Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2008 with a 90-day free trial of their integrated development environment this week. The Professional Edition download ISO is 3.4 GB and must be burned onto a DVD or de-constructed using an ISO mounting utility.
The 90-day trial version is fully functional. There are several versions available for download:
1) Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
2) Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite
3) Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server
4) Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent
All of them are available from the Microsoft download website. An overview of the Visual Studio 2008 is also available.
In addition, you can download the free Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.
These 2 versions of Visual Studio (official release and an Express release) differ since the express version is a slimmed down version. According to AMD, a close partner to Microsoft on their compiler development, Visual Studio typically goes out to about 9 million users. Visual Studio Express typically goes out to just under 20 million.
A few interesting things to note from Microsofts white paper on Visual Studio 2008:
"Building Windows Vista Applications. Developers can easily leverage new platform technologies, and deliver more compelling applications to their customers, by effortlessly incorporating new Windows Presentation Foundation features into both existing Windows Forms applications and new applications."