Windows Mobile app development is much closer to traditional programming for desktops than the other smart phone environments. This is mostly because the same programming tools like Visual Studio can be used for creating programs for desktops and phones. Let’s take a look at what it takes to be a developer of mobile applications for Windows based smart phones.
As a start, get the latest version of Visual Studio. It offers an easy way to create drag-and-drop applications with minimal coding required. Developers can create applications, debug them and package it for delivery, all using visual studio.
Another necessary component is the Windows SDK (software development kit). It contains the necessary APIs and resource files required. Developers will also find plenty of help and support docs in the SDK. It includes sample applications, and emulators for testing and debugging without having to connect an actual phone.
But in order to use the emulator, developers will also need ActiveSync. It works as a kind of interface that helps load the developed application package from visual studio into the emulator or device. Vista users won’t need to download it since it has a built-in mobile device center, but XP users will need to download and install ActiveSync.
The process of creating a basic application as a learning experience is ridiculously easy, especially for someone who knows how to use visual studio. Simply select new project on the file menu and select ‘Smart Device’ in the project type. Click smart device project on the right templates pane, and choose ‘Device Application’ in the pop-up Smart Device Project window.
Whatever functionality is required can be added into the form in design view by dragging and dropping buttons and adding event handlers. Once it’s done, just press F5 to test it on the chosen emulator or device. That’s about all there is to it. Developers who need additional help or support can find it online in Micorosft’s MSDN (developer network). There is a virtual lab, video demos and webcasts, code samples, and blogs where developers can interact and clear their doubts.
Of course, this is just a very basic how-to for Windows mobile app development. The useful apps that can be bought in the marketplace are much more complex and need a lot more talent and experience to develop. A company that needs a powerful application built has two choices.
First, find someone on-staff who has the expertise to dive into Microsoft’s phone OS. Note that Windows Mobile 6.5 is the last OS in the series, and has been replaced by Phone 7. So the developer has to be someone who can develop applications for both and provide upgrades to any future versions that may be released by Microsoft.
The second choice is to outsource Windows mobile app development to a consultant or an expert third-party developer. These companies specialize in developing custom applications that provide value to customers of a business when they use the application on their smart phones. The application will be professional, functional and easy to promote and/or sell.