As applications move forward, they support only newer versions of third-party software and remove support for older versions. It’s not really surprising; it’s all to do with QA and being able to take advantage of newer functionality.
There is one area in particular of the Synergy/DE toolset that is constantly moving forward to support newer 3rd party tools, with extended functionality and in some cases bug fixes – and that’s xfODBC. With the newer technologies like ADO.NET and new client tools that use it, we had to enhance many parts of the whole stack to support ADO .NET properly. This means that if you try to use years old versions of Synergy/DE with current 3rd party tools, it most likely won’t work, or at the very least performance won’t be great. If you expect current technologies such as SQL Server reporting tools, Visual Studio 2008, or Office 2007 (Excel) to work with xfODBC, you/your customers really must be using the latest versions of Synergy/DE. Synergex is really no different than Oracle or SQLServer in this regard. We make constant improvements to our optimizer, just like the other database vendors – and these changes can provide dramatic improvements in ad hoc query performance with Synergy databases.
Vista support is another area that requires you to stay current. Just like most 3rd party software was enhanced to work with Windows Vista, so was Synergy/DE. We had significant work to do to ensure we worked well with Vista and its whole UAC mechanism and to ensure both install and uninstall worked well. I don’t really understand why someone would try to run an older 8.3.1 or 8.1.7e version of Synergy on this newer platform – I understand that there is testing to do with application compatibility, but now that Service PAK 1 is ready to roll, businesses will start to move over more quickly. Our customers have been successful using 9.1.1b as the deployment platform for Server and Vista, with the clients and the .dbr files still using 8.3.1. Any fixes required to allow 8.3.1/9.1.1 co-existence can be made to be compatible with both while compiling under 8.3.1; however, unless there are bugs in original code, this is extremely rare.
In conclusion, if a company (or an ISV’S customers) wants to keep current with newer, rapidly changing technology, the base technology (Visual Studio, Synergy/DE) must be current as well.