Visual Studio

Visual Studio is Microsoft's flagship IDE for Windows development. The program includes support for all .NET languages (Visual C#, Visual Basic, etc.) as well as a compiler for basic C/C++. If you're going to be using Windows to develop, you'll want Visual Studio.

Contents

Installation
Configuration
Compiling


Installation


Microsoft provides the professional edition of Visual Studio 2010 free-of-charge to students through their DreamSpark program. You will need to create a Windows Live ID, if you don't have one already, and verify your status as a student at the university. It's convenient to have the full version--the one feature you need is never in the Express Edition. The professional edition includes all supported languages by default.
For a trimmer download, you may also use the free-for-everyone Express Editions for the language of your choice. We highly recommend Visual C++/C#--whichever you have more experience with. Visual Basic is an option, but you will be judged.

Both of these downloads will automatically download the .NET Framework 4.0, if you don't have it already.



Configuration


To use Visual Studio compilation tools from the command line, you'll need to add the Visual Studio DLL directory to your path environment variable.
  1. Right-click Computer, either in Windows Explorer or in the Start Menu, and select Properties.
  2. Open the Advanced System Settings link in the sidebar.
  3. In the window that opens, choose Environment Variables.
  4. Add <Visual Studio Install>\Common7\IDE to the beginning of the variable, followed by a semicolon. (Replace <Visual Studio Install> with the path to the directory in which you installed Visual Studio--usually C:\Program Files\Visual Studio.)



Compiling


Compiling and running an application from within the GUI is as simple as pressing the F5 key. Visual Studio takes care of the rest. If you'd like to compile from the command line (as many open-source libraries will require), follow these instructions.