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    What makes Visual Studio for Office different? (20

    I'm considering a return to professional programming after about six years of doing other things. I'm studying Microsoft .NET, and most of the learning projects that interest me involve extensions to Word.

    I can't find a clear explanation of the differences in between Visual Studio for Office and plain old Visual Studio plus a copy of Office. What does V.S./O. have that regular Visual Studio lacks -- and vice versa?

    Also, a related question: as an individual programmer, am I likely to miss any of the features that are in Visual Studio Professional but not in Standard? (From my study of the feature matrix I don't think so, but a feature matrix and on-the-ground experience are two different things.)

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different? (20

    I don't think I understand your question. Are you asking about VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office Systems) or Visual Studio? VS Standard includes VB.Net, while Pro includes all the CLR languages, plus VSTO and the developer version of SQL Server. VSTO is a separate product that can be used to work with Office applications and includes the Access runtime. There's quite a difference between programming in Visual Studio and using VSTO to create Word extensions.
    Charlotte

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    > I don't think I understand your question. Are you asking about VSTO (Visual
    > Studio Tools for Office Systems) or Visual Studio?

    I'm asking about both. I am trying to clarify the difference between those two products.

    Your response made me wonder if there is a misunderstanding, and the "Visual Studio Tools for Office Systems" you're talking about is something different from the product I'm asking about, which Microsoft calls "Visual Studio Tools for Office." The names are similar enough that I don't think there is, but given that, I'm puzzled by everything you said.

    > VS Standard includes VB.Net, while Pro includes all the CLR languages,...

    That is not consistent with Microsoft's description. It says that VS Standard and Pro both contain all of the supported languages.

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/z...3cz(VS.80).aspx

    > ... plus VSTO...

    According to Microsoft, VSTO is a separate edition of Visual Studio. It includes only Visual Basic and Visual C#, yet it costs considerably more than Pro does. I assume that at least part of the extra cost pays for a copy of Office, which is integrated with Visual Studio in a manner that the product description does not make clear. (It is also unclear how much of this integration can be achieved with separately purchased copies of Office and VS. That is part of what I'm asking about.)

    > ... and the developer version of SQL Server.

    The feature matrix mentions SQL Server for all four editions of VS (including Express). It doesn't say whether this means that Visual Studio includes or supports SQL Server, but since it says exactly the same thing for all of them, it appears that they all include it or none do.

    > VSTO is a separate product that can be used to work with Office applications
    > and includes the Access runtime. There's quite a difference between programming
    > in Visual Studio and using VSTO to create Word extensions.

    That is the other part of what I'm asking about -- what are the differences? What does each product allow me to do that the other one doesn't? I think we'll have to clear up the other mysteries before we can talk about it, though.

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    Yes, it seems we're talking about something different. The VSTO I have was for Vistual Studio/Office 2003, and it certainly didn't cost more the VS Pro! I haven't bothered looking at any later edition since my programming isn't involved with making Office perform in any way. And the VS version I referred to as "standard" was the stripped down learning version.
    Charlotte

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    The stripped-down learning version is now called Express. It comes with just one language (your choice, but apparently JScript is excluded) and it's free. Standard is described as being "for small-business and amateur programmers," or something like that. I think this change was made with VS 2005.

    I don't know how the current VSTO would compare to VS Pro plus the one you know, so maybe we'll have to let someone else address that.

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    This has just gotten more confusing.

    I referred you to a Microsoft page which showed unequivocally that VSTO is a separate, stand-alone edition of Visual Studio 2005.

    I now refer you to a Microsoft page which shows unequivocally that VSTO is not a separate, stand-alone edition of Visual Studio 2008...

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/54ds2za4.aspx

    ... and is bundled with Visual Studio 2008 Professional.

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/lib...spx#VSEditions

    Meanwhile, retailers are describing VSTO 2005 as a stand-alone development system, and are offering it for more Visual Studio 2005 Professional:

    http://www.provantage.com/microsoft-...1~7MCSD217.htm
    http://www.provantage.com/microsoft-...5~7MCSD22F.htm

    (Provantage's price for VSTO 2005 is $685.97; for V.S. Pro 2005, $681.19.)

    The only way to impose logic on this mess is to suppose that Microsoft unbundled VSTO in the 2005 release, changing the arrangement you are familiar with, then bundled it again in the 2008 release. Logical, but I don't think it's likely!

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    Actually, Microsoft does stuff like this when they reshape the packages in new releases. I don't think there IS a VSTO for 2008 yet, since VS2008 Pro hasn't been released, but I could be mistaken. The 2003 version of VSTO was about half that price, but I never looked at the 2005 version. There is a 2007 free download that includes the Access runtime and other VSTO tools, I believe.
    Charlotte

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    Charlotte,

    Just to confuse more, I just got my latest issue of Visual Studio with an ad from Microsoft (well, a piratey-looking map) saying "Start saving time: Visual Studio Tools for Office is now fully integrated into Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition". Then it's a bunch of <img src=/S/yadda.gif border=0 alt=yadda width=15 height=15> where it says how great it is. Technically, though, this won't be launched until February 27th, 2008, so......hopefully it will still be there when it releases, eh?
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    VS 2008 Pro does appear to be available now. Amazon & Provantage both list it with a number of copies in stock (>0). I haven't seen anything about VSTO 2008 either, as a separate package, but M$'s web site says that it's included with VS 2008 Pro. Maybe... it really is.

    I'm going to investigate that free download you mentioned. Money is not plentiful here, and I always welcome needful things that come free...

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    Re: What makes Visual Studio for Office different?

    It's all confusing. Microsoft only recently sent me a pre-release candidate of VS 2008, so I don't see how the Pro version could have been available in October as is indicated on the Amazon site. Now, VS 2008 EXPRESS had been available for a while, but not Pro. <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>
    Charlotte

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