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* .NET ON MOBILE OR LOW-MEMORY DEVICES In .NET UPDATE, I've discussed the Windows .NET Framework mainly as it applies to full-scale versions of Windows--desktops and servers. But for devices such as PDAs or Windows terminals, you need a smaller OS. Windows CE has been a common OS for many mobile and low-memory devices for several years. Now we have Windows CE .NET (formerly code-named Talisker), which uses the .NET Compact Framework.
The Framework generally supports three kinds of applications: Windows forms (WinForms), Web Forms that display in a browser, and Web services. The Compact Framework works, as you would expect, as a client. The Compact Framework supports a subset of WinForms and can run Web service clients but can't act as a server--it can supply no Web Forms and no Web service server components. The clients can use HTML to run Web Forms within a browser, but Windows CE .NET clients can also use compact HTML (cHTML), a pared-down version of HTML for use in low-memory, low-power, minimal-storage-capacity devices that don't support .jpg files, image maps, frames, style sheets, or other demanding HTML features and display only in monochrome. Windows CE .NET clients can also use other portable-device markup languages if you install the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit on the server supporting the clients' Web applications.
Windows CE .NET-based applications can be headless (e.g., appliances such as game stations are headless) or display-based, (e.g., devices such as Windows terminals, PDAs, cell phones). Most Windows CE .NET applications are display-based because one reason for using Windows CE .NET is to make creating a good UI easier (and to separate the creation of the UI from that of the underlying logic). You don't get much from a pretty UI if the appliance has no graphical interface.
Does Windows CE .NET make Windows XP Embedded obsolete? Absolutely not, just as previous editions of Windows CE didn't make the embedded versions of the desktop du jour obsolete. Windows CE .NET can't support the full Framework and it doesn't support all features of Windows forms in the Framework. You can't use Windows CE .NET to make a server-in-a-box appliance that can host Web service server components--Windows CE .NET can be only a client. For the same reason, you couldn't use a Windows CE-based device to host applications that depend on Web Forms. This lack of support for Web Forms could make some methods of remote configuration inaccessible. You'll still need XP Embedded to build devices that need server capabilities, whether those devices are appliances or the type of Windows terminals that are essentially PCs in a sealed case.
Windows CE .NET lets low-power and low-memory clients use .NET without needing to rely on a remote display protocol such as RDP, with the .NET applications running on a terminal server. Because one of the reasons to use the Framework is increased application mobility without depending on a network connection, Windows CE .NET's functionality is important.
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(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]
* CREATE BARCODES FOR .NET WEB APPLICATIONS IDAutomation.com released ASP .NET Barcode Server Controls, software that adds barcoding capability to .NET Web applications. The server-side component lets you include online barcodes in applications for online tickets, coupons, name badges, invoices, registrations, rebate mailers, check-in confirmations, packing slips, and gift certificates. The software supports server barcode types and features adjustable orientation, automatic sizing, automatic temp file maintenance, and quality image creation. Pricing is $199 for a single server license. Developer licenses start at $395. Contact IDAutomation.com at 813-261-5064. http://www.idautomation.com
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