Minimum Windows OS version to target for software development ?

Discussion in 'polls' started by Defenestration, Nov 21, 2008.

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Which Windows OS should be minimum requirement for software development ?

  1. Windows 95

    4.0%
  2. Windows 98/Me

    4.0%
  3. Windows 2000

    36.0%
  4. Windows XP

    44.0%
  5. Windows XP x64

    8.0%
  6. Windows Vista

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Windows Vista x64

    4.0%
  8. Windows Server 2000

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Windows Server 2003

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Windows Server 2003 x64

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Windows Server 2008

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Windows Server 2008 x64

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    1,086
    I'm developing some software for Windows and trying to decide which version of Windows I should target as the minimum requirements. For those non-programmers, this is a factor because newer versions of Windows provide new functionality at the API level (ie. the functions you can call from code) which can make programming easier. However, by using this new functionality, you restrict your app to running on the OS where it was introduced, along with all new OS's (eg. if the functionality was introduced on Windows 2000, then the app would only run on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008 etc.).

    I've read the two existing polls, Windows OS poll 2008 home and Windows OS poll 2008 work, where the results indicate over 95% of people are using XP or Vista (for both home and work).

    I was originally planning on targeting Windows 98 as the minimum level, although this requires more effort to support. Then I was swaying towards Windows 2000 (as this has some decent extra functionality for the programmer), but now I'm considering XP as the minimum.

    What Windows OS should I be targeting as the minimum requirement for my new software apps ?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  2. Minimax2000

    Minimax2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Posts:
    204
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Hello

    Our company in the field of light simulation software supports as minimum Windows 2000. This decision depends also on the requirements of third party APIs and needed Hardware driver support (i.e. OpenGL driver, shared-memory parallel programming with OpenMP, GUI APIs etc). Finally the prevalence of certain Windows OS among the target group should be considered.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Posts:
    3,502
    It will depend on your target.
    Who will use it, for what purpose. What OS do they use, and if you expect them to upgrade to the newest, or not (if they don't have a reason to upgrade for instance).

    It depends imo.
     
  4. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Posts:
    3,798
    If you can make your software work without using the API's that are exclusive to NT systems, go for it. Most of the time, the required tasks can be performed without using the newer APIs.

    I have a multiboot system but my OS of choice is still 98. I realize that we're a minority, but there's a community of users who are very partial to 9X systems. You might consider looking at the KernelEX project, which adds support for some of the NT systems APIs to 98. With KernelEX installed, FireFox 3, the new version of Open Office, and other "NT only" software will run on 98. If you can't make the software function without using those APIs, then avoid putting the OS limitations in the installer and let the KernelEX developers try to add the extra APIs to the project.

    I realize that sites collect usage data that says 9X users are a very small percentage. A lot of 9X users have resorted to altering user agent strings and filtering javascript in order to get around site requirements that the visitors use newer systems. To the sites, we look like XP or Vista users.

    May I ask what type of software you're working on?
     
  5. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Posts:
    1,086
    Thanks for the heads-up. I wasn't aware of this, but it looks like a great idea.

    Mainly utility software initially, although possibly security software in the future. I'll post more details, including a link to the company website and support forum soon.
     
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