Nick's .NET Travels

Continually looking for the yellow brick road so I can catch me a wizard....

Updater Application Block for Windows Mobile (almost)

Some of the developers that worked with the Patterns and Practices team at Microsoft to build the Mobile Client Software Factory have been hard at work on a port of the Updater Application Block.  The guys from Q4Tech are almost at a point where they are going to release the application block into the wild so keep an eye on the Mobile Blocks project (see releases) across at CodePlex for more information.

WCF for Windows Mobile

With the next wave of .NET technologies almost upon us we need to spare some thought about what kind of support we are going to see in Windows Mobile.  With the Compact Framework we have come to expect a subset of the full functionality available in the .NET Framework.  Already we have heard that the second release of Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/e) will support mobile devices but what about the Windows Communication Foundation.  Look no further, Roman Batoukov has the scoop here!

Windows Mobile Device Center

For those working with Vista and are armed with a Windows Mobile device you should check out the beta version of the Windows Mobile Device Center which extends Vista RC1.  If you aren't already aware Vista will ship with a cut down WMDC which simply allows you to connect to your device.  In order to partner with your device you need to download this update.  AFAIK the plan is to make this an update that will appear in Windows Update when you have a device plugged in.  IMHO this sux and is again another black mark against mobility.  In the same way that the Windows Mobile 5 sdks should have shipped with Visual Studio 2005 (instead of just WM2003SE), the full WMDC should ship with Vista!

Windows Mobile Developer Virtual User Group

Doing mobile development?  Yes? Well head over to the official website of the Windows Mobile Developer Virutal User Group.  The first meeting is set for tomorrow morning (AU/NZ timezone that is) and I'm hoping this will be the first of many virtual meetings hosted by the best in the business.

In the first meeting Nick Landry (aka ActiveNick) will provide an overview of mobile development, including an introduction to the tools and technologies mobile developers should be aware of.  This will be followed by a session by a presentation by Don Sorcinelli which will look at mobile application deployment, including security considerations that need to be addressed.

Vista Update, VMWare and still no Windows Mobile 5 SDK

Mid-last week I spat the dummy and re-paved my machine back to WinXP.  After having Vista and Office running quite smoothly for a couple of weeks the straw that broke the camels back was the inability to connect my laptop to a number of wireless networks.  I must admit I find the new interface for network connections difficult to use - in fact, coupled with the continual need to Ok administrative prompts, it SUX.  But that's another story...

One of the other things that I found frustrating with Vista Beta2 was that I couldn't synchronise my WM5 device using the new Windows Mobile Device Center.  I could explore files, but not able to set up a partnership.  The story is that we had to wait for an update before we could setup a partnership, or for that matter use VS to debug mobile applications.  Anyhow, the update has arrived, but of course if arrived a day or so after I had converted my laptop back to WinXP - talk about frustrating.

So I figured I'd set up a VPC image with Vista - easily done!! and sure enough there was the update.  Once installed I figured this would fix the issues preventing the Windows Mobile 5 SDK from installing properly, but alas it still doesn't work.  The next thing I wanted to check was whether I could set up a partnership.  I ran VS2005 and used the Device Emulator Manager to run up the PPC2003SE emulator.  I then set the emulator to Cradle, which under WinXP would allow activesync to connect to the emulator as if it were a true device.  Unfortunately no joy - does this mean that there is only support for partnering with WM5 devices or is there an issue with the Device Emulator Manager??? 

I then cursed because although I have a real WM5 device there is no way to get it to connect to my Vista VPC because Virtual PC still does not have USB support - urgh when will this be fixed.

A while later I bit the bullet and downloaded a trial edition of VMWare Workstation.  Not only is the interface much richer than Virtual PC (including support for USB) it already has support for building a Vista image.  I wish that the Virtual PC team would learn something from the functionality of VMWare.

Finally, after many hours of installing Vista and Visual Studio I have an image that my WM5 device can connect to.  The new partnership setup is much better than activesync, and seems to work.  Unfortunately this STILL doesn't fix the issues with A) cradling an emulator or B) installing the WM5 SDKs

My experiences with Vista all seem to be 2 steps forward followed by 1 step back ;-) At least we're making progress forward.....