Mobile & Wireless UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.com
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March 6, 2003--In this issue:
1. MOBILE & WIRELESS PERSPECTIVES - .NET Compact Framework Overview
2. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Real-World Technical Tips Here For You
3. INSTANT POLL - Results of Previous Poll: Wireless Network Security - New Instant Poll: Wi-Fi Site Survey
4. RESOURCE - Event Highlight: Broadband Wireless World 2003
5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Synchronize Your SunOne Environment with Your PDA - Find Wireless Internet Access HotSpots
6. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
* .NET COMPACT FRAMEWORK OVERVIEW In previous Mobile & Wireless Perspectives columns, I've talked briefly about the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework. The Compact Framework is officially part of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, which is due for release in the near future. Considering this pending release, I think now is a good time to provide an overview of the Compact Framework. In the next couple of Mobile & Wireless UPDATEs, I'll explore the Compact Framework's features, uses, and best practices.
As its name implies, the Compact Framework is a trimmed-down version of the Microsoft .NET Framework that targets small computing platforms such as Pocket PC and the Windows Powered Smartphone. The Compact Framework significantly enhances the development capabilities of the current Microsoft Embedded Visual Tools technology, which involves using either eMbedded Visual C++ (eVC) or eMbedded Visual Basic (eVB) for development. One of Microsoft's goals for the Compact Framework was to create a development/application environment as powerful as eVC and as easy to use as eVB so that you get the best of both worlds.
The Compact Framework is one of two ways you can perform mobile development in .NET. To understand when and why you should use the Compact Framework for enterprise solutions, you should have a grasp for the alternative .NET development environment: Microsoft ASP.NET Mobile Controls (formerly known as the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit--MMIT). ASP.NET Mobile Controls is a server-based adaptive-rendering technology, which permits many device types to connect to an application in a real-time or microbrowser-based scenario. ASP.NET Mobile Controls is a terrific technology for implementing solutions quickly, but it has significant limitations, such as the requirement of a constant wireless connection to access the application and the lack of support for peripherals (e.g., barcode scanners). The Compact Framework, in contrast, is a rich application environment in which the application and database run locally on the device. The Compact Framework also lets you use barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, mobile printers, and advanced features such as signature capture. Therefore, for most enterprise mobile solutions (e.g., field force automation, sales force automation), the Compact Framework is your best choice.
The Compact Framework consists of two primary components: the development environment and the runtime environment. The development environment, known as Smart Device Extensions, is a new Visual Studio .NET 2003 project type that lets you rapidly create Compact Framework applications by simply dragging appropriate controls into your application. You can then take the code that this visual design environment creates and further modify and compile it for debugging and application deployment. The application runs in the second component, the Compact Framework Common Language Runtime (CLR), as managed code. This Compact Framework CLR is already available on many new Pocket PC devices; alternatively, you can install it separately on earlier devices. The size of the CLR and relevant class libraries is smaller than 2MB, so it's well suited to mobile devices. Microsoft is also working on a CLR for Windows Smartphones.
My team and I have used the Compact Framework to deploy several delivery-automation applications on the Pocket PC. However, we've struggled with the following hurdles: -- The Compact Framework is still a beta product. As I mentioned, Microsoft will officially release the product as part of Visual Studio .NET 2003. -- The Compact Framework supports only Pocket PC. The product doesn't support devices from Palm, Research In Motion (RIM), or other vendors. -- The Compact Framework is missing some useful Framework functionality. For example, the product doesn't natively support XPath or .NET Remoting. To get the CLR and class libraries under 2MB, Microsoft needed to remove several features of the full Framework.
In my next Mobile & Wireless Perspectives, I'll continue to delve into the features and functionality of the Compact Framework. If you've already deployed some Compact Framework applications, I'd love to hear about them. See you next time.
* JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register today! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas
* MICROSOFT MOBILITY DEVELOPER CONFERENCE The premier 3-day developer event for building and bringing to market wireless applications for Microsoft Windows(r) Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone. Designed for developers, software vendors, wireless operators and IT professionals, this event provides the tools/strategies to build and market mobile applications, content and services. Register today quoting MDC819. http://www.microsoft.com/europe/mdc
* WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE CONNECTIONS: REAL-WORLD TECHNICAL TIPS HERE FOR YOU Train with the experts! Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to learn firsthand from Windows & .NET Magazine writers you trust: Minasi, Russinovich, Hill, Wells, Deuby, Moskowitz, plus Microsoft is sending the "Scripting Guys"--members of its TechNet Script Center. This event runs from May 18-21, 2003. Register today and save $300! http://www.winconnections.com
* RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's Mobile & Wireless Solutions nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How concerned are you about the security of your wireless network?" Here are the results from the 34 votes: - 47% Extremely concerned - 38% Reasonably concerned - 15% Mildly concerned - 0% Not concerned
* NEW INSTANT POLL: WI-FI SITE SURVEY The next Instant Poll question is, "Have you ever performed a neighborhood or enterprise site survey to monitor 802.11b security?" Go to the Mobile & Wireless Solutions Web site and submit your vote for a) Yes or b) No. http://www.mobile-and-wireless.com
* EVENT HIGHLIGHT: BROADBAND WIRELESS WORLD 2003 April 9 through 10, 2003 San Jose, California
Join industry leaders and participate in the industry event for companies interested in wireless broadband connectivity. The fifth annual Broadband Wireless World industry show focuses on fixed broadband wireless-access technology and business models and advanced fixed wireless solutions for cellular third-generation (3G) networks, among other topics. Featured systems and solutions are based on 802.11, 802.16, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) equipment, and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-based equipment. For more information, see the following URL. http://www.scievents.com/bwwf03/default.asp
For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Event Calendar. http://www.winnetmag.com/events/calendar
* SYNCHRONIZE YOUR SUNONE ENVIRONMENT WITH YOUR PDA Weblicon released Weblicon SyncML Server, a solution that lets you synchronize the SunOne Calendar, SunOne Messaging, and SunOne Directory Server with PDAs and mobile phones. The solution supports bidirectional synchronization of the user's hosted data with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, and Palm and PocketPC PDAs. Weblicon architecture is based on the open industry standard SyncML, so you can synchronize with any SyncML-enabled device. For pricing, contact Weblicon at [email protected] http://www.weblicon.net
* FIND WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS HOTSPOTS Riverwalk Software released WiFi HotSpot Directory, a free database of more than 2000 public wireless Internet access locations. Riverwalk provides the directory in Microsoft Excel, Palm Address Book, Handmark's MobileDB, and comma-delimited ASCII formats. Contact Riverwalk Software at [email protected] for more information. http://www.makewirelesswork.com
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