April 09, 2012

Visual Studio Express Edition VS Visual Studio Professional

The major areas where Visual Studio Express lacks features compared to Visual Studio Professional:
  • No add-ins/macros
  • Some Win32 tools missing
  • No Team Explorer support
  • Limited refactoring support
  • Debugging is much more limited (particularly problematic for server development is no remote debugging)
  • Lack of support for setup projects
  • No report creation tools
  • No Office development support
  • No mobile platform support
  • Limited set of designers
  • Limited set of database tools
  • No code profiling or test framework support
  • No MFC/ATL support
  • No support for compiling C++ to 64-bit images (workaround is to install Windows SDK which is free)
when you consider Expression Edition for WSS 3.0 Development, then the concerns are:
No debugging of running processes (e.g. ASP.NET)
The ability to attach the debugger to an already-running process has also been removed...
In order to debug SharePoint code, you need to attach the debugger to the 'already running process' w3wp.exe (the ASP.NET worker process). With this feature removed you would need to find a workaround such as trace calls or logging. It's a lot more inconvenient.
No integration with third party tools
Microsoft "made a business decision to not allow 3rd party extensibility in Express".
This also rules out the integration of very useful and helpful add-ins such as WSPBuilder into Visual Studio. These tools make SharePoint development and deployment much easier. (Note that it is possible to run the actual WSPBuilder tool from the command line but you miss out on helpful features for debugging/deployment and templates for new SharePoint items.)
To summarise: It's probably possible but SharePoint development can at times be difficult enough. With these features removed it will be much more difficult.


  1. Thanks Girish for the article. I have been searching for this answer!!