Visual Studio Professional Edition allows individual programmers or those working in small teams to build mission-critical, multi-tier smart client, Web, or mobile applications.
The 2008 versions (both Standard and Professional) have the following new features:
- Build applications that utilize the latest Web technologies with improved support for AJAX and Web Controls and the Microsoft AJAX Library.
- Create Web applications more easily with an improved design surface and standards support.
- Utilize data from any data source more smoothly with LINQ, a set of language extensions to Visual Basic and Visual C#.
- Manage and build applications that target multiple versions of the .NET Framework. For the first time, you can use one tool to work on applications that run on .NET Framework versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5.
- Discover the full power of the .NET Framework 3.5 with integrated tools which simplify building great user experiences and connected systems.
- Build stunning user experiences with integrated designers for Windows Presentation Foundation. Experiences built with WPF can interoperate seamlessly with Windows Forms.
- Create connected applications using new visual designers for Windows Communications Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation.
- Enhance collaboration between developers and designers to create more compelling user experiences.
New features that exist in just the Professional version:
- Ensure application correctness more easily with integrated unit testing.
- Use Visual Studio's professional development environment to build Microsoft Office-based solutions that are reliable, scalable, and easy to maintain.
Features that are common to both the Standard and Professional versions:
- Project system, including templates and multi-project solution support.
- Code editors.
- Windows Forms editor and designer.
- Web Forms editor and designer.
- Resource editors.
- CSS editor to create, apply, and manage styles and cascading style sheets.
- Web Page Designer, including split-pane HTML designer, markup validation, and Document Outline Window.
- XML editor (XML, XSL, and XSLT).
- Code Snippets.
- Debugging (local and remote).
- Language compilers (Visual Basic .NET, Visual C#, and Visual C++).
- 64-bit compiler support (x64 only).
- Multi-Targeting support (.NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5).
- ASP.NET AJAX support.
- Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) support, including a split-pane WPF designer, debugger support, and project template.
- Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) support, including Test Client and Auto-Hosting tools.
- Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) support, including designer.
- LINQ support, including Object Relational Designer, SQLMetal command-line tool, LINQ-aware code editors, and debugger support.
- Database design tools (local and remote).
- Object and Relational Designer (local and remote).
- Deployment tools (ClickOnce and MSI).
- Automation to write, record, and run macros.
- IDE extensibility to create and use add-ins and packages.
- Version control integration support (MSSCCI-compatible).
- SQL Server Reporting Services support.
- Visual Studio Conversion Wizard for legacy projects.
The Professional version has the following features above and beyond the Standard version:
- Build applications for the Microsoft Office system (does not include support for C++ projects).
- Build software for mobile devices.
- Software Assurance provided through MSDN Subscription.
- Offline documentation available as a separate download.
- Class Designer and Object Test Bench (limited support for native C++ code, intended to be used only for visualization and documentation).
- Crystal Reports.
- Server Explorer.
- Unit Testing (does not include Code Coverage; C++ support is limited).
- SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition (Standard version includes just Express edition).
This item currently ships for free at amazon.com.