The release of "Longhorn" represents a milestone in the history of client
operating systems. The next version of the Microsoft® Windows® client
represents a vast array of new functionality and provides a platform for writing
a new type of software that realizes the potential for the kinds of applications
demanded by customers. New APIs and system services offer a rich array of functionality
and offer many possibilities.
However, Microsoft recognizes that it
is essential for existing applications to continue to run and thrive on this new
platform and, with this in mind, Microsoft's goal is for all current applications
to continue to execute as expected. Not only is backward compatibility essential,
but it is also important to provide a mechanism such that new functionality can
be incorporated into existing applications in an incremental fashion. It may be
the case that some software developers will choose to rewrite their entire application
using exclusively new APIs and functionality. However, many will choose to incorporate
a subset of the new APIs and functionality into their existing applications. In
addition, many organizations will need to continue to maintain an existing code
base for earlier clients. The platform provided by "Longhorn" allows
for all of these strategies across the spectrum-from not modifying a single line
of code to rewriting the entire application, and everything in between.
With this range of options, guidance is crucial to understand how to proceed.
There are many different ways to approach this spectrum and important engineering
decisions must be made regarding which areas of "Longhorn" to target
and how to approach the topic of interoperability and migration. This guide will
provide alpha patterns and practices for architects and developers with recommended
approaches, strategies, and techniques.
There is no single "Longhorn" migration strategy for existing applications.
There is a collection of possible strategies and a particular application may
use more than one strategy. Much depends on the specifics of the application.
In order to choose a strategy, an evaluation of the application must occur from
a technical perspective. Following that, a cost/benefit analysis of the different
migration strategies is in order.
are four basic approaches to migration.
" Completely port the application
to WinFX managed classes. This approach is the most labor intensive. However,
it provides the greatest access to the "Longhorn" feature set, and puts
the entire application under a common framework.
" Rewrite parts of the
application using WinFX, but leave others essentially as-is. Parts of the application
may make little or no use of "Longhorn" features or derive too little
benefit from "Longhorn" to make porting that part of the application
worthwhile. Others areas of the application, such as UI code, may gain substantial
benefits from porting to "Longhorn." In this scenario, the preexisting
code is left largely intact, but modified to interoperate with other parts of
the application that have been ported to WinFX.
Host discrete Win32 modules, such as an ActiveX control, in a new "Longhorn"-based
application. Some applications have a substantial investment in code that is contained
in discrete modules, such as ActiveX controls. This investment can be maintained
by hosting these modules in a "Longhorn"-based application. This approach
is especially useful short term. An application can be up and running quickly
by simply hosting the modules, while over the longer term, rewriting the modules
Host a "Longhorn" component, such as a wizard, in an existing application.
You can extend an existing application, such as a Windows Forms application or
a Win32 application, to take advantage of "Longhorn" technologies by
hosting "Longhorn"-based modules such as controls or dialog boxes. This
is also a useful short-term expedient to quickly add "Longhorn" capabilities
to an application, while over the longer term rewriting the application more fully
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