Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

.NET Compact Framework presentation links

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

A big thank you for all those that turned out for my presentation at the Christchurch branch of the New Zealand .NET User Group. There was quite a large turnout, and I hope that you all found some value in my presentation.

This was my first presentation of any form, and it was a very useful learning experience. I have defiantly learnt some things which will help improve future presentations I may present. I would be interested in hearing any feedback you may have on my presentation (good or bad), both in content and the way it was presented.

For those that could not make it (I know there were a few), I have uploaded the powerpoint presentation to During the presentation I mentioned that I would provide a list of related website references for the various topics and products discussed, these have been attached to the bottom of this posting.

If anyone would like to discuss Windows Mobile development topics (native or managed), please feel free to get in contact with me. For development problems I would suggest trying the MSDN Forums website, as there are a number of active participants found there (including myself).

The Device Landscape

Development Environments

.NET CF – Platform Support

Screen Differences

Image Capture
Remember that these classes can be used in both .NET CF 1.0 and .NET CF 2.0 applications. They are however only present on Windows Mobile 5.0 or higher devices.

Network Communications
Disconnected Service Agent – a way to “cache” web service method calls when disconnected from the network and to automatically execute them when the connection comes back. See Smart Client Software Factory links below for the full documentation, or see the following post on MSDN forums for a brief overview.

Data Access

Development Tools

Getting Started

Diving Deeper

Where to get help

Reminder: Introductory Compact Framework Presentation

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Picture of a projectorJust a quick reminder that the presentation I mentioned previously is on this Wednesday night. The topic of my presentation is “Introductory Compact Framework Development”.

Further details can be found on the New Zealand .NET User Group website. Please register, as numbers are used to determine how much beer and pizza is required.

Presentation Summary

The internet has helped to shorten the distance between countries.

Likewise mobile computing has started to extend the reach of the office out into the field. The .NET Compact Framework is the .NET based platform for developing software for mobile workers utilising Windows Mobile based PDAs. This presentation will introduce the capabilities and history of the platform as well as providing lots of tips and tricks on how to develop your own applications.

Come along to find out what the difference between Windows Embedded CE and Windows Mobile is. Why the WinPad project failed, or simply to learn how to develop for this exciting platform.

About the presenter:
Christopher Fairbairn has spent the last 7 years specialising in software development in the mobile environment. He currently works for ARANZ Medical Limited in the Christchurch CBD. His current personal project is porting Google Gears to the Windows CE platform.

I hope to see some of you along at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator this Wednesday at 5:30pm.

Beginnings of a 70-540 Study Guide

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Late last year I sat and passed the Microsoft Certified Professional exam 70-540 while it was in beta form. Passing the exam is enough to qualify for the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Windows Mobile 5.0 Application Development certification.

While I was studying for this exam there was little study material available. The recent posting on handling the Software-based Input Panel was the start of a series of posts which I hope will act as suitable study material for those wising to take the 70-540 exam. Over time I plan to update an index of relevant posts on the 70-540 Study Guide page within this blog.

If anyone is interested in discussing the 70-540 exam or has feedback on how I could improve the suitablity of study material presented in this blog please feel free to get in contact with me.

For those interested in starting to study for this exam I would recommend to start out by:

It’s a small world after all

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

I have been subscribed to Dale’s blog for the last few days. His blog contains an interesting mix of technical information and ???? about his volunteer work.

Today I was surprised when his post “Windows Mobile has a ‘Run…’ dialog” made reference to my blog. This was a nice warm fuzzy when I stumbled upon it.

It is quite bizarre how small the world is. What are the odds of me finding his blog, and him finding my forum posts within a few days of each other? I would imagine in a world of 6.6 billion people, it would be quite, small.

This is one of the main reasons I started helping out on the MSDN forums, and started my blog, I want to connect with other software developers through-out the world, and share my knowledge, in the hope that it helps others. It is my way to contribute back to the community.

It has also given me an idea for an extra category of posts I can blog about. I am going to start a new category of posts, which briefly cover hidden features (or atleast not well known ones) of Windows Mobile. I will start off by re-blogging the tip I posted to MSDN Forums which Dale found useful.

Introductory Compact Framework Presentation – coming soon

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

On August the 8th at 6pm I am presenting at the Christchurch branch of the .NET User Group. I am providing a presentation which is an introduction to development on the .NET Compact Framework aimed at existing desktop developers.

Ths is my first public speaking oppertunity so I am sure closer to the time I will become more nervious etc, but at this stage I am fairly excited about the oppertunity and hope that is is not the last.

If anyone has any tips on public speaking or in creating presentation content I would be glad to hear from them. I like the notes John-Daniel Trask has posted on his blog about his initial experiences in a similiar situation.

Further details, including a registration form should be able to be found on the .NET User Group website within the next few days. I look forward to seeing you there.

Windows Embedded & Windows Mobile Seminar Summary

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

I just got back from the Windows Embedded & Windows Mobile Seminar (dubbed as NZ’s mini MEDC) held in the Christchurch Convention Center tonight. It was a great summary event and definatly worth while for those who hadn’t managed to get to MEDC this year. If I hadn’t gone to MEDC 2007 in Las Vagas it would have been a good consulation prize.

As well as Derek Snyder and Mike Hall, we also had Rob Tiffany tag along and give some great details on the Mobile LOB Business Accelator sample application and scalability of SQL Server Compact Edition deployments in large enterprise scenarios.

The start of the event was delayed by about an hour due to a late flight because of fog in Sydney. This gave a great time to catch up with other attendees before the main presentations. There was a surprising large number of companies represented, but without a shadow of a doubt, the prize for the most number of employees present would have to go to Trimble. It seemed almost every second person had a Trimble employee badge.

I went along just to support the event (one more bum-on seat) as I would like to encourage Microsoft to put on such events in Christchurch more often. While talking to Mike Zeff about numerious things, he mentioned the reason it occurred in Christchurch (and not Wellington or Auckland) was that they had held a similiar event in Auckland late last year (mentioned in his blog posting Event for windows embedded developers) and they considered it the South Island’s turn. When he mentioned it I remembered my disappointment last year about knowing such an event was on and not being able to attend it. So my hat is off to Microsoft for thinking of us South Islanders this time around.

Mike Hall gave a great high level overview of where Microsoft are heading in the embedded and mobile space. I found it interesting the approach they are looking at taking with Windows Embedded XP vNext + 1 (the one with a Vista core). At present there are a couple thousand odd components a user can mix and match when building an Embedded XP OS image, however selecting one probably through dependancies pull in 5 or 10 more. What they’re considering is instead having much coarser grained configuration options, something along the lines of “do you want media playback”, “do you want a web browser”, rather than individual API level control. This is making the product move more towards the Windows Embedded Point Of Sale (WEPOS) scale of the spectrum (which is basically configured by answering a number of questions at installation time), rather than Windows CE (the mother of all componentised operating systems).

I was interested in the .NET Micro Framework demos Mike provided. Although I had seen the sample applications he demonstrated before what I hadn’t heard (and was really benificial for me) was some behind the scenes discussions of how you go about porting the .NET Micro Framework to a new board, where they are at now for doing that (basically needing to be a big company with the ability to attend a porting workshop in Redmond for a month or so), and more importantly from my perspective where they are thinking of moving (opening up the porting SDK/tools to more people). I’m itching to get my hands on a chance to do some “real world” .NET Micro Framework development. I’ve already pre-ordered a copy of the Embedded Programming with the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework book by Donald Thompson and Rob S. Miles so hopefully it’s only a matter of time before I get to play with it for real rather than in an emulated environment provided by the .NET Micro Framework SDK for Visual Studio. I’m thinking of purchasing an EmbeddedFusion Tahoe board.

Tahoe .NET Micro Framework development board by Embedded Fusion

Derek Snyder gave his Silverlight for Windows Mobile demo as originally presented in the MEDC 2007 keynote. The eye candy looked good, but it’s very early days (apparently atleast a year away before things start becomming available) and performance did seem to be an issue, with some noticable slowness in the demos. But still very impressive nevertheless. What would have taken a couple thousand lines of complex low level C code for the current Windows Mobile platform, was able to be implemented within Expression’s GUI in a manor were a graphics designer would be comfortable. I imagine that in the next few years there will be more and more job offerings within development teams for a cross of User Experience / Interaction specialists and Graphics Designers. This could be interesting in the mobile space, where the UI design has moved little from the Windows 3.11 for Workgroups style days (well perhaps WM6 has shown some further improvements, but the basic premise is still true). The tool chain looks like it’s starting to take shape where that can happen without causing developers too much grief, and it’s exciting to see that this may happen not only on the desktop but also reach down into the mobile environment as well.

Rob Tiffany was pressed for time in his presentation due to the late arrival of the plane from Sydney and a desire not to drag on too late into the night. He presented a demonstration of the Mobile LOB Business Accelator sample application running on his PDA and along the way discussed some of the challenges of developing mobile line of business applications and how the Mobile LOB Business Accelator provided sample solutions to them. The more time I spend with the Mobile LOB Business Accelator and the Mobile Client Software Factory (MCSF) packages, the more I find things which really help take the pain out of mobile developement. I really like the Disconnected Webservices feature of the MCSF for instance.

The last bit of Rob’s presentation was him rapidly fliping through a bunch of slides about SQL Server Compact Edition merge replication and how to scale up the server side to support 30 or 40,000 client PDAs. It really didn’t make a lot of sense due to the pace he was forced to go at due to the late start, and it didn’t do his material justice. From viewing the presentation he presented in Las Vagas on the same topic I can tell you that he had a lot of valuable and interesting information to share.

So all in all a really positive night which left me feeling charged and energised thinking of lots of cool things to sink my teeth into over the next few months. So many new tools, technologies and geek gadgets, and only so many hours in the day to go around….

I would like to thank Microsoft NZ for organising the finer details of the night, and in particular to Mike Zeff for being a wonderful host and ensuring the night went off without a hitch.

Windows Embedded & Windows Mobile Seminar (aka Mini MEDC2007) in Christchurch!

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Mobile & Embedded DevCon 2007 LogoWell this is exciting news as I wait here in the Venetian Hotel for┬áthe shuttle bus which will take me back to the airport, apparently Microsoft Australia has managed to convince Mike Hall and Derek Snyder to make a detour on their way home from the MEDC2007 event in Australia to give a “mini” MEDC2007 presentation in Christchurch. What’s more it appears to be a free event.

This would definatly be well worth attending, based upon the content I’ve seen while attending MEDC2007 in the US. Even if only to provide support to the idea, so hopefully in the future they do this kind of thing more often.

More details can be found on various blogs, including;

Here’s hoping the (father/son duo) have an awesome time in New Zealand and decide to return again in the future. You would probably have to have been at MECD2007 in the US to get this joke :-P