Developers relaunching Winamp struggled with upgrading Visual Studio 2008 to 2019 – Visual Studio Magazine


Developers relaunching Winamp struggled with upgrading Visual Studio 2008 to 2019

Last week, news emerged that popular Windows media player Winamp had been relaunched after four years of work by the developers, whose most difficult problem was upgrading the project from Visual Studio 2008 to Visual Studio 2019.

After its debut in 1997 – when users were probably using Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 and used it to listen to MP3 music files – the media player went through ownership changes and had a patchy version history, according to Wikipedia. Proprietor Radionomy released v5.8 in 2018 while announcing that v6 would ship in 2019, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, Winamp 5.9 RC1 was quietly released on July 26, the only indication being a forum post from DJ Egg, a “techorator” on the Winamp & Shoutcast team.

“This is the culmination of 4 years of work since the release of 5.8,” said DJ Egg. “Two development teams and a pandemic-induced hiatus in between.”

Winamp 5.9 RC1
[Click on image for larger view.] Winamp 5.9 RC1

Along the way, the developers ran into a few issues, including upgrading the project – written in C/C++ – from its Visual Studio 2008 foundation to Visual Studio 2019. That meant skipping VS 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2017. surprise, this led to a few challenges.

“To the end user, it might not seem like there’s a whole lot of changes,” said DJ Egg, “but the most important and difficult part was actually migrating the whole project from VS2008 to VS2019 and build everything successfully.”

As much Visual Studio Magazine readers know that for any complicated project, “getting everything built successfully” can be a maddening experience. It follows that skipping four versions of Visual Studio could well be a development nightmare. A specific – albeit minor – issue encountered is: “Unicode support in Plush was discontinued when migrating to VS2019.”

DJ Egg asked users to test all Winamp features, but asked them to do so on Windows 7 – 8.1, “if possible”. While this reporter thought this might be a big question in the age of Windows 11, data from StatCounter indicates that Windows 7 accounted for almost 12% of all current Windows PCs in July 2022, almost exactly the same percentage as Windows 11. Windows 8.1 had less than 3% market share.

This reporter can at least confirm that Winamp is installed and loaded on Windows 10, presenting the user with a short “Llama Whippin’ Intro” audio file of the company’s mascot, DJ Mike Llama, who says dramatically: “Winamp, he really whips the llama’s ass” (referring to the Wesley Willis song “Whip the Llama’s Ass”).

Going forward, “the foundations have now been laid, and now we can focus more on functionality,” said DJ Egg, “whether that’s fixing/replacing old ones or adding new ones. “.

Specifically on the to-do list for the next public release is this item:

Although not included in the Winamp distribution, some plug-ins with a dependency for msvcr90.dll are “not loaded”.
VS2008 Microsoft.VC90.CRT runtime no longer shipped/required/loaded automatically with Winamp 5.9
(VC142 runtime is now installed on Win7-8.1)

Of course, VS 2019 might be considered old technology by some by now, with VS 2022 arriving in November 2021.

It’s unclear if the next development cycle will move to the latest version of Visual Studio. If so, the migration – and successful releases – will likely be much easier.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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