There was a bit of hullabaloo recently when Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2005 was the only version of VS that would be supported in the Windows Vista operating system. Contributor Mike Gunderloy covered all the bases in Visual Studio vs. Vista: What's going on here?.
There is a way to circumvent this lack of support (though it may not be entirely ideal) -- develop and deploy .NET applications in a version of Visual Studio 2003 that sits on a Virtual PC loaded with Windows XP.
The development part is old hat, but deployment may not be. That is where the consultancy SSW (Superior Software for Windows) comes in. The group recently released a white paper, available for download as a Word document, called Taking Advantage of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 for Developing and Maintaining .NET 1.1 and 2.0 Applications in Microsoft Windows Vista.
The report identifies a number of reasons why developers may want to keep applications in .NET 1.1 and 2.0. For example, Vista's 64-bit architecture and beefed up security features could make a migration rather painful. In addition, any app that runs operating system version checks may not install if it cannot find Windows XP, even if it runs just fine in Vista.
If an enterprise wants to run Windows Vista and keep its legacy applications, then Virtual PC 2007, due for release this spring, is the answer, as it allows two different operating systems to run on the same machine. "The most obvious benefit of Virtual PC is that it allows developers to develop and test incompatible and legacy applications in parallel while migrating to Vista, therefore creating a smooth migration process and allowing mission critical operation to run as per normal," the report states.
The report then provides instructions for using Virtual PC 2007 to develop and maintain .NET 1.1 and .NET 2.0 applications in Vista. As an alternative to Virtual PC, SSW notes that .NET 2.0 developers may want to consider downloading VS 2005 Service Pack 1 and using the updated IDE to develop for Windows Vista.