Deploying .NET-based Applications on to Microsoft Windows CE Enabled Smart Devices

A practical book and eBook for developers working with the Oracle Data Provider for .NET and the Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2005

Introducing Microsoft Windows Mobile

There exist several types of smart devices in the market including Smart Phones, Pocket PCs, Pocket PC Phones, Tablet PCs, etc. Every smart device is installed with a mobile‑based operating system with respect to the features of the device. One of such operating systems is Microsoft Windows CE.

Microsoft Windows CE is a small, embedded operating system (runs from ROM) that has a look and feel similar to Microsoft Windows 95/98. It includes scaled down versions of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.

Microsoft Windows Mobile (Windows Mobile in short) is a complete software platform built on Windows CE. Unlike Windows CE, the Windows Mobile for Smart Phone or Pocket PC operating systems is specifically designed for devices that require a specialized hardware configuration. The software includes standardized interfaces and applications that ensure compatibility across hardware designs. The Pocket PC is the best example device that gets equipped with Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system.

The Pocket PC runs Windows CE as its core operating system. Pocket PCs come with mobile versions of Microsoft Office applications in addition to Microsoft Outlook Mobile. Though there are different Pocket PCs, many come with Wi-Fi to enable you to connect to the Internet when you are near to a wireless hotspot. You can compose email messages and send them wirelessly or by synchronizing with your desktop computer.

A Pocket PC Phone is a bit different from an ordinary Pocket PC. You can do everything with a Pocket PC Phone that you can do with a Pocket PC, but with the addition of cellular phone capabilities. If you have a Pocket PC Phone, you can access the Internet through the GPRS service.

A Smart Phone has phone capabilities and comes with a smaller set of applications. Though you can add third-party software titles to your Smart Phone, the smaller keypad and screen are designed to give you quick one-handed access to important data. A Smart Phone is a good choice for business users who need to check email, keep track of their calendars, and take voice notes.

Microsoft.NET enables us to develop and deploy .NET applications on Microsoft Windows Mobile-enabled smart devices like Smart Phones, Pocket PCs, Tablet PCs, etc. To develop for either Smart Phones or Pocket PCs, we need not really buy those devices. We simply need to have smart device client extensions installed as a part of Visual Studio 2005 (which automatically installs .NET Compact Edition). When the extensions are installed, we are provided with few device emulators for developing and testing .NET-based mobile applications. However, for testing and production, it is recommended to have physical smart devices.

The next section focuses on developing a simple Pocket PC application, which consumes the web service developed previously.

Consuming a Web Service from Pocket PC

Now, let us make use a web service for the Pocket PC. You need not have a physical Pocket PC in your hands to test it.

We can simply use existing emulators available as part of Visual Studio 2005. The following are the steps:

  1. Open Visual Studio 2005 Environment   
  2. Go to File | New | Project.   
  3. Select and provide information as shown in the following figure:
    Deploying .NET-based Applications on to Microsoft Windows CE Enabled Smart Devices


  4. Add a Web Reference for the web service you created.   
  5. Drag and drop a DataGrid on to the Pocket PC emulator as shown below:
    Deploying .NET-based Applications on to Microsoft Windows CE Enabled Smart Devices


  6. Modify the existing code as follows:
    Public Class Form1
    Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As
    System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles
    Me.DataGrid1.DataSource =
    (New EmpService.Service).getList.Tables(0)
    End Sub
    End Class    
  7. Press F5, and select any Emulator for deployment. The output should look like the following:
    Deploying .NET-based Applications on to Microsoft Windows CE Enabled Smart Devices


We have seen the deployment of .NET-based application on to smart devices enabled with Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system.

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