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Targeting PocketPCs With Mono? 90

Posted by timothy
from the kissing-disease dept.
That's What She Said writes "I am a long time Mac user and, as most people like me, I have some particular problems with Microsoft technologies. I need to develop applications for the PocketPC platform (Windows CE and Windows Mobile), some simple data collection applications for barcode-enabled portable data terminals. Every device manufacturer on the market offer SDK's for .NET, so I believe this is the way to go. I already tried Microsoft Visual Studio and I am having serious problems using the IDE. I simply don't understand it quite well. My programming experience comes from PHP and JavaScript, where all I needed was a simple text editor and to keep my work as tidy as I could. So, it seems that a full-fledged IDE is kind of scary to me or Visual Studio is not very good for beginners. I also want to keep my costs low and free alternatives are welcome." Read on for a bit more (below) on why TWSS is thinking about Mono as a development environment, and is seeking advice.
That's What She Said continues: "Through some research, I've found that my options are quite narrow. Rapid development environments are available, but cost way too much or have some terrible limitations. Also, I have not found many forums on PocketPC development that really have useful information. Google isn't helping. Some directions would be good.

I have been looking at Mono for some time and MonoDevelop seems a hell of a lot simpler to use. I even started playing with it. It runs fine on my Mac.

I tried Google again to find some information on writing .NET Compact Framework applications with MonoDevelop, but I didn't find anything. It seems Mono implements the Compact Framework, but there's not much more information about this. Except for one blog post from 2006, I didn't find anything else.

So, I ask: is it possible? Is anyone doing this with any success? Is there any problem I should know beforehand?"
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Targeting PocketPCs With Mono?

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  • Just Bite the Bullet (Score:3, Informative)

    by SScorpio (595836) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:54PM (#23409578)
    Sharpdevelop supposedly supports the .NET Compact Framework: http://www.sharpdevelop.com/OpenSource/SD/Default.aspx [sharpdevelop.com]

    You can also find tutorials to help get you started here: http://netcf2.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    The only issue using Sharpdevelop is that I don't believe that you can use the Microsoft PocketPC emulator which means you have to keep compiling, uploading, and remote debugging your code.

    Visual Studio includes the emulator and would be a good tool for you to learn. The jump from using notepad to a full IDE programming suite can be intimidating at first but it will really help your career as a programmer.
  • Debugger (Score:2, Informative)

    by MrCoke (445461) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @05:02PM (#23409672)
    How do people debug using MonoDevelop or mono in general ? The debugger in MonoDevelop is already missing/broken for a loooooooooong time. And no, writing to the console doesn't count.
  • by leftie (667677) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @07:10PM (#23411446)
    Here's a link O'Reilly's "Head First C#."

    http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596514822/ [oreilly.com]

    Best C#/Visual Studio book from what's in my opinion the best series of teaching books around right now.

    Here's the link to free download of Visual C# Express.
    http://www.microsoft.com/express/vcsharp/ [microsoft.com]

    That's not a trial. It's a free reduced feature version of Visual Studio 2008.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @07:33PM (#23411690)
    You can't compile for Window Mobile with the free Express edition, so that's not going to be of much use in this situation. I'm sure the book is good, though...
  • Should be doable (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShmuelP (5675) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:11PM (#23412626)
    A few years and two PDAs ago, I coded a C# app for my Pocket PC (WM 2003SE) using both the app and my Linux PC.

    I used a port of the DotGNU project as an on-board compiler [sourceforge.net], and I think that I used Mono on Linux. (It may have been DotGNU, I don't recall.)

    I believe that I ripped the DLLs comprising the compact framework off the device, and then used that to compile when on Linux. I think that there was a switch to turn off linking against the system DLLs, and I just linked against the DLLs from the device. Once the exe was built, I was able to run it on Linux using mono (since they had implemented WinForms, I could just run it straight), or I would simply copy the exe to the device via an SD card and then I could run it from there.

    I never finished developing the app, so I never got around to figuring out how to package a CAB, but that should be trivial. I know that there are Linux apps to create CAB files, so it should just be a question of finding one buildable on the Mac and figuring out what to put into the manifest.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by lpontiac (173839) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @01:19AM (#23414318)

    Part of the point of using Visual Studio is testing your software and your deployment on the emulator beforehand so that you don't end up bricking an actual device and having to do a hard reset.


    If you can fix it with a hard reset it's not a brick.
  • Re:Qt (Score:3, Informative)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @05:52AM (#23415464)
    Definitely. My experience with Java (using IBM's J9 on PocketPC) is that a MemoryImageSource which repaints in milliseconds on a "real" computer takes more than a second on my PocketPC. That's not the kind of thing you want to find out in the final stages of testing.

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