78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Visual Studio 2008 is the latest version of Visual Studio. Visual Studio is Microsoft's primary IDE. It can be used to develop console applications, Graphical user interface applications, web sites, web applications, and web services in both native code as well as managed code for all platforms supported by Microsoft. It contains four major products Microsoft Visual C++, Microsoft Visual C#, Microsoft Visual Basic, and Microsoft Visual Web Developer. However, it is possible to integrate additional products like IronPython and IronRuby. I've integrated Microsoft Robotics Studio and the CCR (Concurrency and Coordination Runtime) libraries with my Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 (I also enhanced Visual Studio 2005 by downloading .Net 3.5).
Among the major enhancements to Visual Studio 2008 (as compared to Visual Studio 2005) are the .NET Framework 3.5, WPF, WCF, WWF, LINQ, and the language extensions in C# 3.0. The .Net 3.5/3.0 is really the item that provides most of those other components and Studio 2008 provides support and IDE. For us it is the language extensions in C# 3.0, for example, LINQ, and the more concise syntax to get lambda expressions to work that matters the most (the new "=>" operator). WCF (Windows Communications Foundation) is a new great programming framework that is used to build applications that inter-communicate. However, we are using CCR instead for that purpose. The CCR primitives are very easy to use and great for multi-threaded applications with, for example, autonomous agents. As I understand CCR is scheduled to be included with Visual Studio 2010/2011 but you can start using the CCR library now with Visual Studio 2005/2008.
Visual Studio 2008 Professional is targeted towards Professionals (software engineers, small development companies, etc.). If you are a student or a hobbyist you should instead down load the four Express editions of the products which you get for free. However, for serious programmers they are not enough. The four express editions are Visual Basic Express, Visual C++ Express, Visual C# Express, and Visual Web Developer Express. I will put a link for the free downloads in a comment that I will add later, and I will also give links for free .Net 3.5 download and CCR/DSS.
It should be noted that the Express Editions have significantly reduced functionality. They only include a small set of tools, and libraries. There is no remote database support for data designer, no extensibility, no class designer and several other tools, no Microsoft SQL Server integration, no support for plug-ins. x64 compilers are not available for the Visual Studio Express edition and there is only a smaller express edition of MSDN. Missing C++ related items are, for example: C++ Name undecorator, Spy++, ATL trace, MASM, Visual C++ Web deployment tool, Server Explorer, no create GUID tool, CRT debug library, CRT source code, ATL, MFC, OpenMP, C++ Support library, etc. Naturally Visual C# and Visual Basic are also scaled down. The standard edition have somewhat reduced functionality and is targeted towards rich and serious students/hobbyists and poor professionals.
I currently have Visual Studio 6.0, Visual Studio 2003, Visual Studio 2005, and Visual Studio 2008 on my computer. I am using mostly Visual C++ and Visual C#, and on rare occasions Visual Web Developer. For that reason I believe that I can contribute some information regarding the difficulty related to upgrading.
It was not too difficult to convert Visual Studio 2005 C++/C# code to Visual Studio 2008 C++/C# code and the interface changes from Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 were minor simple improvements and added community components, which was nothing to cry about. When I went from Visual Studio 6.0 to Visual Studio 2003 and then to Visual Studio 2005, there were a lot of interface changes to get used to and some of my favorite tools were no longer available (class wizard), and the project file extensions were also different. Some of the projects I worked on also had problems with syntax errors that appeared only after the conversion.
When I converted a medium sized Visual C++ project (65,000 lines) from Visual Studio 2003 to Visual Studio 2005 I got more than 500 syntax errors due to changes in variable (from wrong to correct) and due to changes in what kind of declarations was allowed (from wrong to correct). We also had problems with run time errors that appeared only after conversion from Visual Studio 6.0 to Visual Studio 2003. The reason was that Visual Studio 6.0 executables often were able to execute bad code, like functions returning pointers to stack variables. The problem was really Visual Studio 6.0 not Visual Studio 2003/2005, but when you converted from Visual Studio 6.0 to Visual Studio 2003 the bad code caught up with you. Goofy project settings could also not be converted. It was a lot of work to clean this up.
When I converted the same medium sized Visual C++ project mentioned above from Visual 2005 C++ to Visual 2008 C++ I got no syntax errors and it ran fine the first time. When I converted a much larger application containing several projects with mostly C# code but also managed C++ code that loaded dynamic link libraries built using un-managed Visual 6.0 C++ code, it built and ran problem free instantly. The Visual Studio 2008 Conversion Wizard is also nice. However, there was a small gotcha. If you are doing the conversion offline (without access to configuration control management) and you answer yes, to the question that you do want to have the project files made writable, then this might actually not happen, with the result that the conversion fails. The failure to change the read-only status of the project files happened only for the projects containing both managed and un-managed C++ code (in a mostly Visual C# application). I don't know if that was a coincidence, or if I goofed.
So it seems like the conversion from Visual Studio 2005 to Visual Studio 2008 is much less painful then previous conversions used to be. However, if you convert a Visual Studio 6.0 project to a Visual Studio 2008 project then you might have all the issues mentioned above as when converting to Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 2005. However, this does not mean that Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 are similar. There are a lot of new and very useful components that have been added to Visual Studio 2008.
I already mentioned the language extensions in C# 3.0 (as compared to C# 2.0), for example, LINQ (querying data bases) which allows you to build strongly typed query expressions. Personally I am hoping that C# will in time more or less replace both C++ and Java. Another component I already mentioned is Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF); a new GUI toolkit that allows you to build extremely interactive and media-rich front ends (2D and 3D graphics and animations) for desktop applications (and web applications). The WPF Designer also provides a split view and snap lines for aligning controls and text. Windows Communication Foundation which allows you to build distributed applications (but we are using CCR instead). WWF allows you to define, execute and monitor workflows to model complex business processes, IntelliSense has been significantly improved and now supports JScript authoring and ASP.NET AJAX scripting. There is a Report Wizard, a class designer extension for unmanaged code, Object Browser improvements, and MSBuild recognizes when a system has multiple processors and uses all the available processors to reduce the build time.
I should add that I have bought two copies of Visual Studio 2005 Professional with MSDN from Amazon (actually my wife did) and I was happy with the price and the delivery. However, I did not get my Visual Studio 2008 from Amazon. As I am become more familiar with Visual Studio 2008 and gain additional experience from using I will probably edit or add to this review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Bottom line: Software works great, but give yourself lots of time for installation if you want to do a complete security upgrade from Microsoft's website. Installation of Visual Studion 2008 Professional version from purchased disk went fine, I had no other versions on PC running Vista. However, upgrading to the latest service pack was an incredible time killer. Plan lots of time at least 3 hours, if you want to fully upgrade your software using Microsoft's latest security updates from their website. Also, the latest documentation that accompanies the service pack has to be downloaded separately.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Microsoft has done it again!
This product is well worth the money, of course you may want to wait a few years to buy it, wait until the next version comes out. This product offers a wide area of programming languages and aspects that offer from basic C, all the way up to the big web design! I personally use this program for website design, but of course on my spare time, I fool around with working with some small applications here and there. If you are considering to start a programming career building small applications and dispersing them out to people AKA open source, or even develope applications for your business to use, if you become tired of using someone elses programs! This product is well worth it, but beware try out the trial version first, before dishing out almost $700.00!
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional