Final Visual Studio 11 Edition Lineup Announced


Visual Studio



It’s official folks!  We have finally announced the lineup for Visual Studio 11 and all the goodies you get in each edition.  Here is a breakdown of the key elements from lowest to highest feature set:


Express Editions

First, I want to make sure everyone knows what the Express editions are for:  They are for non-professional developers who want a version of Visual Studio to create applications.  Strictly speaking they are for individual or very small teams of developers who write code in their spare time and want to create applications in addition to their day job.  In prior versions of the Express editions your choice of language was the usual method by which you chose an edition.  So, for example, C# developers would choose the C# Express edition.  This has now changed.  The new focus is on WHAT you are trying to do rather than the language you want to do it in.  With that said here are the new Express editions that will be available:


New Express editions for Windows Phone and Azure will come out when the next revision of those items ship.



Main Visual Studio 11 Editions

For people that do development-related work as part of their day job we offer a different set of SKUs. I won’t go into the details of what each version contains but, rather, just hit some of the highlights.  Here is a high-level view of the features available in each SKU:


To see this list for yourself, go to



Visual Studio 11 Test Professional

Test Professional is specifically geared to provide testing and collaboration features that can be used by testers, project managers, or anyone else who doesn’t need the complete feature set of Visual Studio.  Refer to the comparison chart (above) for the items included in this SKU.



Visual Studio 11 Professional 

Many people who hear about our products mistakenly think the “professional” version is our top-of-the-line offering.  There are actually two levels higher than Professional.  The Professional Edition is meant to give the basics that a typical developer would need as part of their daily job.  It includes a rich editor for writing code and essential elements for debugging that code.  The Professional Edition can do all that an Express edition can do while allowing the freedom to choose between multiple different project types. Additionally it uses the new Unit Test Explorer but doesn’t contain the ability to do other types of testing out of the box.  It is also missing other more advanced features, like Code Clone analysis, that are available in the higher level SKUs.

Unit Test Explorer



Visual Studio 11 Premium

A significant step up from the Express and Professional Editions, the Premium Edition contains features for developers that have to deal with many high-end scenarios. Some of the key features included with Premium are Code Metrics, Code Clone analysis, and Coded UI Testing.  In addition, it’s the first level where you can take advantage of PowerPoint Storyboarding, Feedback Management, Code Review, and (my personal favorite) Task Suspend/Resume.  It’s definitely the minimum level I suggest for professional developers especially if they are planning to use the new Team Foundation Server.

Suspending some work



Visual Studio 11 Ultimate

Our top tier Visual Studio offering, Ultimate has all the features in Premium with some very important additions. IntelliTrace and IntelliTrace in production are the two most important features in my opinion.  If you have Ultimate 2010 today and haven’t used IntelliTrace then you are missing out on a seriously useful feature.  This SKU is also the only one that contains the Load Test and Web Performance Test features.  Finally, there are Architecture Layer Diagrams and Dependency Graphs (another of my top favorites) that help keep a high quality bar and explore your code base respectively.

Dependency graph with nodes and links



Make sure to check out the great new features in all the new editions and see which one fits you best.

Comments (6)

  1. Bryan says:

    Too bad Ultimate and even Premium are so much more expensive than Professional.  Premium is beyond the reach of most individual devs who actually need more than express offers but could actually use the more advanced features.  Ultimate is even beyond the reach of a good many companies.  I work for state government and a single installation of Ultimate would blow our entire software budget for two or three years.

  2. zainnab says:

    Premium is a significant step up from Professional so the pricing, in my opinion, makes sense.  The Express editions were designed for hobbyists in mind and Professional is priced to make it easy for developers who work for themselves or very small companies.  It's a common misconception that Premium and Ultimate are beyond the reach of these folks.  The initial investment may be higher but the renewal is typically less than half of the initial price if we just go by the retail information:…/pricing

    Currently there are tons of pricing offers to get reduced rates or free additional services:…/en-us

    Additionally, we tend to forget the pricing isn't just for an IDE it's for Visual Studio and MSDN.  In most cases, MSDN subscriptions come with “perpetual” use rights—the ability to continue using the software after the subscription has expired. The sheer amount of additional software you get with MSDN at those levels is staggering:…/buy.aspx

    Just my .02

  3. Papy Normand says:

    And what is the Express edition which could be used to create Windows Forms or console applications ?

    If none, is it because we have to buy a Pro edition

    A last remark : the 1st Express edition ( for Windows 8 ) is only a gadget like Metro

    I am really bored to see everywhere Metro as if nothing else can be exist. Be careful, its success might be the same as Windows Millenium.

    I would suggest you to meet DBAs and ask them whether Metro is useful for them ( for example in the SQL Server Management Studio ). The answer could be distressing for Metro

  4. Papy Normand says:

    I have found the answer here…/express

    with this remark : "To create desktop apps, you need to use Visual Studio 11 Professional, or higher."

    It is what i was fearing.So VS 11 is useless

    For the Visual Studio Team : many thanks for this …. decision ( and i am polite )

  5. zainnab says:


    I may be missing your point.  The Express editions are free and used for specific purposes.  We never intended them to be used except for hobbyists or other simliar developers.  Our hope is that it will be a good starting point for people and some of those people will go on to do more advanced work with the higher level SKUs.  It almost seems like you are mad that we just don't give VS away for free for some reason?  


  6. zainnab says:


    I'm happy to announce that they ARE going to add a Windows Desktop Express edtion per Soma:…/visual-studio-express-2012-for-windows-desktop.aspx


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