Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Using Visual Studio .NET to Develop Applications for Pocket GTViewer

The current version of Pocket GTViewer provides specific support for developing applications with Visual Studio .NET. While there has never been anything preventing the use of Visual Studio .NET as a development platform with Pocket GTViewer, GTI did not provide any samples or tools to help accelerate the process. The .NET Interface for Pocket GTViewer is now available and provides .NET class to handle all of the communications between your application and Pocket GTViewer. A sample Pole Inspection application is also provided as a demo.

Previously, eMbedded VB and eMbedded VC++ were the platforms of choice; however, this was because Visual Studio .NET was not available or required learning a new environment/platform. Other platforms such as NS Basic were also used. Visual Studio .NET 2003 and the soon to be released Visual Studio .NET 2005 provide a much better tool for developing Pocket PC/Windows Mobile apps. While simple applications could be implemented with eMbedded VB, it was sometimes painful to use if applications required more sophistication. This does not; however, mean that eMbedded VB could not be used to create successful applications for Pocket GTViewer (and many users proved this repeatedly). eMbedded VB with its many flaws did have its benefits too, such as being free and also being similar Visual Basic. eMbedded VC++ is also a free development tool and does not suffer from the limitations found in eMbedded VB; however, many users did not know or want to know C++ well enough to develop with it.

With Visual Studio .NET, you can use the language of your choice (VB.NET or C#.NET) to create a “Smart Device Application” project. Unlike eMbedded Visual Studio which was separate from the desktop Visual Studio, Visual Studio .NET provides embedded development and desktop development in the same environment using different project types to separate the two. Probably the best feature Visual Studio .NET provides for developing Pocket GTViewer applications is its Window Forms environment (a huge leap in functionality and ease of use compared to eMbedded VB or eMbedded C++). Since most Pocket GTViewer applications are forms based and may contain many forms for collecting data, etc., the Window Forms environment is a nice feature to have at your disposal.

So, if you have been wanting to try developing applications for Pocket GTViewer and were intimidated by eMbedded VB and eMbedded VC++, try Visual Studio .NET. Unfortunately, it is not free like the other tools, but it does provide significant improvements and ease of use. If you have already been developing applications for Pocket GTViewer with eMbedded VB or eMbedded VC++, now may be the time to try Visual Studio .NET.

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