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(below DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES)


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May 7, 2002—In this issue:

1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES

  • Mobile Computing with MMIT

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Mobile and Wireless Solutions—An Online Resource for a New Era
  • Attend Our Free Webinar: Understanding PKI

3. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Prepare for .NET Exams

4. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES
(contributed by Marquis Howard, marquish@interknowlogy.com)

  • MOBILE COMPUTING WITH MMIT

  • The Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit (MMIT) is a program that integrates into the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET environment. MMIT lets you create Web applications for wireless devices. The toolkit uses the same underlying technologies as Microsoft ASP.NET, so you automatically inherit a rich development environment that lets you use some of the ASP.NET controls. As a result, even novice ASP.NET developers can jump right in and start developing Web applications for wireless devices.

    You can download the 4MB MMIT from the Microsoft.com Download Center ( http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?releaseid=35406&area=featured&ordinal=1). To use MMIT to develop Web applications for wireless devices, you must install the Microsoft .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and MMIT on your development workstation. Thereafter, when you select the option to create a new Visual Basic .NET or Visual C# .NET project, Visual Studio .NET includes the mobile Web Form page project template. To deploy these Web applications to production, you need to install the .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and MMIT's Mobile Internet Controls Runtime component on the production machine.

    If you're familiar with ASP.NET, MMIT's learning curve is diminutive. MMIT's controls are similar to ASP.NET's controls, except some have different names. For example, the MMIT counterpart of ASP.NET's DataGrid control is called the ObjectList control.

    One helpful feature of ASP.NET is that it lets you create custom user controls; MMIT provides the same capability in the form of mobile user controls. Although some limitations exist because of the wireless devices' form factor, the mobile user controls' functionality is robust.

    If you've worked with Visual Studio .NET, you probably know that you can add multiple projects to one application. Recently, I had to create a Web application to support mobile users at my company. This application needed to offer the same results and functionality as our Web site's main application, which serves regular-browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer—IE) users. I found that the best implementation was to place the wireless-device application files in a separate folder in our main application's Web site. With this implementation, I was able to leverage all aspects of our main application for its mobile counterpart. Security, business rules, classes, and even the same public variables were available. Plus, using the same class objects helped speed up the development of the wireless-device application.

    When a wireless device makes a request to our Web site, a new session is invoked. The Web server detects the type of device making the request, then routes the client to the appropriate environment. Differentiating between a browser on a wireless device and a regular browser didn't require serious programming but rather only four lines of code. The first line checks the value returned by the System.Web.HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.Browser.ToString() method to see whether it contains the string "Pocket IE". The second line checks the value returned by the Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_USER_AGENT") method to see whether it contains the string "Windows CE". Although you could probably check for only one of these strings, I noticed some inconsistencies when I used just one. Performing the two checks proved to be a fail-safe solution. If either string is present, the code redirects the mobile client to the wireless-device environment. Because this process takes place in the Global.asax page in the Session_onstart subprocedure, it runs only once for each new session.

    All the dynamic mobile pages were a simple cut-and-paste operation from a Web form page to the mobile Web Form page. The business objects returned the data shaped in table form, which made binding the data to the mobile controls easy. I was able to push the wireless-device application to production in less than 3 weeks.

    With MMIT, you can develop sophisticated Web applications for wireless devices. In addition, the development cycle will be much shorter. If you want to get your feet wet in mobile computing, now is the time to try MMIT.


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    2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • MOBILE AND WIRELESS SOLUTIONS—AN ONLINE RESOURCE FOR A NEW ERA

  • Our mobile and wireless computing site has it all—articles, product reviews, and other resources to help you support a wireless network and mobile users. Check it out today!
    http://www.mobile-and-wireless.com

  • ATTEND OUR FREE WEBINAR: UNDERSTANDING PKI

  • Implementing public key infrastructure (PKI) successfully requires an understanding of the technology with all its implications. Attend the latest Webinar from Windows & .NET Magazine and develop the knowledge you need to address this challenging technology and make informed purchasing decisions. We'll also look closely at three possible content-encryption solutions, including PKI. Register for FREE today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/webinar/pki.cfm

    3. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mascarenas, products@winnetmag.com)

  • PREPARE FOR .NET EXAMS

  • Transcender released the MCSD Flash Pak for .NET, which includes VB-Flash/XML 7.0 for Microsoft Exam 70-310: Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework and C#-Flash/XML 7.0 for Exam 70-320: Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework. The MCSD Flash Pak for .NET will help you prepare for your Visual Basic .NET MCSD or Visual C# .NET MCSD exam. A single-user license of the MCSD Flash Pak for .NET costs $139. Contact Transcender at 615-726-8779 or certinfo@transcender.com.
    http://www.transcender.com

    4. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES — bills@interknowlogy.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — kbemowski@winnetmag.com

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      Customer Support — Developer_dot_NET_update@winnetmag.com

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