VC++7 to VC++6 project converter


What is this ?

This tool automatically converts Visual C++ 7.0 projects back to Visual C++ 6.0 projects. In other words, .sln/.vcproj file pairs are translated to .dsw/.dsp file pairs.

Important note, there is no loss during the conversion : source code is left unchanged ; only .dsw/.dsp pairs are created (or overwritten).

Why ?

First of all because MS doesn't provide it. It's easy to become cynical against MS when you feel how bad it is to sell developer tools without all the necessary converters mandatorily used.

Without this tool, you end up recreating your projects from scratch : a total waste of time, and prone to errors. Actually there are several scenarios where this tool is useful :

  • Someone gives you a VC++ 7 project, and you only have VC++ 6 installed.
  • You have upgraded your project(s) from VC++6 to VC++7, and you have both .dsw/.dsp and .sln/.vcproj files on your local system drive, but you are willing to keep those files synchronized so any time you need to open the project, you need not bother the VC++ version you work with.
  • Provide both versions of projects (for instance when you share code in codeproject), so your audience do not need to bother which devtool is required.

How to use it

The tool is a command line of the form :
prjconverter <solutionname (full filepath)>[.sln]
For instance,
prjconverter c:\tmp\betterxml\betterxml.sln
For info, type prjconverter.exe alone in the console.

What is converted

A few steps to let you know how the work gets done. The .sln solution file is opened and translated to the .dsw file format, along with all project declarations, dependencies, and source control tags.

Then all .vcproj project files are translated to .dsp files. I use msxml to parse the .vcproj file format, and build the meta-model out of it. Then what's left to do is serialize all those xml thingies into the standard .dsp symbol lines.

Of course we care about project configurations (debug, release, ...), and custom file configuration settings.

Technical details

In the code provided, slnprocess.cpp does the .sln =>.dsw conversion. vcprojprocess.cpp does the .vcproj => .dsp conversion. And vcprojconfiguration.cpp holds the project meta-model (all project setting tabs). In VC++7, the meta-model is now programmable. Let's check out this link. In fact, vcprojconfiguration.cpp reflects exactly this meta-model (as if it was internal MS code).

Update history

Sept 22 - first build.
Sept 27 - code is completed, tested, and published on codeproject
Oct 2 - now it is possible to convert .vcproj files alone (no need of a root .sln file) : just type the .vcproj fullpath in the command line.
Oct 30 - improvements based on user feedback : added missing default link libraries, expanded macro variables such like $(OutDir) and $(IntDir), replaced or removed macro variables not supported by VC6 such as $(NoInherit), added /GX (exception handling enabled).
Nov 8 - added project logical source subfolders support.
Nov 13 - bug fixes : filenames with spaces, MFC extension dll support, custom precompiled header setting, project setting inheritance.

Stephane Rodriguez - Nov 13, 2002.