Visual Studio Incompatibility Hits Vista

Microsoft acknowledged Tuesday that developers looking to build applications on Windows Vista will need to upgrade to Visual Studio 2005 SP1, highlighting compatibility issues the company is dealing with as the new operating system nears release.

Both Visual Studio 2002 and 2003 will not work on Vista, and the most recent update to Visual Studio 2005, Service Pack 1, will likely have compatibility problems. Microsoft is working hard to resolve those issues before Vista ships. Developers can continue to use Windows XP to build applications that also run on Vista.

The primary issue behind the incompatibility is the .NET Framework. Windows Vista will ship with version 3.0 of the .NET Framework, while older versions of Visual Studio stop at 1.0. An add-in to VS 2005 offers .NET Framework 3.0 support atop its native 2.0, along with support for Vista and Office 2007.

Microsoft says it is endeavoring to make sure all .NET Framework 1.1 and 2.0 applications will continue to work in the new operating system, but there are numerous bugs still to work out. Support for Visual Studio 6.0 applications is also in the works.

"We had a choice to make internally – hold up VS 2005 SP1 till we get the fixes in or decouple and ship VS 2005 SP1 as soon as possible knowing that we have to provide fixes for some of those Vista compatibility issues later," explained Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division. "Based on your feedback of having SP1 for VS 2005 soon, we decided to separate the two."

VS 2005 SP1 was released in beta form Tuesday, with a final release expected in 3 to 4 months. It addresses feedback provided by customers and gathered through internal testing, a company spokesperson said. Microsoft will provide an upgrade to SP1 after that in order to add support for Windows Vista.

"Visual Studio 2005 SP1 will run on Vista but will likely have a few compatibility issues," added Somasegar. "We are working with the Vista team to understand those, to provide workarounds where possible and also work on providing you with a set of fixes beyond SP1."

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