Our world is no longer such, that we need to be privileged, in order to have access to a compiler. While Linux offers us their open-source compilers, even the Windows world allows us to download their Visual Studio Express versions by now, although one down-side of that is, the fact that we do not obtain ‘Microsoft Foundation Classes’ this way. This makes the Visual Studio Express compilers a ‘Freemium’.
Yet, they could still act as a workhorse, for projects that were designed to use or build other libraries. And, there exist projects we cannot build with MinGW.
I have held a paid-for license to “Visual Studio 2005″, which I also beta-tested in 2005 before buying it. But obviously, this is such an old compiler version, that many of the open-source projects we can download, can no longer even be built with VS 2005. Yet, back in 2005 I paid a pretty penny for my copy. It currently remains installed on a Windows 7 computer I name ‘Mithral’.
So I have been stuck in a corner, it seemed. I have many VS 2005 projects which I maintained and compiled meticulously, as well as the old, buggy version of ‘MFC’ that came with it, all of which I stood to lose, if I was going to switch to a new compiler for Windows.
And yet, upgrading to a newer compiler has its obvious benefits.
To my rescue, comes the fact that we can install ‘VS 2005′ and ‘VS 2015′ side-by-side! I now have both installed, and both work. And I have built some projects successfully just this night, using Solution Files generated by a 3rd-party tool named “JUCE“.
The main danger to watch out for, is to keep our ‘VS 2005′ and ‘VS 2015′ projects in completely separate folders, because if we open a VS 2005 solution in VS 2015 by accident, it will get converted, and will then never be compatible with VS 2005 again.