Microsoft Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop console and graphical user interface applications along with Windows Forms applications, web sites, web applications, and web services in both native code together with managed code for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, .NET Framework, .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft Silverlight.

Visual Studio includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense as well as code refactoring. The integrated debugger works both as a source-level debugger and a machine-level debugger. Other built-in tools include a forms designer for building GUI applications, web designer, class designer, and database schema designer. It accepts plug-ins that enhance the functionality at almost every level—including adding support for source-control systems (like Subversion and Visual SourceSafe) and adding new toolsets like editors and visual designers for domain-specific languages or toolsets for other aspects of the software development lifecycle (like the Team Foundation Server client: Team Explorer).

Visual Studio supports different programming languages by means of language services, which allow the code editor and debugger to support (to varying degrees) nearly any programming language, provided a language-specific service exists. Built-in languages include C/C++ (via Visual C++), VB.NET (via Visual Basic .NET), C# (via Visual C#), and F# (as of Visual Studio 2010). Support for other languages such as M, Python, and Ruby among others is available via language services installed separately. It also supports XML/XSLT, HTML/XHTML, JavaScript and CSS. Individual language-specific versions of Visual Studio also exist which provide more limited language services to the user: Microsoft Visual Basic, Visual J#, Visual C#, and Visual C++.

Microsoft provides "Express" editions of its Visual Studio 2010 components Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer at no cost. Visual Studio 2012, 2010, 2008 and 2005 Professional Editions, along with language-specific versions (Visual Basic, C++, C#, J#) of Visual Studio Express 2010 are available for free to students as downloads via Microsoft's DreamSpark program.

Read more about Microsoft Visual Studio:  Architecture, Version History, Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management

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