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Microsoft has always found support for its platforms by providing an excellent development IDE.  Now, that IDE is free, in most circumstances.

I've been able to build business solutions faster than many because of my enjoyment of Microsoft technologies.  While I enjoy the command line interface deeply (an early Monad adopter, I am); most people needing to run esoteric security utilities prefer a GUI face to it.  One with actual online help.  An ability to store settings and ranges into templates.  Basic stuff indeed.

I remember my first look at Visual Basic.  I had delved into Hypercard and found it exciting.  VB?  Exciting and quick.  Later, when teaching Visual Basic, I dragged that curriculum from COM into .Net technologies as fast as I could.  Visual Studio and its languages have always delivered and delivered well for me.

Eclipse?  Ho hum.  Apple's development tool?  Ok, if I must.  Android?  It Hurts!!!!  Java with a text editor?  Wow, I may as well punch my code onto Hollerith cards...

Visual Studio has a team, a community, set of extensions that make coding in a small team effortless.  Why not use CVS?  Why install yet another tool?  GIT?  Nah, GIT lost.

I downloaded the free Visual Studio version yesterday.  Wow.  All those features.  Free.  And I can adjust my code to run on multiple platforms, including iOS or android.  Wow.  And I can sell my code commercially as a start up.  Wow.

And if I'm doing well, I can look at Visual Studio with MSDN, something going on sale on Black Friday, something that gives me lots of test instances. 

Me?  I'll use the free edition for helping charities.  I'll take on some personal productivity projects.  Then I'll move those common coding bits to android, iOS, and Win phone or Surface 3 platforms (Waiting to confirm that a Surface 3 will accept a Win 10 upgrade.)

Do yourself a favor.  Visualstudio.com.  See if you can download Visual Studio.  You might like it.  You may not.  You won't be out a penny, though, to make that decision.


P.S. As always, let me remind you that I have no relationship of any kind with Microsoft that would in any way influence me to report favorably on their strategies, products, or services. 

P.P.S. In the same way you must research Open Source Licensing specifics and impacts to your source code, you must also review Microsoft's restrictions for using the free version.