Visual Studio 97
Microsoft first released Visual Studio in 1997, bundling together many of its programming tools for the first time. Visual Studio 97 was released in 2 editions, Professional & Enterprise. It included Visual Basic 5.0, Visual C++ 5.0, Visual J++ 1.1, & Visual FoxPro 5.0.
Visual Studio 6.0
Released in 1998 & is the last version to run on the Win 9x platform. This version was the basis of Microsoft’s development system for the next 4 years, as Microsoft transitioned their development focus to the .NET Framework. Visual Studio 6.0 was the last version to include Visual Basic as most of its programmers knew it; subsequent versions would include a quite different version of the language based on .NET.
Visual Studio .NET (2002)
Released in 2002 & the biggest change was the introduction of a managed code development environment using the .NET Framework. Programs developed using .NET are not compiled to machine language (like C++ is, for example). This was the first version of Visual Studio to require an NT-based Windows platform. Microsoft introduced C# (C-sharp), a new programming language that targets .NET. It also introduced the successor to Visual J++ called Visual J#. Visual Basic was drastically changed to fit the new framework, and the new version was called Visual Basic .NET. Visual Studio .NET can be used to make applications targeting Windows, Web and portable devices. The internal version number of Visual Studio .NET is version 7.0.
Visual Studio .NET 2003
Microsoft introduced a minor upgrade to Visual Studio .NET in 2003. It included an upgrade to the .NET Framework, version 1.1. Visual Studio 2003 shipped in 4 editions: Academic, Professional, Enterprise Developer, & Enterprise Architect. Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2003 on September 13, 2006. The internal version number of Visual Studio .NET 2003 is version 7.1 while the file format version is 8.0.
Visual Studio 2005
Visual Studio 2005, codenamed Whidbey, was released online in October 2005. Microsoft removed the “.NET” moniker from Visual Studio 2005, but it still primarily targets the .NET Framework, which was upgraded to version 2.0. Visual Studio 2005’s internal version number is 8.0 while the file format version is 9.0. Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005 on 14 December 2006. Visual Studio 2005 also added extensive 64-bit support. While the development environment itself is only available as a 32-bit application, Visual C++ 2005 supports compiling for x86-64 (AMD64 and Intel 64) as well as IA-64 (Itanium). Visual Studio 2005 is available in several editions: Express, Standard, Professional, Tools for Office, & a set of 5 Visual Studio Team System Editions. Express Editions were introduced for amateurs, hobbyists, and small businesses, & are available as a free download from Microsoft’s web site. There are Express Editions for each language (Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual C#, Visual J#), each targeting the .NET Framework on Windows.
Visual Studio 2008
Visual Studio 2008, code-named Orcas, is slated to be launched on February 27, 2008. The latest beta is the Beta 2, released on July 23, 2007, & the 1st public available beta is the September 2006 CTP, released on September 28, 2006. Visual Studio 2008 is focused on development of Windows Vista, 2007 Office System, & Web applications. Among other things, it brings a new language feature, LINQ, a Windows Presentation Foundation visual designer, & improvements to the .NET Framework. Visual Studio 2008 requires .NET Framework 3.5.
Visual Studio Team System
The next major release of Visual Studio Team System is codenamed Rosario & will be released following the Visual Studio 2008 release. In this release, Microsoft plans to deliver new features to build on their existing Application Life-cycle Management (ALM) solution.