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The XP era is over – what does that mean to you?

By Roger Andrews, Posted on July 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

As Windows XP is no longer available as of June 30th, I’d like to talk about your options regarding Synergy/DE support for Windows Vista.

While Microsoft may have pulled the plug on Windows XP as of June 30, it still continues to offer the home version for ultra low end PCs that can’t run Vista. However, if you go to Dell or HP, you won’t be able to select XP for a new system. Manufacturers can continue to sell XP while “stocks last” but in today’s highly evolving marketplace, who would stock XP just in case someone might buy it one day? Further, volume license customers can’t purchase XP licenses any more—the only way for a business customer to get it is to buy Vista Enterprise and downgrade to XP.

So, where does that leave Synergy/DE customers sitting on the fence and using versions of Synergy/DE prior to 9? Well, as of July 1, the supported route is to upgrade to version 9. Any new machines your customers/users buy will be running Vista, which means you need version 9 for that user (if you want to deploy a supported version). We just shipped our latest version in the 9 series, version 9.1.5, which we recommend using.

So what do you do if you want to use Vista and Server 2008 but your installed base is using 8.3.1# and you don’t want to upgrade them all at once? We have customers who have been accomplishing all of this successfully by continuing to build their .dbr and .elb files with 8.3 and then running those 8.3-built files under Synergy/DE 9.  In the rare documented cases where version 9 finds an issue not present in 8.3 (e.g., the new duplicate global data section of differing sizes), the issue can be fixed back in the 8.3 code base producing a .dbr that runs perfectly on both 8.3 and 9. This same technique should be used if you are requiring a hotfix for a problem in 8.3. Synergex’s policy is to provide Synergy/DE 9 for deployments of the fix rather than an 8.3 patch.

Now you may ask, what about development? We still recommend you use the latest version 9  tools to build and develop your applications (so you can take advantage of improved error detection and increased developer productivity), but you can rebuild the tested .dbr files under 8.3 for mass deployment.

Given that the XP era has ended, I recommend that all ISVs test their current pre-9 applications under Synergy/DE 9.1.5 so they can be assured of continued customer satisfaction when the inevitable Vista machine is encountered. I also recommend that all new customer installations be V9 throughout, or at least adopt the built-under-8.3-deployed-under 9 model described above.

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