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May 13, 2003--In this issue:
1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES
- Visual Studio .NET and Windows 2003 Features, Part 6
- Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards!
- Get Real-Time, Real Answers, Really Fast!
3. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Learn About .NET Component Programming
4. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES
Support for handheld and mobile devices is a major feature in Visual Studio .NET 2003. This support comes in the form of two packages: the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit (MMIT) and the Windows .NET Compact Framework. If you aren't familiar with these two packages, you might be wondering why you need two packages--after all, isn't unifying the programming model the whole idea behind the Windows .NET Framework? You don't need both packages to target different device groups. You need both packages to support different types of applications.
Microsoft originally released MMIT as an add-on to Visual Studio .NET 2002. When you work with MMIT, you're working with a set of tools designed to produce ASP.NET applications. The applications can run on many types of devices, as long as the applications are server based. The advantage of using the MMIT is that you don't have to know how to manage several different device and browser contexts because the Framework manages this effort in the background.
The Compact Framework is to WinForms what the MMIT is to WebForms. The Compact Framework lets you create applications that run on mobile devices. In other words, the Compact Framework makes the underlying components associated with the .NET runtime environment available on a handheld device.
The Compact Framework has to run within the mobile device's OS, which means that the Compact Framework targets a much smaller set of devices than MMIT. The current release of the Compact Framework is only available for those devices based on three OSs: Pocket PC 2002, Pocket PC 2000, and Windows CE 4.1. Undoubtedly, as time passes, the number of devices and OSs that support the Compact Framework will increase.
The Compact Framework also lets you build rich applications for smart devices. However, although Microsoft's Windows-powered SmartPhone is labeled a smart device, it currently doesn't support the Compact Framework. Keep in mind that smart devices differ from "smart clients," which is a term used in relation to WinForm applications. You don't necessarily need a smart device to have a smart client. A smart client can be an old desktop computer that runs a WinForm application.
After you install the Compact Framework on a mobile device, the device can leverage the Compact Framework's native support for XML Web services. As a result, the Compact Framework provides a great environment for developing mobile-device applications that consume XML Web services. You can, for example, create a smart-client application that communicates with an enterprise's central business logic.
As the name implies, the Compact Framework is a compacted version of the Framework. The Compact Framework doesn't have all the classes that are available in the Framework. The first classes you'll probably notice missing are those classes you use to create Web services. In most cases, the missing classes don't present a significant problem. You just need to make sure that your clients are proactive in contacting the server; you can't set up a situation in which your server polls a list of registered clients.
Visual Studio .NET 2003 ships with not only the Compact Framework but also smart-device emulators for Windows CE and the Pocket PC. These emulators provide an excellent tool with which to test and debug Compact Framework applications. When you create a Smart Device Application project based on the Compact Framework, you select one of these two devices as the target platform. In most cases, I recommend that you use the Pocket PC emulator because Windows CE runs Pocket PC applications but Pocket PC devices can't run Windows CE applications.
Although the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) includes articles about how to use the Compact Framework to develop games and other recreational applications, keep in mind that Microsoft intended the Compact Framework to support business applications. Smart devices aren't just the latest fad toys; you can use them to enable a mobile distributed environment that leverages a common set of data and that has a more professional and productive UI than a simple Web page.
DEVCONNECTIONS--FALL 2003 DATES ANNOUNCED
DevConnections = Microsoft ASP.NET Connections + Visual Studio Connections + SQL Server Magazine Connections.
Last week you may have missed DevConnections Spring, which kicked off in New Orleans with three information-packed keynotes by Microsoft's Group Product Manager for .NET Tools and Services, David Lazar; ASP.NET Product Unit Manager Scott Guthrie (co-founder of the ASP.NET Team); and Director of SQL Server Product Management, Stan Sorenson.
Jump-start your fall 2003 training plans and secure your seat for DevConnections Fall, held Oct 13 - 15 in Palm Springs, CA. Register now to receive the lowest possible registration fee plus access to all three conferences for one low price. Call 800-438-6720 or 203-268-3204 for more information.
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3. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Sue Cooper, email@example.com)
O'Reilly & Associates has published Programming .NET Components by Juval Lowy. The book begins with a discussion of component-oriented programming, which leads into a complete introduction to the .NET component model. The book explains .NET's intricacies and related system concerns, design guidelines, tips, best practices, and known pitfalls. The book devotes a chapter to each of the following topics: resource management, versioning, events, asynchronous calls, multithreading, serialization, remoting, component services, and security. "Chapter 1: Introducing Component-Oriented Programming," is available free online. Programming .NET Components is priced at $39.95. Contact O'Reilly at 800-998-9938, 707-827-7000, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. CONTACT US
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