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Building Silverlight 4 app with VS2008

    Question

  • Our site recently rolled out VS 2008 Team Foundation Server.  This included a number of custom plug-ins to support our development process.  Given the amount of effort and time involved, I don't think they will want to upgrade to VS 2010 for some time (even after the official release).

    My group would like to start building a new Silverlight application using Silverlight 4.

    I know the official story is that to build Silverlight 4 apps, you need VS2010 -- otherwise you have no tools, design-time support, etc...  We are okay with that.  As developers, we can install VS2010 and build the applications on our own workstations.  However, when the code is submitted to the department build server, we need to be able to build the app using VS2008 TFS.

    I brought this up with Microsoft Engineers at PDC 09.  While there was no official "blessing" to this approach, they seemed to think that if all of the appropriate SDK's, etc.  were installed, that this scenario would still work -- that is, the build server would be able to build the SL 4 app.

    I have tried a test environment on my machine -- installing VS2010, creating a sample SL 4 app, and then trying to build with VS2008's version of msbuild.exe.  It fails with a number of errors.

    Does anyone know if this is, or will be possible?  I imagine a number of shops will face this same dilemma -- not being able to upgrade their entire build system to VS2010, and yet still wanting to build Silverlight 4 applications.

    Any info would be appreciated.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009 1:07 PM

Answers

  • We are working hard on the performance of VS2010 before the final release.  It's come a long ways already (since Beta 2).  However, there will not be an officially supported method for developing SL4 apps on VS2008.  The development tools will not be updated for any SL 4 features or breaking changes.

    What do you mean about VWD?  It should support any web related projects (web sites, web apps, Silverlight projects, or client libraries) on par with VS.  There are some features that are missing from VWD, but anything else should work fine.  Do you have a specific issue you're running into?

    I should mention that VWD 2010 Beta 2 will have similar performance to VS2010, since it's almost all the same codebase.

    Friday, December 18, 2009 1:30 PM

All replies

  • I'm a little foggy on this since I haven't thought everything through (and I'm on vacation so I'm not looking too hard for answers for a couple more weeks Smile) but it could definitely be tricky.  You can certainly edit your project files to use the SL 4 targets and reference assemblies, but as I recollect the SL 4 runtime is now running on CoreCLR 4 so you may need the .NET 4 build utilities (i.e. MSBuild, etc) to build it properly.  It is probably possible to have a SL 4 app that builds fine on 3.5, but you'll have to watch the code carefully.

    Fun thought experiment, I might look into it later if I have time. Smile

    Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:59 PM
  • I wish there is a way to develop SL4 in VS2008 as well, as VS2010 is dog-slow, a now well-known problem.  Hope the VS team fixes the problem in the final release.

    Jamlew, do you know whether VWD 2010 has the same problem as VS2010?  I am tempted to go with VWD *but* it is not a free transition, as VWD does not (completely) support the solution file generated by VS..

    Thursday, December 17, 2009 1:44 PM
  • We are working hard on the performance of VS2010 before the final release.  It's come a long ways already (since Beta 2).  However, there will not be an officially supported method for developing SL4 apps on VS2008.  The development tools will not be updated for any SL 4 features or breaking changes.

    What do you mean about VWD?  It should support any web related projects (web sites, web apps, Silverlight projects, or client libraries) on par with VS.  There are some features that are missing from VWD, but anything else should work fine.  Do you have a specific issue you're running into?

    I should mention that VWD 2010 Beta 2 will have similar performance to VS2010, since it's almost all the same codebase.

    Friday, December 18, 2009 1:30 PM