Application Compatibility Overview [Application Compatibility Guide] 

Platform SDK: Application Compatibility Guide

Application Compatibility Overview

The best way to enable your applications to take full advantage of the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP operating systems is to use the application programming interface described in the Microsoft® Platform Software Development Kit (SDK). This is also the best way to ensure that your applications run on future versions of the Windows operating system.

Applications that adhere to The Application Specification for Windows 2000 are compatible with Windows 2000 and use the new technologies this operating system provides. You can download the specification from the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site.

Many application compatibility problems encountered by developers are due to a few new features and changes that have been made to the operating system. For a list of these, see Common Application Compatibility Issues. Your application can avoid problems with these issues by adhering to the points described in Best Practices When Designing for Application Compatibility. Adherence to these best practices when developing your application can prevent the majority of application compatibility problems.

In most cases, applications you have developed for earlier versions of Windows should perform well on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. However, because Windows 2000 and Windows XP are fundamentally new technologies, you still need to test your existing applications on the new operating system. Even if you currently use Microsoft Windows NT®, you should not assume that all your applications will work in the same way. You should also test to determine whether your existing applications still provide the best possible experience to your users. Many compatibility issues with existing application can be resolved by making full use of the new operating system enhancements.

Even if you are testing an application that you did not develop yourself, the Windows 2000 Application Specification and Best Practices When Designing for Application Compatibility can provide useful insight into how to test these applications.

  Last updated: April 2004  |  What did you think of this topic?  |  Order a Platform SDK CD
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