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Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone 8

April 14, 2014

Applies to: Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 | Windows Phone OS 7.1

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is a complete development environment for creating Windows Phone apps. Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone includes development features such as Windows Phone project templates, a code editor, a Windows Phone-based visual designer, and a Toolbox that contains Windows Phone controls. It also includes integrated testing features such as simulation, monitoring and profiling, and the Windows Phone Store Test Kit. With Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, you can debug and deploy your apps on Windows Phone Emulator or a Windows Phone device.

NoteNote:

This topic only describes features of Visual Studio that are unique to Windows Phone development. For general info about using Visual Studio, see Application Development in Visual Studio in the Visual Studio documentation.

This topic contains the following sections.

The following illustration shows an example of a Windows Phone project open in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone.

Visual Studio Express

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is a component of the Windows Phone SDK. For info about installing Windows Phone SDK, see Get the SDK.

For info about developing Windows Phone apps on a Mac, see How to develop for Windows Phone 8 on your Mac.

If you are familiar with Visual Studio, many of the features in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone or the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 will be the same. The following table describes some of the elements in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone or the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 that are unique to Windows Phone development.

NoteNote:

Because many of the features of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012, and Visual Studio 2012 are shared, the documentation may refer to Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone or Visual Studio 2012.

Feature

What is unique to Windows Phone development

Project Templates

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone and the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 include project templates that are specific to Windows Phone. For info about the project templates, see How to create a new app project from a template for Windows Phone 8.

Toolbox

The Toolbox provides the Windows Phone controls that you can drag onto the design surface. For info about controls, see Controls for Windows Phone 8.

Design View

The Visual Studio designer provides a Windows Phone skin with screen dimensions that correspond to a Windows Phone device. To change the screen orientation of a project, see How to change the orientation of the designer for Windows Phone 8.

Code Editor

For info about editing code, see Writing Code in the Code and Text Editor in the Visual Studio documentation.

Project Settings

Most of the project settings for Windows Phone projects are the same as other Visual Studio projects. The Application pane of the Project Designer includes some options that are specific to Windows Phone. For info about setting the tile options, see Tiles for Windows Phone 8. For general info about project settings, see Managing Solutions, Projects, and Files in the Visual Studio documentation.

Multi-targeting

When you create an app using Visual Studio, you have the option to specify the target Windows Phone version. In addition you can upgrade the target version of existing Windows Phone projects. For more info, see the following topics:

Debugging

For info about using Visual Studio to debug Windows Phone apps, see Debugging apps for Windows Phone 8.

Viewing Files in Isolated Storage

You can view the files in isolated storage for an app, make a copy of the files, or replace the files with files from the local computer. For more info, see How to use the Isolated Storage Explorer tool for Windows Phone 8.

Deployment

You can set the target device on the Standard toolbar to deploy an app to a Windows Phone device. For info about deploying apps, see the following topics:

Simulation, Monitoring, and Profiling

You can use simulation, monitoring, and profiling tools in Visual Studio while developing your Windows Phone apps to improve the performance and responsiveness of your apps. For more info, see the following topics:

You don’t need Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher to develop Windows Phone apps.

If Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher is already installed on your computer when you install the Windows Phone SDK, the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 integrates the templates and tools of the SDK into your existing installation of Visual Studio. Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is not installed.

The following table shows the result of installing the Windows Phone SDK depending on the edition of Visual Studio already installed on your computer.

Before Installing the Windows Phone SDK

After installing the Windows Phone SDK

No editions of Visual Studio are installed.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is installed.

Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher is installed.

Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 integrates the templates and tools of the SDK into your existing installation of Visual Studio. Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is not installed.

Any combination of the following are installed:

  • Visual C# 2012 Express.

  • Visual C# 2010 Express.

  • Visual Studio 2010 Standard or higher.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is installed.

Supported features

With the exception of a few debugging features, the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 has equivalent functionality to Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone. For detailed info about the supported debugging features, see Debugging apps for Windows Phone 8.

The projects that you create with either Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone or the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012 are compatible with Blend for Visual Studio. You can open these projects in Blend without any conversion issues or loss of functionality. For more info about working with Blend, see Blend for Visual Studio.

Unsupported features

Some features in Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher are not supported when you are using the Windows Phone Add-in for Visual Studio 2012. These unsupported features include the following:

  • IntelliTrace

  • Lab Management

  • Testing

  • Data (add data source, schema compare)

You can install the English version of the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 on any language version of the Windows 8 operating system. However, you can only install a non-English version of the SDK on the corresponding language version of Windows 8. For example, you can only install the Japanese version of the SDK on a Japanese language version of Windows 8.

You cannot install more than one language version of the SDK side-by-side.

On a non-English language version of Windows 8 that meets the following conditions, you only see the Windows Phone project templates when the language of Visual Studio is set to the language of the operating system. However in these circumstances you can still launch the wp8 tools by running vpdexpress.exe.

  • The English-language version of Visual Studio Professional or higher is installed.

  • A Visual Studio Language Pack that matches the language of the operating system is also installed.

  • The version of Windows Phone SDK that matches the language of the operating system is installed.

To find answers and solve problems as you work with the tools in Windows Phone SDK 8.0, visit the Tools for Windows Phone Development forum. To see all the forums for Windows Phone development, visit Windows Phone Development Forums. To review other support options, visit MSDN Troubleshooting and Support.

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