Microsoft Visual Studio provides an integrated development environment to facilitate the creation of Web, desktop and mobile applications for the Windows operating system. The program is based on software development platforms made by Microsoft, such as Windows Store, Microsoft Silverlight and Windows API. The program can also be used to create websites and services.
As of 2014, the basic programming languages offered by default on Visual Studio include C, C++ and Visual Basic. The program also supports other programming languages that can be installed separately, such as Python or Ruby. Features in the program include a code editor, a debugger and various visual designer options.
Microsoft released the first version of Visual Studio in 1997. During development, the program was code-named Boston. This convention of using location names was kept in place for other releases of the program until Visual Studio 2010. For example, the 1998 version of Visual Studio carried the code name Aspen. As of Nov. 5, 2014, the latest stable release of the program is update 4 CTP 1 of Visual Studio 2013.
Microsoft offers both commercial and free versions of Visual Studio. Free, or "Express," versions of the program are limited in the amount of tools available to the user.