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I've never actually purchased a copy of Visual Studio myself. SharpDevelop and Express edition have always been good enough for my personal use, and my employers always furnished me with the IDEs I needed to serve them. However, I'm thinking of actually paying for a copy for my personal laptop. I need this mainly so I can open solutions that contain web projects.

So my question is: Is there an edition cheaper than the $710 Pro edition on Amazon that will do what I need: http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-C5E-00521-Visual-Studio-Professional/dp/B0038KTO8S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1287456230&sr=8-2 ?

What I need is defined as:

  1. Open up a solution with C#, Web App, VB.NET, and Web Projects.
  2. Install addins like resharper, testdriven.net, etc, SCM plugins, etc.
  3. Some level of db project support. At least to be able to open a dbproj. I only need that for SCM hooks. SSMS and SQLCMD are good enough for actually editing databases.
  4. Ability to install F#, IronPython, IronRuby etc.

Now naturally I'm a fairly intelligent resourceful person so I realize I can get Visual Studio in a questionable manner. Thats not what I'm looking to do. I want a legal copy, I don't want a student copy, or an MSDN copy. I want a real copy, I just want to make sure I get the cheapest edition that serves my needs.

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You could try Visual Studio Express, but unfortunately it doesn't support plug-ins. –  Mumbles Oct 19 '10 at 14:06
possible duplicate of Can a developer get volume discount for Microsoft products? –  Jonas Oct 19 '10 at 14:09
I don't want a volume discount. I want one copy. I'll update my question. –  Justin Dearing Oct 19 '10 at 14:19
@Jonas, @Robert Harvey, @Frank Shearar, @Josh K, @Mark Trapp: I really would like to know how such a question can be "offtopic"! –  Lorenzo Oct 19 '10 at 18:58
@Jonas: ok, but at least 3 of the closers have voted for "offtopic", and I really don't understand why... –  Lorenzo Oct 19 '10 at 19:27
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closed as off-topic by gnat, GlenH7, Dynamic, MichaelT, Kilian Foth Jul 16 '13 at 7:16

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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2 Answers

Both student copies and MSDN copies are real copies. They are indistinguishable from copies bought and paid for in the usual manner. Further, the "volume discount" question linked above includes answers telling how to get one or more copies completely free.

Since you mention Web Apps, looks like Website Spark is the answer for you - free Visual Studio, Expression, and more.

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-1: MSDN is much more costly, and student copy is... well... for students. –  Lorenzo Oct 19 '10 at 18:59
@Lorenzo MSDN has several different price levels. Last I looked, one of them was under $710. –  Anna Lear Oct 19 '10 at 19:03
@Anna: but that's "MSDN Operating Systems", which does not contain Visual Studio... –  Lorenzo Oct 19 '10 at 19:25
My point is that saying "I want a real copy, not a student copy or msdn copy" implies that those are somehow less functional or not good enough. Not liking the price or not feeling you qualify for a program is different from "I want a real copy." –  Kate Gregory Oct 19 '10 at 20:20
@Kate: but MSDN with Visual Studio is much more expensive, and a non-student can't legally use a student version. So you answer is (at least) off topic as the question asks for a cheaper edition, and is an employed programmer, so almost certainly non-student. –  Lorenzo Oct 20 '10 at 7:43
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This entry on Amazon.com, Visual Studio 2010 Professional Upgrade, is a viable purcharse which is under $500. Yes, it's stated as an upgrade, but with the installation of one of the Express editions, you are qualified as an upgrade elidgible customer for Visual Studio 2010 without MSDN.

Hope this helps you decide on your purchase.

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