week.
Other new developer tidbits did Microsoft announced today:
- There have been more than 600,000 downloads of Visual Studio 2012 SKUs since the RTM bits were made available in mid-August
- New F# Tools add-on coming to Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web. This will allow for F# development on ASP.NET, Azure and cloud. This add-in is available today, September 12.
- New TFS Power Tools for Visual Studio 2012 also is available today, September 12. TFS Power Tools are meant to supplement Team Foundation Server 2012 with advanced backup tools, extensions for Windows Explorer and PowerShell, and a process template editor.
- New Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio 2012: Additional tools and command line utilities that will be available for download in October 2012.
- New support for Windows Embedded: Adds access to application lifecycle managemenet (ALM) for Windows Embedded Compact developers. (The next version of Windows Embedded Compact is due out in the first quarter of 2013 now, instead of the latter half of 2012, as Microsoft originally expected.)