Do We Need an Open Source Friendly Visual Studio Express?

by Todd Ogasawara

Every now and then I get the urge to the the Microsoft Open Source Labs people to talk to the freeware Visual Studio Express group about tweaks to make it aware of various FOSS languages like Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby. After all, way back in 2001, Microsoft worked with ActiveState to produce Visual Perl and Visual Python. There's also a current 3rd party project on Microsoft Codeplex named IronPython Studio that uses the royalty free Visual Studio 2008 Shell runtime that doesn't need Visual Studio itself to be installed.

I usually back off the idea because there are a number of free and/or Open Source developer platforms and advanced programmer's editors that are also multi-platform (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux/BSD/UNIX). Four that I have used over the years are Eclipse (gave up on it), NetBeans (playing with it), Komodo Edit (use it frequently), and jEdit (used to use it a lot but have not recently). But, I still think it would be a good idea to tweak a free Visual Studio Express edition for IronPython, IronRuby, and PHP.

There is, btw, a third party for-fee tool for the full Visual Studio 2005/2008 and PHP: VS.Php 2.4 for Visual Studio. There's also a prototype form designer for IronRuby: IronRuby Visual Designer.


Jason Crowther
2008-07-14 09:22:29
After ditching windows in favor of mac (home) and ubuntu (work), I don't really have much use for studio at all. I'm an avid user of Komodo Edit, I'm happy to see that more folks are finding out how good it is. For me, the cross-platform consistency is huge!
George Jempty
2008-07-14 15:18:37
"Eclipse, gave up on it".

Why? Because all the coolest Web 2.0 developers told you to?

Todd Ogasawara
2008-07-14 17:13:11
George: Eclipse simply felt to heavy and slow for my needs. Which editor or platform are you currently using?
2008-07-15 11:39:32
I am surprised that you gave up on Eclipse. Eclipse is the bread and butter of our organization and is an integral part of every developers desktop here. I understand your concerns about eclipse being heavy, however I would like to point out that comparing eclipse, visual studio express etc which are full blown IDE with editing software such as jedit or komodo edit is essentially comparing apples and oranges.
Todd Ogasawara
2008-07-15 12:24:38
Viddu: I agree with you completely that comparing full platforms like Eclipse or Visual Studio to programmer's editors like Komodo Edit or jEdit is comparing apples to oranges. However, wouldn't you agree that NetBeans is a platform level environment? So far, I have not found is a "heavy" as Eclipse.
2008-07-15 15:33:46
Todd: Yes I agree with you that NetBeans would be comparable to Eclipse. Unfortunately I would not be able to do an honest comparison of netbeans vs eclipse. Its been so long since i used netbeans. I tried NetBeans along with Eclipse, early on when both were evolving. Somewhere down the line I adopted eclipse and have been an eclipse user ever since. I think it is high time I gave netbeans another chance. Here is an interesting link that i found while doing a search for netbeans vs eclipse
Todd Ogasawara
2008-07-15 17:49:52
Viddu: Thanks for the pointer to the JavaByExample article about NetBeans and Eclipse. I picked up on NetBeans myself earlier this year. I think I tried an earlier version two years ago and was not tken by that version. I've never used either Eclipse or NetBeans heavily myself. So, my impressions are based on spending a week or two with both platforms spread apart by about a year. I should probably download the latest Eclipse (all 150MB of the Classic version) and take it for another test drive.
Chris Josephes
2008-07-16 15:06:20
Keep working with NetBeans. They just added PHP support to 6.1.
Dustin Puryear
2008-07-16 20:24:52
I'm still waiting to Microsoft distribute several interpreters *with* the OS. Wouldn't it be cool if you loaded Windows and there was perl.exe, sh.exe, and some of the other regulars?
Shon Stutes
2008-07-17 12:55:30
How about the free IDE SharpDevelop?


Todd Ogasawara
2008-07-17 13:03:29
Shon Stutes: Although SharpDevelop is an Open Source project, isn't its dev environment focused on C#/VB/ASP? A quick look at its website doesn't indicate support for FOSS languages like Perl, Python, and Ruby. If it doesn, could you please point me to it? Thanks!