K2 establishes their general guidelines for environment and application software support in their K2 blackpearl 4.6 Compatibility Matrix, under their Microsoft Product Support Plan.
- Microsoft products that are released during an existing K2 release cycle will not be targeted for support until the following release cycle.
- K2 will deprecate support for a Microsoft product or technology when a newer release has been available more than 12 months at the target time of the K2 release.
- K2 releases will continue to support the Microsoft products supported at the time of the K2 release. Microsoft product support deprecation will only occur with new K2 releases.
- To ensure stability in a release cycle, K2 will support a prior Microsoft release when the latest release has been available less than 12 months at the target time of the K2 release.
- K2 releases may require a dependency on the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release. In this case, regardless of Microsoft availability timeline, K2 will only support the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release.
It’s important to understand what these words can actually mean.
Story problem time: Let’s say you’re using K2 blackpearl version 4.6.6, released in 2013, and your Microsoft ecosystem (all of the Microsoft technologies used to support or in conjunction with K2 blackpearl) are currently supported per K2’s established policies.
Scenario I: New Technology
You hear of plans to implement a new Microsoft product for the enterprise. Microsoft Awesome has been out for a couple of years, and you have some experience with it — and you also know it can mean a lot of added power and possibilities to your current K2 development program. The latest release of that product is Microsoft Awesome SP2. So you check the compatibility matrix, and find that 4.6.6 won’t support SP2 — it only goes as far as SP1 — but 4.6.7 DOES support SP2. Now you’re faced with a decision: upgrade your K2 environment(s) to 4.6.7, or ensure Microsoft Awesome is implemented with SP1 only.
Scenario II: Old Technology
You’re beginning to plan to upgrade to 4.6.7. When checking the compatibility matrix, you discover that the operating system on the servers in your ecosystem would become the minimum versions required for K2 support. So even though you’re fine for supporting 4.6.7, it’s time to plan to upgrade the entire server ecosystem to a newer version of Windows Server to avoid falling out of support for subsequent K2 releases.
It makes a lot of sense to stay on top of K2’s support policies and your own infrastructure. The compatibility matrix doesn’t just show support for operating systems and productivity suites, either — it lists development software, too.
Note the last line in the excerpt: “K2 will only support the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release.” K2 blackpearl version 4.6.7 requires the .NET Framework 4.5. Happily, it won’t push you into Visual Studio 2013, but it does support it — you can continue to use VS 2012 and 2010.
As you might imagine, K2 is all up in your browser, too — this is especially important to K2 SmartForms developers using the browser-based K2 Designer. Thankfully, no changes to browser support have been made since 4.6.2. 4.6.3 added support for IE 10 and Silverlight 5.