Windows Mobile Enterprise Webcasts Week Starts November 15th

In case you have not already heard, November 15th starts a week of Microsoft webcasts focused o­n Windows Mobile and the enterprise! There will be a total of 8 webcasts over 4 days, with lots of great topics and information covered.

Of special note – the two Tuesday webcasts (“Increasing Competitive Advantage with Windows Mobile Solutions” and “Effectively Deploying Windows Mobile Solutions”) will be presented by yours truly (he said, blushing).

You can find the complete listing of webcasts at the Windows Mobile web site.

Microsoft Releases Mobile Application Developer Toolkit

At the Club Pocket PC – Boston meeting this past Wednesday (held at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA), I happened to notice a new piece of collateral out on display for the taking. Sure enough, it was the new Mobile Application Developer Toolkit! This is a really incredible compilation of tools and information -

The Mobile Application Development Toolkit provides all the resources you need to start building mobile applications for Windows Mobile-based Smartphone and Pocket PC devices. Visual Studio .NET 2003 and the .NET Compact Framework enable you to build Windows Mobile-based applications quickly and efficiently, whether you want to create an entirely new mobile solution or extend a current desktop application to mobile devices.

Choose Your Learning Style

Do you prefer to dive right in and play with code samples? Or, do you prefer a more guided, step-by-step approach to programming? Regardless of your style, you will find this DVD a useful resource for developing mobile applications. Included on this DVD are:

  • Mobile Development Guided Tour
  • QuickStarts*
  • Hands-on Labs
  • Technical Articles
  • Business Success Stories
  • Developer Tools and SDKs
  • 60-day Trial DVD of Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional
  • Software and Special Offers

To get the toolkit or to send feedback, choose from the following options:

Order the Toolkit on DVD: In the United States, order a copy of the Mobile Application Development Toolkit DVD for a small fee. The DVD will be available outside of the United States in late November.

Download the Toolkit: Download the free Mobile Application Development Toolkit.

Get the Latest Resources and Offers: Visit the DevTools MAD Lounge for new partner offers and additions to the Mobile Application Development Toolkit.

ComponentOne Bonus Offer: If you already have the Mobile Application Development Toolkit DVD or have downloaded the kit, visit mobile.msdevtools.net and sign up to receive your ComponentOne bonus offer e-mail.

Whether you are a new or experienced .NET Compact Framework developer, this kit is definitely worth having.

New Contest: “Will Code For Device!”

Thom Robbins e-mailed me this morning with news of a new contest for .NET Compact Framework developers -

Want a Mobile Device?

 

Mobile applications are quickly becoming an essential component of application development. One of the things that many people don’t realize is that any .NET developer is already a mobile developer! We are taking the Mobile Message across the county with the .NET To Go Mobility Roadshow. This Roadshow is showcasing and teaching developers everywhere how today, they can develop Compact Framework applications using the power of Visual Studio .NET 2003. The feedback has been tremendous! The problem is that we need to see some code and are willing to trade you a brand spanking new Windows Mobile device for it!

 

Show Me the Code!!!

 

Here’s how the contest works:

  • All contest entries must be received by midnight November 25, 2004.
  • We are looking for any and all interesting sample applications that target the Compact Framework using Visual Studio .NET 2003.
  • You must live in the United States. (Sorry but it has to be!)
  • Extra points are given for creativity and usefulness. The application must do something interesting, unique, and creative. (I definitely don’t want to see any “Hello World” applications). The more creative and interesting the better your application will score.
  • Applications must be fully functional and can be games, business productivity solutions, recipe programs – the only limit is your imagination!  Remember creativity counts!
  • You must provide all source code (Absolutely no commercial applications).
  • All sample applications must run within any of the available Visual Studio .NET 2003 emulators. The key is that you don’t need a device to enter the contest!

 

Use the emulator to get the device!

 

What can I get? – It’s simple:

  • A Windows Powered Mobile Device!

 

All entries received will be posted as samples to help others and spread the word of the power of the Compact Framework! Whether you win a device or not I post all sample code and applications.

 

My mother always taught me that sharing is caring!

 

How do I win? – It’s simple:

We will review and score all entries using a combination of how the application exploits features of the Compact Framework and how interesting and useful is the application. Remember – Creativity and the usefulness of your application is the key to winning a device. All applications will be ranked using these two points and validated using Visual Studio .NET 2003.

 

Once we complete the judging the top 5% of all submitted applications will receive either a Smart Phone, Pocket PC or some other fantastic shiny new Windows Powered Mobile Device.

 

Yes you read that right! The more applications we receive the more devices we give out. According to my math if I receive 3000 samples that means we give out 150 new shiny Windows Mobile devices!

 

Do you want a Device? Then show me the code!!!

 

How do you submit you application?

Submit your application by sending an email that contains the following items.

  • Name, Phone Number, and email address
  • A screen shot of your application running within the emulator. Creativity and usefulness are given the highest grading weight so make sure your screen shot shows the most interesting feature of your application.
  • Maximum of a 250 word description of your application.
  • Attach all code in a compressed file. Make sure that you include all source code so that we can run it.
  • Sorry but any incomplete contest entry will not be considered.

Help me to spread the word and give away more devices! Tell your family, friends, loved ones and others and get them to write me some code! Every speaker on the tour is waiting to see what you are writing. If you are attending the Mobility Roadshow make sure to bring your application and show it off!

 

Show me the code and you could get a Windows Mobile device!

 

You can keep up with all the latest news and developments on this at Thom’s blog.

Samsung Mobile Intelligent Terminal Developer Community (and More)

At our Boston-area Cabana event, one of the more common types of questions tended to boil down to programmatically accessing device-specific features. Interacting with WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular radio stacks seems to be quite a popular area of curiosity for many developers.

In many cases, direct access to this type of functionality is not exposed by the .NET Compact Framework. The reason – each hardware implementation is unique in its own right, and there is no Windows Mobile-equivalent of a robust Hardware Abstraction Layer. As a result, it is often necessary to work directly with the hardware vendor to determine if their is an API exposed that can be developed against.

At the Cabana event, there were questions regarding the Samsung Pocket PC Phone Edition devices. Steve Hughes did some digging around after the event, and uncovered the Samsung Mobile Intelligent Developer Community. He posted information regarding this program at the BostonPocketPC.com web site. If you are interested, check out the article for more information.

Another developer program that may be of interest is HP’s iPAQ Developer Program. There are 3 levels of membership (1 free, 2 with fees). The Developer Level ($199/year) includes access to the iPAQ Developer SDK, with access to a number of iPAQ functionalities.

As I uncover more hardware vendor developer programs for Windows Mobile devices, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

FINALLY – A Windows Mobile Smartphone 2003 Device Makes It To The US

You know, it is incredibly difficult to espouse the benefits of the .NET Compact Framework to enterprises when they ask “Where are the devices capable of running the .NET CF?”. Thankfully, the first of what will definitely be more, and hopefully many, Windows Mobile Smartphone 2003 devices was announced today by AT&T Wireless and Audiovox -

LOS ANGELES — Oct. 12, 2004 — Today at the Windows® XP Experience More event, Microsoft Corp. and Audiovox Communications Corp., a majority-owned subsidiary of Audiovox Corp., and AT&T Wireless introduced the smallest Microsoft® Windows Mobile™-based Smartphone in North America — the Audiovox SMT5600. The Audiovox SMT5600 includes the Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition software for Smartphones and is the first Windows-Mobile-based Smartphone featuring Windows Media® Player 10 Mobile, providing a rich new media experience that enables the seamless transfer of media from a PC running Windows XP. AT&T Wireless is offering the Audiovox SMT5600 starting today for $199.99 (U.S.) after rebates with a two-year voice and data service contract.”

I have posted the complete press release and lots more pictures at the BostonPocketPC.com web site, if you are interested.

Here’s to being able to justify all of the benefits of the Windows Mobile platform and the .NET Compact Framework just a bit easier… ;-)

About Last Night’s Boston Developer Cabana Event

While I am a bit busy playing “catch-up” at the moment, I did want to let everyone that could not attend know that last night’s (October 6th) Developer Cabana Event at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA was a wonderful event! Congratulations to both Chris Pels of the Boston .NET User Group and Thom Robbins of Microsoft for making this event a very successful reality.

The group of technology experts still has me a little “star-struck” after one day. It was both a pleasure and an honor to see and meet so many knowledgeable people.

The Mobility Room was not the most frequented of the evening, but the discussions and questions were all great. Thanks to everyone who made it out and stopped by the room. Thanks also (as always) go to Steve Hughes for serving as an Expert with me in the Mobility Room.

The Boston Developer Cabana Event will most definitely be repeated in the future. I look forward to participating once again. If you are in another part of the country, I strongly urge you to consider organizing an event of this type. The participants at our event all spoke highly of the event and felt it was well worth their time.

New Source Added to OpenNETCF Smart Device Framework

Thanks to Mike Temporale for posting at Smartphone Thoughts on the latest source code submissions to OpenNETCF.org’s Smart Device Framework. .NET CF MVP Peter Foot highlights the new code in his blog -

I’ve uploaded to our online source browser some of the new code which will feature in the next Smart Device Framework release. This includes a new library for WindowsCE specific functionality, designed to match the new functionality available in the Microsoft.WindowsCE.Forms assembly in the .NET Compact Framework v2.0 which is currently in Beta with Visual Studio 2005.

For Smartphone developers this includes the InputModeEditor which allows you to set a specific input mode for an edit control. Therefore when the control receives focus, the required input mode is automatically selected for the user – useful for numeric only fields or a field where you want to capture some form of text but know that T9 would be inappropriate.

For Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition the SystemSettings class allows you to easily change the screen orientation with a single statement:-

SystemSettings.ScreenOrientation = ScreenOrientation.Angle90;

There are also some changes to existing classes – specifically the RegistryKey has had a number of useful changes:-

  • ToString now matches the behaviour on the full .NET Framework (In the current release there is a subtle difference in the format of the string returned)
  • CreateSubKey allows you to create volatile registry keys on supported Windows CE 5.0 systems.
  • GetValue now correctly returns DWORD values as an Int32 rather than UInt32, this is now consistent with the desktop and makes life a lot easier.
  • We have a full implementation of GetValueKind and the RegistryValueKind enumeration – this functionality is part of the full .NET Framework v2.0 Beta but we are making it available now for .NETCF v1.0

I am very excited about the InputModeEditor enhancements. This will make a great usability feature for Smartphone applications very easy to implement.

As always, kudos go to the OpenNETCF group for making the Smart Device Framework a “must-have” extension to the .NET Compact Framework.

New MSDN Mobility Articles Online

There are some good new mobility-focused articles now available on MSDN Library -

  • Architecting Disconnected Mobile Applications Using a Service Oriented Architecture
    The Windows Mobile platform, which includes Microsoft .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft SQL Server CE, encapsulates the complex tasks of communication management and data exchange while your device is in a disconnected state. This one probably should be my epitaph ;-)
  • Games Programming with Cheese: Part Three
    An introduction to games programming on the Windows Mobile-based Smartphone by using the .NET Compact Framework and Visual Studio 2003. There are a number of downloads for the project at different stages of development.
  • Migrating eVB File Controls to Visual Basic .NET
    This article provides information to help you port the eMbedded Visual Basic (eVB) file controls (File System and File control) to Visual Basic .NET when migrating your applications from eVB to Visual Basic .NET.

A note on the last article – this is the first of what will be many articles on migrating from eVB to the .NET Compact Framework. If you have not already heard, eVB is *not* supported in the next version of Windows Mobile. This should come as no surprise, as the eVB Tools have not been updated for quite a while now. If you are an eVB developer and wish to move your applications forward to new versions of the Windows Mobile platform, now is the time to start planning your migration strategy.