What I Learned At TechDays 2009 Toronto! Part 1 Windows Mobile 6.5
October 2, 2009 1 Comment
TechDays Toronto 2009 wrapped up nicely on Wednesday, and I’ve finally had a chance to go through and review my pages and pages of notes (writing, diagrams, and chicken scratch). I learned a lot at this event, and I’m planning on blogging a few posts over the next few days about it. I find that just by blogging and thinking about the things I wrote down at the event helps me to retain a lot more than I would have otherwise, and it gives me another opportunity to think about these topics more deeply.
Ok – before I get to the sessions, let me start with lunch –> Lunch the 1st day was satisfactory at best, but lunch redeemed itself on the second day with the Chicken Salad Sandwich. There were some booths and tables set up outside the lunch area demoing products and other things, but I didn’t see much there for developers – albeit I gave it a quick “twice-over” and didn’t look too deeply at any of the tables.
The power of Twitter! I’ve been able to get involved with the TechDays twitter conversation with the tag #TechDays_ca – this was a powerful way to connect with many people attending the event and also many of the speakers and organizers. I’d recommend to anybody to hit up the Twitter bandwagon. I use TweetDeck to manage my tweets and twitter conversations.
So, in no particular order, I want to talk about some of the top things I learned and that interested me the most….. Let me start with the Windows Mobile Session…..
1.Windows Mobile 6.5
In the “Taking Your Application on the Road with Windows Mobile Software” session, Mark Arteaga and Anthony Bartolo did a presentation on Windows Mobile 6.5 development and the Windows Mobile Marketplace. This was a session I was really looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. I have done some mobile development as it relates to the manufacturing environment that’s mostly related to data collecting, bar code scanning, etc. I’ve done some interesting things around queuing to local SQL databases when the server is unavailable and things like that. However, in this session Marc explained things in Windows mobile 6.5 that were just completely cool, but not only cool – practical demos and applications were also discussed. The potential with Windows Mobile 6.5 is really exciting.
Let me summarize the key points, from my notes, that were most interesting to me:
- Used for development of GPS enabled applications
- Emulates a physical GPS
- Uses a text file for reading raw GPS data
- Integrate with Pocket Outlook (contacts, email, SMS, appointments, tasks)
- In the development environment (Visual Studio .NET)
- Send phone calls to the emulated phone
- Send SMS messages
Windows Mobile Marketplace
- Launch to coincide with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5
- A market place for developers to sell their applications to Windows mobile users (my impression is that it will be similar to the app store on the iPod)
- Developers get 70% of money for the purchase of the software by consumers. Microsoft gets 30% which goes directly into the infrastructure of the Marketplace
WM 6.5 & Misc
- Full IE browser with the same capabilities as the desktop browser (Note: This is a huge feature in my opinion. I’m a Windows Mobile user and the browser is very limited. Although I hear positive things about Opera, my experience with is has left me wanting to go back to Pocket IE)
- Gestures (I can see these touch gestures being useful and allowing the developer to create better mobile apps with native gestures built in for flipping, panning, etc)
- Widgets – similar to gadgets available in Windows XP
- System state – trapping phone calls, SMS, media player song information, etc
- Accelerometer available on certain devices – Unified Sensor API is available on codeplex
- GSensor – Shake and Drop detection
Although I don’t see the new features having a big impact right now on the type of mobile application development that I’m currently involved with on the shop floor, there is definitely potential in the future as more device manufacturers provide hardware that is compatible with the latest Windows Mobile OS. The move to include a full IE browser, as I understand it, will give the mobile device the same IE functionality as with a desktop PC, but I don’t believe that this functionality will take away from the types of applications that are currently developed natively for Windows Mobile (versus running in a browser) using .NET, C++, etc…. but in the realm of mobile browser based applications this is a huge step forward. It also guarantees that any existing website should work on the mobile browser – however, if it is not customized for the mobile screen display resolution it may not look correctly or will require you to pan and scan the page.
I do see a huge impact for mobile development in the areas outside the shop floor environment with Windows Mobile 6.5. For anybody interested in (or currently) developing mobile applications on the .NET framework, WM 6.5 is very promising. Based on what I’ve seen, the quality of available applications should be increased with WM 6.5, and time to market from development to production will likely be able to decrease due to the addition of new native functionality.
At the end of the session they gave away Rock Band Beatles Edition to the winner of an audience competition where audience members got up in front of everyone to describe the mobile application they’ve been working on. Cool!
To be continued – I will post again shortly about some more things I learned at TechDays Toronto 2009.