DXperience moving to .NET 3.5 or above after next major release

01 July 2011

One of the discussions we had last week was over our continued support for Visual Studio 2005 and .NET versions prior to 3.5. We’ve come to the conclusion that we are unnecessarily limiting the features we can produce for WinForms and ASP.NET.

Welding Starburstphoto © 2008 Casimiro Zmtih | more info (via: Wylio)(Aside: remember that our WPF and Silverlight products now require Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 in order that we can provide the best story with regard to design-time and run-time functionality. ASP.NET MVC requires Visual Studio 2008 or later and .NET 3.5 or later already.)

So what are we missing out with by continuing to support .NET 2.0 with our controls? The most obvious answer is LINQ and lambda expressions. Although we use them to a certain extent in example programs we provide as part of support, we can’t embrace them at all in our core code. That also means we can’t readily provide APIs that support LINQ or lambda expressions.

Continuing, we have:

  • The var type. Yes, we’d like to use it in certain scenarios since it has the ability to make the code easier to read.
  • Partial classes? Would be nice too, although I’m not sure where we could use them, apart form in our demo apps.
  • Automatic properties? +1, several times over.
  • Anonymous types? Certainly.
  • Extension methods? Well… OK, the jury is still out on that feature for our libraries.
  • WCF? Sure thing, we’d love to use it internally where needed or to provide APIs for it.

So, we took a look at our customer data with regard to usage of Visual Studio 2005 and .NET 2.0/3.0. It turns out that the number of customers (that we can detect, admittedly) using VS2005 is dropping remarkably quickly. From May last year to June this year, the number of customers using VS2005 has dropped 90%. A year ago, we saw 24% of customers using VS2005, now roughly 3% of our customers are still using it. By November/December, when we release v2011.2, how many will there be?

The decision we came to is to make v2011.1 the final major release where we will support Visual Studio 2005 and versions of .NET earlier than 3.5, just as we did five years ago when v2006.3 became the final version to support Visual Studio 2002/2003 and .NET 1.x. DXperience v2011.2 will only support Visual Studio 2008 or later, and .NET 3.5 or later.

So what do you think? Are you still using VS2005 and .NET 2.0? Or have you moved on to later versions already and found we’re holding you back? Let me know, either as a comment to this post, or by emailing me directly at julianb@devexpress.com. Of course, you can also email the full management team using management@devexpress.com, if you wish.

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