In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

No backwards compatibility in Visual Studio?

Thus far, I've been avoiding installing Visual Studio 2008 on my desktop for one reason... I am dreading going back to the dual Visual Studio version days.  I hated back when Visual Studio 2005 came out and used to constantly be switching between 2003 and 2005.  There were 3 main annoyances:

  • Accidentally open a source controlled 2003 project in 2005 and have to upgrade, then get nagged with checking it in, or having to close 2005 and re-open 2003.
  • In CS 2.x, we actually had separate projects for 2003 and 2005... it was a pain when someone added a file to one and not the other.
  • VS 2005 was a big improvement over 2003, however for a lot of projects at the time, I was stuck still using 2003 for a while when I would have liked to been using 2005.
  • Really, you would think the Visual Studio Team could address this.  2008 allows compiling to previous versions of the framework, so why can't it open and re-save older project files?  At the very least, allow it to use 2005 project files without upgrading.  Comparing them, there isn't a whole lot of difference.  However if you upgrade it to 2008, 2005 won't open it.

    What alarms me most is the following:

    • Developers like being cutting edge, so they know we're going to want to upgrade.
    • Company policy often won't let products jump to the latest and greatest right away.  IE, CS 2008 is committed to .NET 2.0 already, and we'll want our project files for the SDK to work in VS 2005.  We'll likely go to .NET 3.5/VS 2008 by CS 2009.
    • Developers use (or should use) source control.  One can't upgrade unless all the developers upgrade.
    • No backwards compatibility hinders adoption.
    • Office does this flawlessly.  Office 2007 introduced new document formats, but it still work seamlessly with older versions.  A Office 2003 user can send me a Word document, I can open it, make changes, save it, and send it back to them with no problems.  It doesn't force me to update the document.

      So why can't Visual Studio offer the same thing?

Monday, December 03, 2007

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