Learn How to Program – Beginner Developer Learning Center


As Soma announced on his blog, we've now officially released the Beginner Developer Learning Center, the one place designed for learning software development fundamentals.


The goal is to address the #1 request from our existing Express customers...more beginner content (more on that below), but we do this with:


  • True Absolute Beginner content - True beginners don't know how the internet works, what a variable is, or the difference between an object or a class.
  • Provide a Learning Path - There's a million pieces of content, provide a gradual, step-by-step approach to learning.
  • Tiered Content - If you already know the basics, you can dive right into the right content level for you
  • Offline Learning - Making sure that our learning materials are available for both online and offline use, this means packaging the tutorials, videos, and all code samples in easy-to-use content packs
  • Task-Based Snack-Size Learning - We also have a How-To reference library with 5-10 minute tutorials on a specific task (ex: Adding Audio to your application)
  • Visual Studio Express Guided Tour Videos - To help users understand the key features of the Visual Studio Express IDE.
  • Learning Materials for Kids - Content created by organizations like Digigirlz among other groups designed to teach programming fundamentals. 


Feedback Welcome
This is our first big leap in beginner content. We'll continue to add and improve the content based on your feedback, so let us know what's hard, confusing, or missing.


Why we did this
Visual Studio Express launched on November, 2005, since then, we've had 10+ million downloads. Wow! I wonder when we can claim to be the most popular developer tool ever?

Once a year, we send an email to a random sampling of registered Express customers that opted-in to communication from Microsoft. For those of you that get a survey, do realize we take your feedback very seriously. The survey is handled by ComScore Media Metrix and we literally receive thousands of pieces of customer feedback on everything from user satisfaction, product suggestions, skill level, time spent developing and so forth. Jacqueline Russell on our team is our data wonk and helped organize the feedback into key themes to look for trends. This literally meant reading thousands of pieces of feedback, but there is no better place to get feedback on what your customers pain is.

The most interesting data point was the #1 requested content by all customers, from VB Express to C++ Express customers, the #1 request was....More Beginner Content. To give you an idea of what beginner content means, here's the verbatim feedback from an anonymous customer for his suggestion on how to improve Express:

More understandable - "seems like it's written by .NET geeks for .NET geeks. You should take your online documentation to an 8th grade computer class and have them proof it to see if they understand it"

I couldn't have said it better myself 🙂


Big Thanks
Huge kudos to Jacqueline Russell for creating the Beginner Developer Learning Center and for refreshing the Visual Studio Express site.  She made it her personal mission to make sure we dramatically improve our experience for beginners and the results I think are amazing. I also want to thank the MSDN folks (Amar Shah, Dan Ledrick, etc) and of course our sixth-man that's rescued our team too many times now, Kent Sharkey, for getting our site up and running.

Comments (10)
  1. Craig Johnson says:

    This looks compelling.  Are there any restrictions on using this content in a K-12 educational environment?

    Kind Regards,

    Craig Johnson

    Draper, Utah


  2. Hey Craig,

    Yes, absoultely, the content can be reused in whatever for you like 🙂



  3. dono says:

    I’ll have to take your word that more beginner content is the #1 request. However, let me tell you why I use Express.

    As a professional developer, I use the full VS2005 at work. However, it is so bloated and slow that the additional features are often not worth it. At home, on my own time, I use Express (VC# and VC++). The environment is much cleaner, much faster, and just plain enjoyable to use. The only things I miss are the class designer and extensibility, which are not so critical.

    I liked Express so much I original planned on purchasing it after the initial year. Now it is free, which is even better.

    I do not know any beginner programmers, but I do know many professional programmers who use Express. We may not be your primary target, but I am sure there are many of us.

  4. Another dev center launches… Beginning Developer Learning Center Looks nice

  5. Marshall says:

    Looking forward to using the new "Beginning Developer Learning Center" site! Thanks.

  6. The Visual Studio Express people have just announced a new Beginner Developer Learning Center . The main

  7. Jake says:

    Excellent site…I’ve been utilizing recently and have been very impressed.  Many thanks for not leaving out the "beginners".

  8. Abdullah says:


    I think that is a good idea. Please keep adding more content and don’t abandon the site.

    I also want to know, what happened to SharewareStarterKit ( http://www.sharewarestarterkit.com/ ) ?? That seems quite useful. Has it been abandoned?


  9. hye i m karuna nidhi upadhyay ,persuing GNIIT from south ex center , i need to know that what is the real scope of using c#, what is the real way of doing that way

  10. yasin says:

    hi i m yasin. maybe this is very good.

                    i love c# and asp.net

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