Visual Studio and Vista

26 September 2006

Some interesting news appeared on Somasegar's blog this morning (in essence, he's in charge of devdiv at Microsoft, those awfully nice people who bring us Visual Studio).

There were two main points to his latest post:

1. The first beta of Visual Studio 2005 SP1 was released this morning. To which we all heave a huge sigh of relief having wondered what the heck was happening when SP1 was released for VS2003. It seems they had a choice: ship SP1 with (or soon after) Vista, or decouple VS and Vista and prepare to ship the service pack first. They chose the latter, which is good news in a way (we get fixes earlier) and not so good news in another (there will have to be a "top-up" release soon after Vista ships). Anyway, we should be getting the actual SP1 release in the next 3 to 4 months, which makes it a New Year present.

2. And then he talked about what will or will not work (or, rather, be supported) with Windows Vista.

I'd like to delve a little more into this second point of his post, but first here are the actual facts from it:

a. Vista will ship with .NET Framework 3.0. (This is essentially an add-on to .NET Framework 2.0 that supports the WPFs and WCFs and WWFs WFs of the new world.)

b. Applications that use .NET Framework 1.1 and 2.0 will work on Vista.

c. VS2002 and VS2003 are not supported on Vista.

d. VS2005 is supported on Vista; it is the development environment du choix for Vista.

e. Both the VB6 IDE and run-time will be supported on Vista.

OK. Now you've had time to digest that a little bit, let's talk about what wasn't said. First, .NET Framework 1.0 is not supported on VIsta. Now, I suppose what I mean by this statement is that may work or it may not, but that they're not actively testing for it. OK, to be honest, I'm not too bothered by this: .NET 1.0 is long gone and so is VS2002.

Second, I just don't know whether the fact that VS2003 is not supported in Vista means that, although it has no support, you'll be fine using it, or that there are some issues with running VS2003 in Vista, but that they're not going to actively try and work out what they are and fix them. Indeed Soma says that you can use VS2003 on Windows XP to develop applications that target Vista. This is fine as far as it goes, of course, but I reckon anyone who does that for a living will soon go batty and upgrade to VS2005. (And if I were cynical, I'd say ah ha!)

It also speaks volumes that they're willing to go the extra mile for VB6's IDE (yes, the last VB before dotnetification), but not for VS2003. Why? Is it more important that VB6 developers are able to develop and deploy on Vista rather than VS2003 developers of all stripes? Why can't they develop on XP and deploy on Vista? If it's good enough for VS2003 developers (who presumably have spent money with Microsoft more recently than VB6 developers), why isn't it good enough for VB6 devs?

Tough cheddar if you're a VC6 developer, by the way: you should be using VS2005, don'tcha know.

And my cynicism meter is redlining so I'd better stop right now.


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