Windows Mobile Application : Things to Know

We can build mobile applications like windows applications, drivers and services to run on Windows mobile. This in addition to running browser clients for websites.  Installers can be build to deploy the windows mobile application in emulator or the actual device.

Emulator :The emulator provides an environment within your desktop PC that mimics the functionality and operation of the device platform you are targeting with your application. The emulator is useful in situations where you do not have a device or when your device is not available. Be aware that emulator provides a false sense of how well your application performs as it runs on a desktop PC which may end up in developing an application easy to use in the emulator and painful to use on the device.

Visual Studio .NET can help to deploy the application and all the needed components in to emulator or device  including the .NET Compact Framework and SQL Server CE. After confirming that all the required components are present, your application will be copied to the target platform, placed in the directory you specified in your project configurations and finally launched.

Installers for Windows Mobile : Application setups are build using cabinet files(.cab). CAB files compress and store files so that they may be easily distributed and makes sure that the prerequisites of  required by an application are correctly handled.  Visual Studio.Net helps you to create a CAB file for your application.

Applications built with Visual Studio .NET require .NET Compact Framework be resident on the target device. Your setup routine can be planned  to include multiple CAB files: one for your application, a second for the .NET Compact Framework.Installation of .NET Compact Framework and SQL Server CE will occur the first time you test to a device or the emulator and if you hard reset either the device or emulator.

The installation process can be performed by  your application setup running on a desktop PC, through a docking cradle to a device. In this situation, you will need two setups, one for the desktop PC and one for the device. The device setup is the CAB file. The desktop setup is an executable that performs two functions. First, it copies your CAB files onto the desktop PC. Second, it starts Application Manager (CeAppMgr.exe). Application Manager then takes over to copy your CAB file to the device and subsequently launches the install.

Application Manager handles adding and removing applications from devices as well as deleting application files from the PC that initiated the installation. You use an .INI file to provide installation instructions to Application Manager. Desktop setups can be created with any application that allows you to copy your CAB files to a PC and then launch Application Manager. Two companies, InstallShield and Wise, provide commercial-grade installation development packages that provide this functionality.

Security: Windows mobile applications must be signed with a valid certificate to run without problems on devices. Simple applications can be installed without signing, but  when we try to deploy services or drivers, our dlls or applications will not run. if a device driver (which loads into device.exe) or a system service (which loads into services.exe) that is loaded at boot time is deployed , your executable file must be signed privileged—regardless of the security configuration of the device

ActiveSync : ActiveSync helps to perform back up and restore device data, install and remove Pocket PC applications. ActiveSync supports the following interactions between desktop computers and Windows CE based devices through add-ins called Service Providers which runs within the ActiveSync framework. If you are planning to deploy your Pocket PC applications to various devices, you should be having this software..