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  1. #1
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    backward compatibility (Project 98)

    (This may be applicable to other desktop applications within MSoft and other vendors)
    A colleague's client uses, I think, Project 2003.
    I have a copy of Project 98.
    I refuse to spend time locating a legal version of 2003 until I've pinned down real specs for the VBA coding work.
    In the meantime, my colleague and I exchange project files (*.MPP), with little success.

    Colleague can read my 98 MPPs, but I can't read my colleague's 2003 MPP files.
    Naturally. I expected no less, having lived with backward Compatibility all my programming life.

    If colleague saves a 2003 Project in Project 98 format, it is unreadable at my end.

    However, if I send a genuine Project 98 MPP to colleague, he can modify it, save it as Project98 format, and it is readable at my end.

    There's probably a PHD lurking here for some lucky hacker.
    MSoft's outbound filters may be failing when the file (MPP, XLS, DOC etc) are originally in the higher format (in this case 2003), but may succeed when the original is in a lower format (in my case 98).

  2. #2
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    Re: backward compatibility (Project 98)

    >I refuse to spend time locating a legal version of 2003

    You may want to reconsider - legal versions of pre-2007 MSP are rapidly heading to the hen's teeth category. A client recently took over two weeks before they finally laid their hands on a copy.

    >There's probably a PHD lurking here for some lucky hacker.

    Maybe, although the patchy compatibility between different MSP releases is fairly well established. Each newer release can mostly understand any of the earlier ones, and to a lesser degree save backwards compatible files for use in the earlier releases. But the chances of success diminish as the distance between releases grows.

    If the plan is simple it may all work OK. Unfortunately real life plans are rarely simple. It seems (and this is where that PHD could be lurking) that the "behind the scenes" functionality mechanisms vary from release tro release. When you attempt to move a plan between releases these variations can affect how (if) the plan works and can cause unexpected differences in behaviour although the only thing that has changed is the version of MSP.

    The fact that your MPP exchanges don't work could be blessing in disguise; at least it saves trying to work out why the same plan behaves differently in two different versions of the supposedly same program.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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  3. #3
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    Re: backward compatibility (Project 98)

    Thanks, Tim, for the confirmation.

    >A client recently took over two weeks before they finally laid their hands on a copy
    Which is why I can't be bothered. That's too much work (for me) to provide a low-cost mock-up of a solution.
    That, too, is why I decided to bang about with MSP 98/2003.

    >But the chances of success diminish as the distance between releases grows
    Exactly. What staggers me is that there appears to be a loophole in the failure! It seems that from MSP 2003 you can't (successfully) save in 98 format - unless you are saving an original MSP 98 file. My guess is that the MSP2003 detects the 98 flag and follows a different path of code.

    Overall I learned that, for any desktop software, if a backward-save can't be made to work, it's worthwhile sending an empty document/workbook/project to the later version, having the colleague do their work in that file, and then save it backwards with a chance of success.
    It certainly seems to work for MSP.

    How many folks have tried, unsuccessfully, to save a MSP2003 as an MSP98, when all they needed to do was start with a virgin MSP98?

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