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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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  • Qt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by musikit (716987) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:47PM (#23409466)
    i don't understand how you say your a mac fan but have decided to steer away from a tool that would help you the most.

    Qt has ports for windows, windows ce, mac, and linux.

    if you develop nicely enough you can make the app in a mixed dev environment and just do final testing and deployment onto windows ce. who knows since the qt port is cocoa and iphone uses cocoa you could end up with a single app for all platforms.
  • No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @05:02PM (#23409666)

    I'm a Windows CE developer, and I doubt this would work very well, even if it is possible. 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. Mind you, if you aren't comfortable using an IDE, I'm guessing testing and deployment aren't high on your list of priorities...

    There are some alternatives:

    • - You can use the free eMbedded Visual Tools 4.0 to write the software in C++, compile it for ARM, and copy it over to a Pocket PC;
    • - Last year they had a 90-day trial where you could get a copy of Visual Studio 2005 with the Windows Movile SDK's for $10 - something like a replacement for eMbedded Visual Tools. They may still have the program, if you do a search on thew Windows Mobile website;
    • - Of course, you don't have to use C-Sharp and learn .Net - you can write your software in C++ using Visual Studio.

    But really, if you're writing serious software for Windows CE, you're going to have to loose your inhibitions and learn to use Visual Studio.

  • by fingernail (915202) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @05:21PM (#23410008)
    I've used Visual Studio to develop a handheld app (using C# and the .Net Compact Framework v1.1) and two things struck me immediately:
    (a) C# on handhelds is really, really slow. We're talking a perceptible lag when switching between screens; I had to rewrite the automatically generated code to speed up form loading.
    (b) Visual Studio (2003/2005 both) is even slower. It always seemed to take at least 2 seconds to respond to clicks, and as for startup time, I was fooled several times into thinking that my PC had crashed, even after using it for weeks. It's just pathetic.
    I switched to using C++, wxWidgets and SQLite for my next app on a handheld, and I'm so happy we did. BTW, both apps are targeted at handhelds with barcode scanners (Symbol), and there are C based SDKs available.
  • by That's What She Said (1289344) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:39PM (#23412326)
    Not really... I didn't make myself clear in the first place.

    Most of experience in programming come from PHP, because that's the language that I really used to write something useful. I used to work with web site development, and I can say I wrote some very nice custom designed content management systems (very simple ones, but still I think they're nice). Just so you know, I know what a class is and I can write OO code.

    I started with BASIC on a Commodore 64 in 1986, when I was 9 years old. I used Visual Basic 2.0 or 3.0 in 1992 or 1993 (can't remember) and, at the time, developed some Windows (3.1) front-ends for DOS programs. I also can write some simple C programs (a little more than a "Hello World!"), but never tried anything really fancy.

    My real problem is not with the languages. I can get to understand the basics of any language, I guess.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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