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Microsoft Cautions Developers About Visual Studio/Vista Conflicts

The company said it will release a patch to fix incompatibilities between Visual Studio 2005 and Vista, the latter of which won't support older versions of the development application.

Microsoft set off a furor among developers this week when it disclosed that Visual Studio 2005 won't be fully compatible with Vista and that older versions of Visual Studio won't be supported at all on Vista.

Microsoft pledged to smooth out the Visual Studio 2005 software conflicts with a patch "soon" after Vista's release, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company isn't committing to a time frame for the update.

The news came bundled with a beta release of Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1, which is scheduled to ship in three to four months. SP1 rounds up fixes for an assortment of bugs and stability issues uncovered through Microsoft's internal testing and its MSDN product feedback site.

"This was a tough decision for us internally, whether to hold the service pack to get all of the [Vista] fixes or get it out there sooner," said Jay Roxe, group product manager for Visual Studio at Microsoft. "The feedback from customers was that they want it sooner."

With or without SP1, Visual Studio 2005 will run on Vista, but with glitches and breaks requiring workarounds, Roxe said. Meanwhile, Microsoft officially put the kibosh on support for Visual Studio .Net 2002 or Visual Studio .Net 2003 on Vista.

That decision sparked howls of protest from developers who don't like the idea of a forced migration.

"I'm going to jump on the 'I'm outraged' bandwagon," blogged one developer who needs to support code in Visual Studio .Net 2003.

The annoyance spilled over to Microsoft developer division head S. Somasegar's blog, where the Visual Studio/Vista incompatibilities were announced. "Why is [it] that your flagship dev product does not work well enough with your flagship brand new OS?" one commenter asked in the blog.

Visual Studio joins a growing list of Microsoft products that won't play well with Vista without updates. SQL Server 2005 will also require the latest service packs to support Vista.

In the meantime, Microsoft still hasn't set a timeline for its next Visual Studio iteration, code-named Orcas. Yet Roxe said Microsoft is confident that Visual Studio 2005 will provide all the tools programmers need to build for Vista.

"The plan is that once Visual Studio 2005 and the service pack and the Vista update are out, Visual Studio 2005 is going to be a first-class development environment for Windows Vista," Roxe said. "We will provide support for all the functionality that users have come to expect."

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