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Visual Studio 2012 Compatibility

Some solutions, projects, files, and other assets that you created in Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will run without modification in Visual Studio 2012, but others have to be upgraded. This document describes how various kinds of assets behave in these two versions of Visual Studio.

Many widely used assets behave the same in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For example, in Visual Studio 2012, you can open a project that was created in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, change it, and then reopen it in Visual Studio 2010 SP1; your changes persist and the project behaves the same as it does in Visual Studio 2012. For information about why only Visual Studio 2010 SP1 assets can be migrated seamlessly into Visual Studio 2012 and opened successfully in both versions, see Round-tripping with Visual Studio 2012.

If you use both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you can create and modify projects and files in either version as long as you don't add features that require Visual Studio 2012.

For more information about how to upgrade specific project types and troubleshoot upgrade problems, see:

NoteNote

Windows Store projects that you create by using Visual Studio 2013 RC cannot be opened in Visual Studio 2012. That is because Windows Store projects created by using Visual Studio 2013 RC target Windows 8.1, and Visual Studio 2012 supports only Windows Store projects that target Windows 8.

The following list describes support in Visual Studio 2012 for projects that were created by using Visual Studio 2010 SP1. You can use this list to help determine whether you can open a project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, and whether you have to modify it to ensure compatibility.

Type of Project

Compatibility

.NET Framework 4.5

You can create and open the project in Visual Studio 2012 but not in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For more information, see Migration Guide to the .NET Framework 4.5.

BizTalk 2010

BizTalk 2010 projects are not compatible with Visual Studio 2012. To use Visual Studio 2012 with BizTalk 2010 projects, you must install BizTalk 2013 on the computer that has Visual Studio 2012. The first time you open a BizTalk 2010 project, it is automatically upgraded to the BizTalk 2013/Visual Studio 2012 project system.

C#/Visual Basic Silverlight 4 or Silverlight 5 Application or Class Library

If you allow Visual Studio to update the project automatically, you can open it in either Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

C#/Visual Basic Silverlight 3 Application or Class Library

If you allow Visual Studio to upgrade the project to Silverlight 5 and you install the corresponding Silverlight runtime and tools on the computers that are running Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you can open the project in both versions of Visual Studio.

C#/Visual Basic Webform or Windows Form

You can open the project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Coded UI test

If you allow Visual Studio to update the project automatically, you can open it in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For more information, see Upgrading Tests from Earlier Versions of Visual Studio.

F#

You can upgrade most F# projects to Visual Studio 2012 when you first open them in that version. However, you can’t upgrade a Silverlight project that was created in an older version of Visual Studio to Visual Studio 2012. Instead, you must create a Silverlight project in Visual Studio 2012 and then copy your code into it. Silverlight projects that you create in Visual Studio 2012 target Silverlight 5.

LightSwitch

If you allow Visual Studio to upgrade the project automatically, you can open it in Visual Studio 2012 only.

Local Database Cache

The Local Database Cache template and the Configure Data Synchronization dialog box are not included in Visual Studio 2012. You can use Visual Studio 2012 to open and run projects that were created in Visual Studio 2010 if Microsoft Synchronization Services v1.0 is installed, but if you want to update them in Visual Studio 2012, you must make all changes manually in code. As an alternative, you can continue to use Visual Studio 2010 to maintain and update these projects. For new development, target the new synchronization model that's provided by the Microsoft Sync Framework. For information, see Microsoft Sync Framework Developer Center

Model-View-Controller framework

If a Model-View-Controller (MVC) project uses MVC 3 or MVC 4, you can open it in Visual Studio 2012. By default, Visual Studio 2010 SP1 supports only MVC 2 and MVC 3, and Visual Studio 2012 supports only MVC 3 and MVC 4. For information about how to automatically upgrade from MVC 2 to MCV 3, see ASP.NET MVC 3 Application Upgrader. For information about how to manually upgrade from MVC 2 to MVC 3, see Upgrading an ASP.NET MVC 2 Project to ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update. If your project targets the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, you must retarget it to use the .NET Framework 4.

Modeling

If you allow Visual Studio to update the project automatically, you can open it in either Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2010 SP1. When it builds a modeling project, Team Foundation Build attempts to validate the layers in the project.

In Visual Studio 2012, Team Foundation Build can't validate the layers in a modeling project that was created in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. However, in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, Team Foundation Build can validate the layers in a modeling project that was created in Visual Studio 2012.

MPI/Cluster Debugging

If the same version of the runtime or tools is installed on the computers that are running Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you can open this project in both of them.

MSI setup (.vdproj)

You can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012 because it doesn't support that project type. We recommend that you use InstallShield Limited Edition for Visual Studio (ISLE), a free deployment solution that directly supports most Windows platforms and application runtimes. You can also use ISLE to import data and settings from Visual Studio Installer projects. For more information, see Windows Installer Deployment.

Office 2007 VSTO

If you upgrade the project to target Office 2010 and the .NET Framework 4, you can open this project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Office 2010 VSTO

If the project targets the .NET Framework 4, you can open this project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. All other projects require a one-way upgrade.

Rich Internet Applications

If you upgrade the project, you can open it in Visual Studio 2012 only. For more information, see How to: Upgrade Rich Internet Applications to Visual Studio 2012.

SharePoint 2007

You can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012. However, if you manually upgrade the project to SharePoint 2010, you can open it in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For more information about how to upgrade SharePoint 2007, see Migrating from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 for the IT Pro, Migrating a 2007 Workflow to Visual Studio & SharePoint 2010, and SharePoint Enterprise Search Migration Tool for SharePoint Server 2010.

SharePoint 2010

You can open the project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

SketchFlow

You can open the project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

SQL Server CE 3.5

If you upgrade the project to SQL Server CE 4.0, you can open it in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

SQL Server 2008 Express database

You can open the project in Visual Studio 2012 only. If you have a database file (.mdf) that was created in an earlier version of SQL Server, you must upgrade it to SQL Server 2012 before you can use it with SQL Server Express LocalDB. If you upgrade, you gain the benefits of SQL Server Express LocalDB, but the database is no longer compatible with earlier versions of SQL Server. If you don’t upgrade, you can continue to work with the database in Visual Studio 2012 by installing and using SQL Server 2008 Express on the same computer. For more information, see How to: Upgrade to LocalDB or Continue with SQL Server Express.

SQL Server 2008 R2 Express

If SQL Server 2008 R2 Express is installed on the computers that are running Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you can open the project in both of them.

SQL Server Report Project

You can open the project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For local mode only (that is, when not connected to SQL Server), you won’t get the design-time experience for controls that are associated with the viewer in Visual Studio 2010, but the project will function correctly at runtime.

Caution noteCaution

If you add a feature that’s specific to Visual Studio 2012, the report schema is upgraded automatically and you can no longer open the project in Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Unit tests

You can use Microsoft Test Manager in both Visual Studio 2010 SP1 and Visual Studio 2012 to open tests that were created in either version. For more information, see Upgrading Tests from Earlier Versions of Visual Studio.

Visual C++

You can use Visual Studio 2012 to open a C++ project that was created in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. If you want to use the Visual Studio 2012 build environment to build a project that was created in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you must have both versions of Visual Studio installed on the same computer. For more information, see How to: Upgrade Visual C++ Projects to Visual Studio 2012.

Visual Studio 2010 web

If you allow Visual Studio to upgrade the project automatically, you can open it in bothVisual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Visual Studio 2010 Database (.dbproj)

If you convert the project to a SQL Server Data Tools Database project, you can open it in Visual Studio 2012. However, Visual Studio 2012 doesn’t support these artifacts:

  • unit tests

  • data-generation plans

  • data-comparison files

  • custom rule extensions for static code analysis

  • server.sqlsettings

  • .sqlcmd files

  • custom deployment extensions

  • partial projects (.files)

If you install SQL Server Data Tools, you can open the project in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 after the conversion. For more information, see Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.

Visual Studio 2010 Visual Database Tools

You can open this project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Visual Studio Lab Management

You can use Microsoft Test Manager in Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2010 SP1 to open environments that were created in either version. However, the version of Microsoft Test Manager must match the version of Team Foundation Server before you can create environments. For more information, see Upgrading Lab Management Components from Visual Studio 2010.

Visual Studio Macro

You can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012 because it doesn't support the project type.

Visual Studio SDK/VSIX

After you upgrade a Visual Studio SDK project to Visual Studio 2012, it can't be opened in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For more information, see How to: Migrate VSPackages to Visual Studio 2012.

Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio

If you’re using Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio, version 1.7, you can open the project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. For information about how to use Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio, see What's New in the Windows Azure Tools. If you’re using version 1.6 or earlier, you can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012.

Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation

You can open this project in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Windows Mobile

You can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012 because it doesn't support the project type.

Windows Phone

You can’t open this project in Visual Studio 2012 because it doesn't support the project type.

Other

You can open most other types of projects in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Here are some things you can do when a project won't open in Visual Studio 2012:

  • If you try to open a project that isn't supported in Visual Studio 2012 and for which the associated version of Visual Studio isn't installed, a message that the project type isn't supported might appear and the project type might be listed in the Review Project and Solution Changes dialog box under Unsupported projects. To resolve this issue, open the programs and features page in the Windows Control Panel, select Visual Studio, and then choose Change, Repair. Then you can install the missing version.

  • If you try to open a project for a desktop app in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, an error occurs and one of these messages is displayed: "This edition of Visual Studio only supports Windows Store apps" or "This project is incompatible with the current edition of Visual Studio." Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 is restricted to the development, testing, and deployment of Windows Store apps. To open a desktop app project, you must use an edition of Visual Studio that supports that project type. For more information about the Visual Studio editions, see Microsoft Visual Studio Products.

  • If a project requires features that are specific to Visual Studio 2012, you can't open that project in an earlier version. For example, an error occurs if you try to use an earlier version of Visual Studio to open a project that targets the .NET Framework 4.5. Furthermore, you can enable language features such as Visual Basic Iterators and Visual Basic Core in Visual Studio 2012, but those projects might not build correctly in earlier versions.

  • If you're using Visual Studio 2010 without SP1 and you want to open a project that was created Visual Studio 2012, you might be able to customize the project system to incorporate features of Visual Studio 2012. For information about how to do this, see How to: Modify a Project System So That Projects Load in Multiple Versions of Visual Studio.

The following list identifies whether Visual Studio 2012 supports each type of file, whether you can open the file in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, and whether you have to modify it to ensure compatibility.

Type of File

Compatibility

AppManifest, Inbrowsersettings, OutOfBrowserSettings (.xml files)

You can open these files in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

BizTalk flat file schemas

You can add these schemas to a BizTalk 2013 project in Visual Studio 2012. To use Visual Studio 2012 with BizTalk 2010 projects that have flat file schemas, install BizTalk 2013 on the computer that has Visual Studio 2012. The first time you open the BizTalk 2010 project, it is automatically upgraded to the BizTalk 2013 or Visual Studio 2012 project system.

Client Report Definition (.rdlc) files

You can open these files in Visual Studio 2012, and the schema is automatically upgraded if you add Visual Studio 2012 features and controls.

Code analysis rule sets

You can open these files in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Data-tier application package files

You can open these files in Visual Studio 2012 if they’re version 2.0 or version 2.5.

Debugger dump files

You can open these files in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. To use Visual Studio 2010 SP1 to view the managed dump that's created in Visual Studio 2012 for Windows Store apps, you must install the .NET Framework 4.5.

Directed Graph Markup Language (DGML) diagram files

You can open these files in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1 without changing the file. Visual Studio 2010 SP1 can display all of the nodes and links on a diagram that was generated in Visual Studio 2012, except those that haven't been retrieved from a database.

Entity Data Model (EDMX) files

In Visual Studio 2012, you can open an EDMX file that targets the .NET Framework 3.5 or the .NET Framework 4 without changing the file. You can’t open EDMX files in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 if you created them in Visual Studio 2012 and the file targets the .NET Framework 4.5 or was generated from Database Projects or DACPACs. To open such a file in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you must manually retarget the file or convert it.

  1. In Entity Designer, open the project.

  2. Open the shortcut menu for the project, choose Export Complete EDMX, and then save the new file.

The new file is an EDMX file that targets a database, instead of a Database Project file (.dacpac).

Profiler report files

You can open Profiler report files (.vsp .vsps, .psess, and .vspf) in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. You can’t open a .vspx file in Visual Studio 2010 SP1.

Solution (.suo) file

You can use Visual Studio 2012 to open a solution file that was created in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, but the breakpoints, watch items, data tips, and exception settings are migrated to a new .suo file. If you re-open the solution in Visual Studio 2010 SP1, the original .suo file is used. Changes in the .suo files aren't synchronized between the two versions.

SQLX files

To open these files in Visual Studio 2012, you must perform a one-way upgrade, deploy the .sqlx file on the target version of Visual Studio, and then rebuild the file in the .dacpac format.

IntelliTrace log files from Visual Studio 2010

You can open these files in both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1, but IntelliTrace files from Visual Studio 2012 won't work in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 because the newer version has different functionality.

You might encounter compatibility issues if you use clients and servers from different versions of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

Kind of Integration

Compatibility

Code Review and My Work

The Code Review and My Work features won't work if you connect a client of Team Foundation to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8

A 64-bit environment such as MSBuild or Team Foundation Build can't be used to build Windows Store apps that are created in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8.

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