Is anyone interested in a setup wizard for Visual Studio Express?

I've started to use Visual C++ 2010 Express to write Arduino code, thanks to the excellent help at: Arduino Playground - HomePage
(you may notice I've made some additions to make the page more applicable to Visual C++ 2010 Express). But it's a bit brutal to get your projects up and running in VS Express because you can't use Visual Micro - the Express versions of Visual Studio don't support add-ins.

Which made me think "if only there was a little app that did this for you" - changed the VS Express settings and the registry, and created a solution file and a project file with all the necessary machinery in place so that they would compile in VS Express without any further changes. You drag your .ino file onto the app, it does its thing, and you're ready to go. Once you've got your project set up properly to start with, it's perfectly possible to program in VS Express without an add-in.

So, I'm writing just such an app. Now my questions:

  1. Are there any English speakers out there who would find this useful? If so, would you be interested in seeing a beta version, and reporting any bugs you find?
  2. Are there any speakers of other languages out there who would find this useful? If so, would you be interested in helping to with translations / localization?

Of course, if you speak English and another language, you could be in both groups!

Let me know either by replying here, or sending me a private message.


Chris Owens.

Although I do not use the Express edition myself, I can imagine that loads of people would welcome any type of support for Arduino programming for it.

Just a thought: if you were to create a command line or power shell script file for each function you would like to add (like upload or disasm) you can include those in a template project and associate them with the proper executable within VS. Double clicking them would then execute that function...

FYI, Visual Studio Professional is free.

And Visual Micro is an excellent plug-in for programming Arduino.

Find more information at

I'm aware of the free-for-a-period offer. What about if you've already been using VS for free for 3 years, or you're not eligible for WebsiteSpark? No longer free.

Visual Micro is great, I'm sure, and I certainly don't want to dis it or its authors and users. However, there are lots of reasons why you might not be able to use full VS - that's why Microsoft do Visual Studio Express, because there's a need for it - and VS Express is always free for everyone. What I'm doing is a complement to Visual Micro, not a replacement.

For example, my company is a Microsoft Partner and I have full Visual Studio on one computer, but often need to do a spot of programming on my netbook. My licence for VS doesn't cover my netbook, so I use VS Express on it.



Is the VS Partner license different to VS Pro, or did Microsoft change the licensing for VS2010?

I have VS2008 Professional and the license allows me to install in on all my computers as long as I'm the only person using it at any one time.


[I did try to track the licence details down, but the MS Partner site requires IE, which just crashed my puter, so I gave up. I believe the licence is different.]

But isn't this a bit off-topic? My point was that not everyone has access to full VS, even given the WebsiteSpark thing - that's true whatever the details of your and my licences. Those people may wish to use VS Express to program Arduino, and currently it isn't the easiest thing in the world to do.


I'm very much interested in such a setup wizard and I could help in localization to German



Thanks for the answer.

The fact is, as Visual Studio requires modern powerful computer, there's an real interest on using Visual C++ 2010 Express, for example on a netbook.

Good luck!

Hi Everyone,

A few bits of info...

There is already a project on codeplex called "Arduino To Visual Studio Converter" for express users. It's not like the Visual Micro plugin but does create a vs express project from an arduino sketch.

Over the next few months Visual Micro will become 2008 and 2010 Express compatible. So it's okay to go with vs pro via the websitespark or other ms offer for now :slight_smile:

VS 2008 is certainly more consistently faster. I do run vs 2010 on my netbook and it's okay but I do ensure that as many vs tool windows as possible are closed. Certainly the start page is switched off and I never show the ui builder "tool box" except when/if I am using it. Only open the class viewer when needed. There are a number of vs extensions and addins that cause startup delays so install as few as possible. You need 2 GB of ram for 2010 and prob only 1GB for 2008.

For anyone starting out in the search for an ide, best of luck with whichever route you take