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Comparing Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer Express

Visual Web Developer 2010 Express is part of the Visual Studio family. Visual Studio 2010 is a complete development environment from Microsoft for creating Web applications, as well as client (Windows) applications, Windows services, components, controls, and other types of applications. In contrast, Visual Web Developer Express features a streamlined interface that focuses on providing the tools that you need for creating Web applications. Therefore, Visual Web Developer Express is more compact and can be easier to work with than Visual Studio.

All the features Visual Web Developer Express are also available in Visual Studio, and the Web sites that you create with Visual Web Developer Express are compatible with Visual Studio. You can share pages and Web sites between Visual Web Developer Express and Visual Studio without any conversion issues or loss of functionality.

NoteNote

Because many of the features of Visual Web Developer Express are shared with Visual Studio 2010, the documentation for Visual Web Developer Express often refers to Visual Studio.

Visual Web Developer 2010 Express contains all the features that you need as a hobbyist Web developer or student to create fully functioning Web sites.

Visual Studio 2010 offers additional features that are designed for the professional Web developer and for development teams. The following table lists additional features that are available in Visual Studio 2010.

Feature

Details

SQL Server Compact Edition

SQL Server Compact Edition is a free, easy-to-use embedded database engine that lets you build robust Windows desktop and mobile applications that run on all Windows operating systems, including Windows XP, Vista, Pocket PC, and Smartphone.

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) provides a unified programming model for building rich Windows client user experiences that incorporate UI, media, and documents.

Web control library template

The Web Control Library project template lets developers author custom Web server controls. The template adds the project items that are needed in order to create a control that can then be added to any Web project.

ASP.NET Crystal Reports

Crystal Reports is a reporting tool for Visual Studio that enables developers to create interactive, presentation-quality content.

Visual SourceSafe

Microsoft Visual SourceSafe is a file-level version control system that permits many types of organizations to work on several project versions at the same time. For installation requirements, see Requirements for Installing Visual SourceSafe.

Additional XML features

Visual Studio includes XML support, such as:

  • The XSLT debugger.

  • The XSD schema designer.

  • The ability to create an XML schema from an XML instance.

  • The ability to view XSLT output from the XML editor.

  • Smart validation support when you edit XSLT style sheets.

  • The context-sensitive toolbar for XML editing.

Additional code-editing features

Visual Studio includes additional code-related features such as the Code Definition window and more refactoring support.

The Code Definition window is a read-only editor view that displays the definition of a symbol in a code file stored in or referenced by the active project.

Refactoring is the process of improving your code after it has been written by changing the internal structure of the code without changing the external behavior of the code.

Additional build support

Visual Studio includes additional build support, which includes the ability to define pre-build and post-build commands, strong-name signing, and Code Access Security (CAS) settings.

Additional coding utilities

Visual Studio includes additional coding utilities, such as integrated support for source control. It also includes a utility to convert Visual Basic 6.0 projects to Visual Basic projects in Visual Studio. 

To learn more about how to create dynamic Web sites by using Visual Web Developer Express, see the following resources:

  • The guided tour, which introduces many of the features that you will frequently use when you create ASP.NET Web sites. To start, see ASP.NET Walkthroughs by Scenario.

  • The Visual Web Developer Content Map, which describes how to use the designers and editors in Visual Web Developer to work with ASP.NET Web applications and Web pages.

If you need assistance when you are working with Visual Web Developer Express, refer to the online Help. The Help system can also be extended to take advantage of online information resources.

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