Below is the detailed comparison among the different flavors of Visual Studio 2012
- Visual Studio Express : For the Web is a free and robust development environment for building, testing, and deploying web applications across the Microsoft Web Platform. Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 provides the core tools that are required to build compelling, innovative Windows Metro style apps.
- Visual Studio Professional : Unified development experience that enables developers to create multi-tier applications across the web, cloud, and devices. It provides the ability to maintain and modernize existing applications while building cutting-edge apps for new platforms such as Windows 8.
- Visual Studio Premium : Offers an integrated ALM solution to bring together stakeholders, users, and software development functions to deliver compelling applications as a unified team. Businesses of all sizes require collaboration across a diverse set of team players, often working in heterogeneous development environments, to deliver software applications with agility that yield predictable value. Visual Studio Premium provides business analysts, project managers and testers, alongside developers and users, with the tools to integrate their processes and collaborate seamlessly. It comprises agile project planning and management, stakeholder and user engagement, developer productivity, and quality enablement and testing capabilities to deliver an integrated ALM solution.
- Visual Studio Ultimate : Comprehensive ALM offering for organizations developing and operating highly scalable software applications and services. It provides architecture discovery and validation tools that enable teams to maintain a high degree of architectural integrity and efficiently manage technical debt. Quality of Service testing tools helps proactively validate the scalability of software applications and services in meeting the target scaling requirements. Incident management and production debugging seamlessly integrate development and operations teams in releasing, monitoring, and maintaining applications in production.
- Visual Studio Test Professional : Ideal for testers, business analysts, product managers, and other stakeholders who need team collaboration tools, but not a full development IDE. These team members can take advantage of an integrated testing and product management toolset that delivers quality across the development process. Visual Studio Test Professional also supports lightweight requirements definition and continuous customer feedback, and provides traceability across these processes.
- Microsoft Test Manager enables you to manage and execute test cases outside Visual Studio, and create and manage physical or virtual environments. This client application installs with Visual Studio Premium 2012, Visual Studio Ultimate 2012, and Visual Studio Test Professional 2012.