Learning Windows programming–part 2

Last time I mentioned that I want to teach my son how to write a simple Windows program, an auto-clicker to help him level up in Roblox. Today I’ll define what tools we will use. Actually it’s just one really… The IDE. We don’t need a database for this first program.

Microsoft have a free edition of their full IDE called Visual Studio Community Edition. That’s what I use for personal projects outside of work. It’s nearly identical to their expensive professional edition – at least I can’t see any differences. Since they move their downloads around from time to time, your best bet is to Google Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition Offline download. At the moment, this page tells you how to get it. Older versions had ISO downloads where you could get a DVD image, but these days you run their installation bootstrapper with a /layout parameter and give it a path where it must download the installation files, and optionally select which components you want. I always just get everything. It’s largish, around 40GB, but then again, although that was large in the old days, these are the days when a brand new Xbox game requires an immediate 80GB update if you buy the disk, so I suggest getting it this way. (That is, download the bootstrapper, then run it with /layout so that it installs the full offline installer; then install it from your drive.) If you don’t install all the components and then later discover you want to write a project that isn’t supported with the tools you have, you can always run the installer again and add the missing components (and you have to run it every time there’s an update anyway), but I prefer to have all components installed, and suggest the same for anyone who doesn’t know what components they might need.

Granted this is overkill for the first little program we will write, but at least with it, we then have scope to write all kinds of programs, create web applications, backend services… whatever.

It takes a while to install… maybe 20 minutes or so on a SDD, but on my older computer with a HDD, more than four hours, so I left it to install overnight while I slept. And thus I will end part 2 of this series here.


Although this is a programming series, I’m not posting it on my programming blog because this is really about me trying to figure out how to teach programming to my 12 year old son. It’s an experiment that might fail because I can’t teach for shit… But I may republish it there if it goes well.

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