This week most of the Mobile Client Software Factory dev team is at MEDC, in Las Vegas, presenting the cool stuff we've built over the last few months. (You guys should bee proud!)

It includes a loosely coupled collection of application blocks, some guidance packages, and documentation to help you build an end-to-end mobile application with guidance around some critical areas.

The guidance we've put together so far -since around January?- includes:

  • A Mobile version of CAB
  • A Connection Management app block to detect connection state, and a block to help you manage configuration for application endpoints for different networks
  • A mobile DAAB with a super-simple DB data access mapping helper
  • A Disconnected Service Agent Block + Guidance Package to help you build apps that work when disconnected and that roam networks; queuing requests; configuring web service proxies appropriately and all that
  • A SQL Server replication block that simplifies how you create and manage data replication to your device; if you choose to use this as a way of getting reference data into the app
  • An Orientation Aware control that allows you to design different layouts for different screen sizes and orientations and form factors (square, rectangular, etc) directly in the VS.NET designer
  • A Unit Test Runner that allows you to write tests for the full framework using VSTS tools but then runs them in the emulator without changing your test code
  • A Reference Implementation app that shows you a simple application using all these areas together illustrating good design patterns for your business logic

In the upcoming 2 months we plan to formalize the Reference Implementation design patterns into Guidance Packages; and depending on how well we do on velocity add a couple of more domains (self-updating mobile apps could be one such area, or Pin-based authentication and key storage). You can stay up to date by getting weekly drops from our community (which include code, docs and presentations about the topic).

We have a great team, and an awesome Expert Advisors board including people from large enterprises, ISVs, MVPs, and OpenNetCF. We will disclose the names of the advisors, as we get their permission :)

This has also been a great experiment for Microsoft in which a product team is building a Microsoft SKU in collaboration with p&p. (You can read about the precursor to this here) The collaboration is fun, as we learn how to integrate a p&p team doing XP on weekly iterations in the west coast of the US; with a Dynamics team doing monthly SCRUMs in Denmark. It's involved some travelling to keep things together but we have been doing great by attending each others iteration planning, having a shared team blog, and capturing tidbits of info in a shared wiki. The Dynamics team is building a specific Composite UI shell for Mobile apps, and a way to have model-driven orchestration of WorkItems as a way of allowing extensibility and customization of the apps they will build. Pretty darn cool!

Please go and join the community to see the p&p project; and let us know whether it will help you build your next mobile app!