Visual Studio 2012 Express editions feature matrix

Microsoft has released in last September Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop (see various blog posts about it here, and here) which allows many development scenarios and fills the gap left by the two other Express editions of VS 2012 out there which are Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8. Later on, at the //build/ 2012 conference, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone was announced and launched (embedded in the Windows Phone 8 SDK).

The official pages about Visual Studio shows a nice edition comparison page for Pro, Premium, Test and Ultimate editions. But what about Express editions ? What are their features and how do they compare ?

Visual Studio 2012 Express editions comparison table


  Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows Desktop Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8 Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows Phone
OS Support Windows 7 SP1 (x86 and x64)
Windows 8 (x86 and x64)
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (x64)
Windows Server 2012 (x64)
Windows 7 SP1 (x86 and x64)
Windows 8 (x86 and x64)
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (x64)
Windows Server 2012 (x64)
Windows 8 only Windows 8 (x64) only
Supported architectures 32-bit (x86)
64-bit (x64)
32-bit (x86)
64-bit (x64)
32-bit (x86)
64-bit (x64)
64-bit (x64)
Languages and tools C#, VB.NET, F# with extension package C#, VB.NET, C++, XAML Javascript, C#, VB.NET,C++ C#, VB.NET, XAML, C++
Toolsets SQL Data Tools, Web Developer Tools SQL Data Tools Code Analysis Spell Checker Code Analysis Spell Checker, Windows Phone SDK 8.0, XNA Game Studio 4.0, Advertising SDK for Windows Phone
Target environment restrictions .NET 4.0 and 4.5
Just Install Framework 3.5 in order to target .NET 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5
.NET 4.0 and 4.5
Just Install Framework 3.5 in order to target .NET 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5
Windows App Store only Windows Phone 7.1 and 8
Emulator for Windows Phone 7.1 and 8 (with limitations)
Project types Class libraries, ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC 3 & 4, Dynamic Data, Server controls & AJAX Server controls and extenders, Silverlight applications, libraries & Navigation applications, Test Project C# & VB: Windows Forms Application, WPF Application, Console Application, Class Library, Unit Test Project

C++: Class Library, CLR Console Application, Managed Test Project, Native Unit Test Project, Win32 Console Application, Win32 Project

JavaScript app, Class Library (for Store), Windows Runtime Component (for Store), Test Library (for Store apps) C# & VB.NET : Windows Phone App, Databound App, Class Library, Panorama App, Pivot App, XAML and Direct3D App, XAML and XNA App, HTML5 App, Audio & Tasks Background Agents

XNA (C# & VB.NET ) : Windows Phone Game, Game Library, Content Pipeline & Projects

C++ (Windows Phone) : Direct3D with XAML, Direct3D App (Native), Runtime Component, Empty Dll, Empty Static Library

Additional elements / features All ASP.NET and Web files
Resources, Datasets, Web Services (client and server)

Page Inspector

WCF Configuration Editor

T4 & Custom templates

Framework components support : Windows Forms, WPF, User Controls (WPF and Forms), Resources, Datasets, Web Services (client and server)

Call Hierarchy

T4 & Custom templates

All Windows Store files (XAML, js) , Resources, XSLT

Installed with Blend for Visual Studio 2012

Windows Store Management (STORE menu)

Call Hierarchy

Store Test Kit, Device Window and Format Menu, Device Simulation Dashboard (network, lock screen, reminders)

Installed with Blend for Visual Studio 2012

Call Hierarchy

XML / XSLT features XML editing with dynamic XSD validation and Intellisense
Packaging / Publishing Publish Web Application Wizard
Web Deployment Packaging capabilities
SQL Deployment capabilities
Publish Wizard Windows app packaging, Upload to windows store Deploy to device, Store Test Kit (automated and manual tests to make sure your app has the minimum requirements for Store)
Debugging Debug ASP.NET, Edit & Continue, ASP.NET Development Server, Local IIS, IIS Express Attaching to an external process is enabled Attaching to an external process is enabled.
Run apps on Local Machine, Remote Machine, Simulator
Attaching to an external process is enabled
Common Features and goodness Solutions can contain multiple projects (no previous Express editions constraints)

Object explorer, Tasks lists, Class View, Snippets Manager, Web Services (Add Service References)

Nuget (Library Manager) full support

Help Viewer with local or online content

Import / Export Visual Studio Settings

Performance and code analysis features No Very basic, no analyze menu, no ruleset configuration Code Analysis (Very basic)

Performance Analyzer (rich reporting and comparison, summary, call tree, modules, etc.)

Code Analysis (Very Basic)

Performance Analysis, Windows Phone App Analysis (Monitoring & Profiling)

Databases SQL Server data tools
Database Explorer
Entity Framework support
SQL Server data tools
Database Explorer
Entity Framework support
No No
UML Features None
Optional features and capabilities Support for F# language by installing F# Tools Windows Azure Development enabled by installation Azure SDK No Comes with Blend for Visual Studio 2012 Comes with Blend for Visual Studio 2012
Extensibility and plugins Extension Manager is there but no support for addins nor extensions
TFS connectivity Yes : Team Explorer for TFS 2012 included
Conditions Requires online registration Requires online registration Requires online registration (works for Blend too)
Requires Windows 8 Developer License
Requires online registration
Windows Phone Developer License for Store publishing
Unit Testing Yes, full support but limited to MsTest (can’t install other frameworks adapters) No
Main constraints summary No C++, no attach to process, no Console or Windows Native projects, No Forms nor XAML, No Call Hierarchy Window No T4 support No Windows Phone 8 Emulator on other systems than Windows 8 x64 at least Pro with SLAT enabled (can’t use VirtualBox nor VMWare)

No T4 support

 

Disclaimer : I’ve been very careful filling this table, it is the result of my very own experience which each edition. This comparison is not official and subject to change with updates. Please report to me any inconsistency.

2 thoughts on “Visual Studio 2012 Express editions feature matrix

  1. Hi Lorenzo, the editor has full Intellisense if that is what you mean as long as the language you’re using is supported. I see no other particular restrictions in the editor (bookmarks, windows and search are in all versions). XML file editing is nice as well, as you can provide XSD schemes and be assisted when you edit the file.

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