Visual Studio 2008: Professional Edition is the latest incarnation of the integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft Corporation. It can be used to develop console and GUI applications as well as Windows Forms Applications, web sites, web applications and web services for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows, .NET Framework (compact as well), Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Mobile. It includes a code editor, an integrated debugger, and other built in tools for professional software development.
• Visual Studio Express Edition are a series of free lightweight IDEs that stripped down versions that target specific languages with one each for VB, C++, C#, and web development. They contain a small set of the tools compared to the other systems and are geared for students and hobbyists.
• Visual Studio Standard Edition provides and integrated IDE for all supported products; it supports XML and XSLT editing and creates deployment packages that only use ClickOnce. It has no integration with Microsoft SQL Server, can only consume Add-ins for extensibility, and has no mobile development support.
• Visual Studio Professional Edition has all of the features of Standard Edition and adds SQL server integration, mobile development, remote debugging, and adds macro's and packages to Add-ins for extensibility.
• Visual Studio Team System Edition adds to the Professional Edition features team collaboration functionality items such as metrics and reporting tools. There are five versions of the team systems; Architecture, Database, Development, Test, and Team Suite; the later includes the prior four Team Editions functionality.
The version that I evaluated is Visual Studio 2008: Professional Edition which is probably the one that is most used in small to mid-sized professional development environments. It contains all of the tools needed to create professional applications for both the desktop and the web.
Visual Studio 2008 was released to MSDN subscribers on November 19 2007 and generally released in early 2008. The focus of this version of Visual Studio is on development of Windows Vista, 2007 Office systems, and Web applications. It also brings a new language feature: LINQ, new versions of the C# and VB languages, a Windows Presentation Foundation visual designer, as well as improvements to the .NET Framework.