Starter’s Guide to Windows Mobile Development

Information in this post is for developers who are new to windows mobile application development and have no clue on where to start.


You can choose from the following available languages.

  • Visual C# and Visual Basic for Managed programming. Managed applications require .net compact framework runtime to be installed on the device. It’s a virtual machine on which common language runtime (CLR) instructions execute in a platform independent way. (Remember Java!!!). C# is most commonly used of these two. Sample code availability on the web is also more for C#.
  • Native programming with Visual C++ using Win32 APIs or MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes). Although managed programming is easier, it does not have support for everything. Besides managed programs have slower execution times than their native counterparts. Note that execution speed has contextual importance. BTW our product SureLock Studio is completely developed in Visual C++ but we use test applications written in C# and VB.NET.

Required Development Tools and SDKs:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio (Professional or Team Edition): De facto tool for developing applications for Windows Mobile 5 and later. It supports programming in Visual C++, Visual C# and Visual Basic.
  • Latest Windows Mobile SDK.
  • Embedded Visual C++: EVC++ was tool for development applications for Windows Mobile devices before WM 5.0. You can only write managed applications with it. Note that you must install latest service pack and SDK.

Additional Tools:

  • Device Emulator Manager: Great way to test applications on various Emulators installed on the desktop PC. You can perform different operations like launching emulators instances, simulating cradle insert/remove, shutdown, saving/clearing state etc. Device Emulator Manager ships as part of Visual Studio
  • Emulator Images: Device Emulator uses the actual emulator OS images for execution. These emulator images come along with SDK.
  • Device Security Manager: Useful when your first Windows Mobile application is not allowed to execute on the device configured with security policies. You can change the security settings and add/remove certificates on the device. Device Security Manager also comes as part of with Visual Studio 2008.

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