There's been alarm expressed in certain quarters following reports like this one suggesting that Windows XP Service Pack 2 could break some existing applications. I wanted to counter this somewhat, or at least provide some potential remedies for those of you who are developing software today that needs to be tested against this new release.
- Firstly, we've made a whole wealth of resources available online that provides training on how to modify your applications accordingly. One of those resources, known as the Book of XPSP2, lists every single change, the potential impact of that change for your own code and workarounds as necessary.
- Secondly, Windows XP Service Pack 2 is available for download to MSDN Subscribers. I've heard from a few of you that would like to see it more broadly available, and I can certainly empathise with that request. Equally though, the purpose of MSDN is to provide exactly this kind of resource: monthly updates of our developer platform and tools. If you're doing professional software development for Windows, MSDN is the single best resource for beta and released software, SDKs, support and documentation.
- Thirdly, we do have a formal beta programme for all service packs these days to ensure that they are at least as well tested as the major releases on which they're based. Unfortunately I think the XPSP2 beta programme is now closed to new nominations as the release date is drawing ever closer.
- Lastly, I don't think it's quite as bad as people are fearing. The changes that are being made protect end-users from the increased threat posed by worms, trojan horses and spyware today, and for most applications will go unnoticed. Once you read the specifics about the changes made, you'll hopefully agree that only a very few niche applications will require modifications to work in the new environment.