"Developers, developers, developers ..." People laughed at his gyrations but Microsoft's Steve Ballmer was right on the button with his famous proclamation in 2001. Microsoft needs developers in order to be successful. It is not just its own armies of coders in Redmond and around the world, it is also the many millions who write Windows applications, from commercial tools to open source applications. Without software, Windows would be nothing. Software needs developers, and developers need tools to write code.I've not just been writing about these tools, I've also been cutting code with them.
I've been using Visual Web Developer 2005 Express for a series of tutorials I'm working on for Web Developer - and was able to build two database driven web applications in less than 3 days (including learning ASP.NET 2.0 from scratch). If you're planning on learning .NET, or need to roll out a development environment quickly, you'll find the Visual Studio Express toolset rather useful - and surprisingly powerful.