Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Handheld development tools

I need to do some work (get one element of the app) running on handhelds, and wanting to supporting Windows CE, Palm.

I am totally ignorant about this. I would ideally like a C/C++ tool that I can use to create apps for both, preferably from common code base - royalty free for finished app.  What about different handheld CPUs, do I need different binaries for each?

Can somebody give me some hints.

S. Tanna
Monday, June 16, 2003

could be a good start, good luck!

Monday, June 16, 2003

Do write native apps for Pocket PC or Smartphone, you'll need to download the free (beer) Microsoft Embedded Visual C++ 3.0 (EVC3):

You do not want EVC4. It is only for .NET apps. EVC3 is for native C/C++ apps. EVC3 includes the outdated Pocket PC 2000 SDK, so you'll need to download the free (beer) Pocket PC 2002 SDK (and/or Smartphone 2002 SDK):

Even if you do not have a Pocket PC or Smartphone, you can still test your apps on the Emulator, which is much faster anyway but has its own quirks.

Monday, June 16, 2003

An interesting, free (LGPL), Java-based, cross-platform (WinCE and PalmOS) option is Superwaba. It is not fast, but it has rich GUI components and a very active community.

Marcos Rubinelli
Monday, June 16, 2003

If you want to develop native apps for PDA's then you should go with
Metrowerks Codewarrior for Palm OS -
eMbedded VC++ or eMbedded VB for PocketPC -

You may also want to look at
Pumatech's Satellite forms -
Appforge MobileVB -

I have done quite a bit of develoment using eVB/eVC++ and Codewarrior for both PocketPCs and Palms. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Monday, June 16, 2003

I'm the lead developer at Metrowerks on the CodeWarrior for Palm OS tools, and I read "Joel on Software" a bit.  If you want more information about CodeWarrior than is at the MW website, you can check, my personal site for information on the CW for Palm OS tools.

Ben Combee
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I swear by Ben :) He was of great help to me at Palm OS Dev forums ( when I was a newbie for Palm development. Thank you Ben!
CodeWarrior is great for PalmOS development if you have good C/C++ background. Otherwise (if you come from VB background) you may want to look at Satellite Forms or MobileVB also.
It also depends on what kind of application you are developing. Enterprise(in-house) or shrink wrapped? Will you be doing the deployment or the end users themselves?
Is the speed of application primary concern or the ease of development? etc.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

To give the background

I am a C++ guy

I have some C++ code (on PC) already which I hope to re-use/modify to work on the handheld, for PART of the application. I am comfortable with, and expect some level of rewriting to be required.

Ideally I would like to be able to support PalmOS and Windows CE without writing everything twice.  I do not expect for the code to be totally identical - but one code base for both would be ideal.

I am more or less totally ignorant about handheld development at present.

Speed of development is always an issue, but a solid, maintainable, speedy, well-running app is more important.

Royalty free deployment is an absolute requirement. Pretty much everything else I can compromise on.

S. Tanna
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

If you come from C++ background, then I would suggest you look into Codewarrior for PalmOS. It's cost around $400.
And on the PocketPC side, you have Microsoft's eMbedded Visual Tools, which are free.
I don't know how much of code you will be able reuse though, because both PalmOS and PocketPCs have thier own set of system libraries.
Also, if you are just developing some sort of simple data collection apllication, which will be used only by in-house users, then it might be better to use Satellite Forms or MobileVB. Both these tools support both PalmOS and PocketPC, hence the code re-writing might be minimal. I don't have much experience with these tools though.
On the other hand, if you are writing some complex application, with lot more system level, device level programming, and if you don't have the control over end user deployment, then I would strongly recommend CodeWarrior for Palm and eVC++ for PockePC.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Thanks so far everyone.

It's shrinkwrap not in house.

It's more data display than data input, but it does include CPU intenisive routines (hence desire for C++) and a fairly complex UI.

CPU intensive stuff, I can write portably. Not too worried about that

It's the UI that I am scared of doing twice

S. Tanna
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home