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Free Windows 8 desktop app development is dead

Metro or bust with Visual Studio 2011 Express

The next free version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio programming suite won’t build normal Windows desktop apps, it has emerged.

Visual Studio 2011 Express edition will only allow developers to build touchscreen-friendly programs for the new Windows 8 Metro UI, according to the software's product page here.

Coders will have to pay for Visual Studio 11 Professional or higher if they want to build anything other than the webbified fondleslab apps for Windows 8. A release candidate for the new operating system is due to be delivered in the first week of June.

Pricing for the professional edition starts at about £300 ($499).

Microsoft will, however, continue to make elements of Visual Studio 2010 Express available for free download - this includes Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C++ 2010 Express, and Visual C# 2010 Express.

The paid-for editions of Visual Studio 2011 will come in four flavours: Professional, Premium, Ultimate and Team Professional.

Visual Studio Express was introduced by Microsoft in 2005 to entice hobbyists and students into building Windows apps – and onto the Windows treadmill. ®

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