Visual Studio Express 2012 Now Available for Desktop for Free

Visual Studio Express 2012 products provide free development tools for creating modern applications on the latest platforms.  Click here to download now.  Here’s more information I grabbed from the MSDN blog.

“It would be impossible to list every feature in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop. However, in this post I want to tell you about some of the new tools and capabilities in the product that have not been available in any other Express products in the past. I’d also like to answer some of the questions you’ve been asking about what we’re including in this edition. Unless otherwise mentioned, the features listed are supported for all languages that are included in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop – C++, C#, and Visual Basic.

Project Types

In Express for Windows Desktop, you’ll be able to create the same projects that you could in Visual Studio 2010 Express, for example, WinForms, WPF, Console and Class Libraries for Visual Basic and C#, and Win32 projects, class libraries, and CLR apps for C++. You can also combine C++, C#, and Visual Basic projects into a single solution, making it easy to write a single application using any of the available languages. Finally, you can round-trip your projects with Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

New Project dialog in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Unit Testing

We wanted to make it easy for you to write and run unit tests for your projects. To make that possible, Express for Windows Desktop includes our existing unit test framework for C# and Visual Basic and the new native C++ unit test framework. This lets you write, run and debug unit tests directly inside Visual Studio. Unit Test project templates are also included so you can start writing unit tests right away.

Unit Testing in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Code Analysis

We added a targeted set of code analysis rules to Express for Windows Desktop, which are the same code analysis rules that we added to Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8. For C++ projects, these rules help detect common coding errors, such as buffer overflows, dereferencing null pointers, using uninitialized variables, or misusing APIs. These errors can potentially lead to security vulnerabilities or application crashes if the errors are not fixed. For managed projects we included rules that help ensure correct object disposal, comparison, and garbage collection performance.

Code Analysis in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

TFS Integration

This release, we introduced Team Foundation Server Express 2012, as well as the Team Foundation Service atwww.tfspreview.com. We also included Team Explorer, which allows for integration with your TFS server into all of our Visual Studio 2012 Express products, including this one. We wanted to make it simple for you to use the source code control, work item tracking, and build automation that TFS provides.

Team Explorer in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Dependency Management with NuGet

Express for Windows Desktop includes NuGet, which makes it easier than ever to integrate libraries developed within your organization, or from 3rd parties, into your projects. To add or manage package dependencies for your projects, simply select the “Manage NuGet packages…” option from the project, or from the solution context menu in Solution Explorer.

NuGet in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Language specific features

The new VS 2012 language and library features are available in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, including the async and await keywords in Visual Basic and C#, C++ AMP, and improvements to C++ 11 Standards conformance.

You can use Express for Windows Desktop with your Visual Basic and C# applications to target both .NET 4.0 and 4.5.

We also included the C++ 64-bit cross-compiler and libraries, so you can build 64-bit desktop applications without needing to install an older version of the Windows SDK.

Data Connections

In previous Express products, the ability to connect to a data source was limited to Database File. In Express for Windows Desktop, this capability has been extended to support all SQL Server data sources. For example, in Database Explorer, you can connect, navigate, query against and edit database objects through the latest SQL Server 2012 and Windows Azure SQL Databases.”

Check out the blog link below for more information.  And of course, there’s also free express editions for Web, Windows 8, & Team Foundation Server.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2012/09/12/visual-studio-express-2012-for-windows-desktop-is-here.aspx

Video Coding Walk-through at TheCodePlayer.com

Found a cool website that gives you video a walk-through of all kinds of CSS3, HTML5, amd Javascript widgets.  The videos show the code being written on the left side of the page and the changes happening on the right. You can also change the code yourself and see how that affects the scripts. I recommend, when you’re watching the videos, to turn the playback speed to 5x instead of the default 10x if you’re just getting started.

Currently there are about two dozen walkthroughs demonstrating things you can do with Javascript, CSS, and HTML5. Some popular examples include making a stopwatch with CSS3 (no images or Javascript), making an accordion-style slider in CSS3, and making a particle system in HTML5 canvas.

Check out the site if you want to see some neat scripts in action and maybe learn a new trick or two. TheCodePlayer is in alpha right now, so hopefully there will be many more videos in the future.

The Job Interview Question That Is ALWAYS Asked: “Are there any questions that you have for us?”

Found a great article about how to answer the always asked “Are there any questions that you have for use?” during an interview.  Here’s the five questions the article suggests that you can use to answer with.

Five Questions to Ask During An Interview:

1. What is the immediate need on your team that you are hoping to fill with this position?
This is probably my favorite question.  You know that their team has a need, because they have an opening.  There is most likely a project about to get started, or a required skill-set that they need but are lacking.  Whatever they come back with, this is a perfect segue for you to explain why you are the perfect person to fill that gap.  You can explain why your experience and expertise makes you exactly who they have been looking for.

2. What projects are available that I can contribute on right away?
One of the most frustrating things about hiring someone new is that it can take forever to get them trained and up to speed.  When a candidate asks a question like this, he lets the interviewers know that he will find a way to help as soon as possible, which is a major bonus.  This again gives you the opportunity to sell yourself as someone who *can* help on those projects, and as an added bonus– it lets you know what skills you need to brush up on before your next interview or even before starting the job.

3. I pride myself on my ability to drive process improvement, is this team empowered to find better and more efficient ways to do things ?
The interview process is all about differentiation, and a question like this shows the interviewers that you are determined to be a rock star.  Most companies have many folks who are perfectly happy to learn how to do the basic tasks of their job, and then sit back and collect a paycheck.  What they are looking for is someone who is driven to make things better, who won’t just be satisfied with the status quo.  By not only identifying yourself as a big time horse, but making sure that the company will give room to graze, you are guaranteed to stand out.

4. I have been successful thus far in my career by getting regular feedback from my management, and by keeping communication channels open to make sure that we are on the same page. Can you tell me how your organization defines success?
It would be wise to save this question for the interviewing manager, and not for a peer/technical discussion.  Nobody likes a kiss-up, but letting management know that you will communicate openly and honestly with them, always scores big points.  The last part of the question can be a good barometer about how easy it will be to become a top performer.  You can follow up with a discussion of how you have been successful in your previous jobs.

5. How would you describe a typical day on this team?
Last but not least, this question is more of an icebreaker, and should hopefully lead to some banter between you and the interviewer.  If the interviewer relays struggles or frustrations, be sure to note how you will help them reduce their workload and make things better.  If they respond positively, be sure to reinforce that you think it sounds like a great fit and you are excited for the opportunity to contribute.