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Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 Professional is an integrated solution for developing, debugging, and deploying all kinds of applications. It takes up several gigabytes and costs $799, but you can try it free for 30 days.
Easy ins: Visual Studio's compact download manager greatly eases the process of downloading and installing this 3389.6MB package. We like being able to specify which tools and programming languages to install and the individual disk space requirements for all of our drives.
Executive suite: Visual Studio has specific settings for different areas of development work, starting with General Development and including Project Management, Web Development, and various programming languages.
Easy on the eyes: A classic Explorer layout with easily accessible and pin-able sidebars (like the right-hand Solutions Explorer) and Office-like touches make Visual Studio not only familiar but also surprisingly easy to manage for such a large suite.
Going Pro: Visual Studio gets right down to business with quick access to server links, New or Existing Projects, and essential resources and communities. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
Space eater: Visual Studio's primary installation needed 6GB of disk space. You may be able to do without some components, such as SQL Server or Sync Framework.
Needy: Visual Studio requires some additional components to do its job. Our 32-bit system already had VC Runtime 9 (x86) and .NET Framework, but needed Microsoft Application Error Reporting, VC Runtime 10 (x64 and x86), and Microsoft Visual Studios 2010 64-bit Prerequisites (x64). It's a lot to install, and to remove, too, if you choose not to buy.
Performing without a (dot)NET: Some developers have expressed frustration with Visual Studio's .NET Framework dependence and prefer Visual Basic 6.0.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional is huge, sprawling, and expensive, on the one hand, but surprisingly intuitive and nimble on the other. We only scratched the surface of its capabilities during our brief trial, but we came away impressed.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional 10.0.30319.1.