In my previous blog I talked about how in Visual Studio 11 we have eliminated the need to convert your Visual Studio 2010 C++ projects in order to adopt the new IDE. The blog also mentioned that you can build your projects using Visual Studio 2010 compiler (tools and libraries) from within Visual Studio 11 using the multi-targeting feature. This means while you adapt to using the new compiler and while your 3rd party vendors provide you with binaries compatible with the Visual Studio 11 compiler (tools and libraries) you can leverage the new Visual Studio 11 IDE without disrupting your ship cycle. Just set the platform toolset property to v100 in the property pages (requires Visual Studio 2010 to be installed side-by-side with Visual Studio 11). Since no upgrade of your project file is necessary you can continue to load the project/solution in Visual Studio 2010 as well.
We have recently received feedback from a number of customers about the inability to build binaries that run on Windows XP with the Beta version of the Visual Studio 11 compiler and libraries. This is because the C++ compiler and libraries in Visual Studio 11 Beta leverages platform capabilities only available in Windows Vista and higher. However, if support for Windows XP targeting is important to you, then you can use Visual Studio 11 Beta’s multi-targeting capability described above in order to employ the Visual Studio 2010 compiler and libraries to build applications and libraries than execute on Windows XP. This enables you to enjoy the new features of the Visual Studio 11 Beta environment without sacrificing backward compatibly in your applications!