A Better Visual Studio for the Little Guy: First Impressions of Visual Studio Community

I suppose that you’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard by now, but Microsoft just announced some pretty big news. No, I’m not talking about how they just open sourced the .NET framework. I’m talking about the new free Visual Studio offering, Visual Studio Community.

This isn’t just a rebranded Express. No, this is a full fledged IDE friends. There will be no more needing multiple versions of VS in order to build both web and desktop apps. This one does it all.

This also isn’t just all of the different Express versions rolled into one either. In Scott Hanselman’s words, “This is practically Pro.” Community lets you start a process when the debugger starts, rather than attach it after the fact. That seems like a little thing, but trust me, it’s not. I’ve been working on a COM add in recently and this has saved me 3 or 4 clicks every time I need to step through some code. Community also gives you a full stack trace and exception information at the tips of your fingers. It helped me track down a bug in minutes that had been driving me mad for a week.

VS Community is available for free to open source developers, for educational purposes, and companies with 5 or less developers. I really can’t recommend it enough. If you’re using Express, go get yourself a copy of Community. I’m sure I’ve not even really scratched the surface on what Community can do that Express can’t, so leave a comment with the best “new” features you’ve found.

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