S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
One of the advantages of self-hosting (we often call it internally as dog-fooding) is to get a chance to play with the latest and greatest. Along those lines, the Visual Studio for Devices team gave me a new smartphone yesterday. I was playing around with it last night and it is great to see how fast these devices are becoming richer and more of a comprehensive information device in the true sense.
This also reminded me of how much farther we have come along in terms for support for building applications for smart devices, such as Pocket PC and Smartphones, with Visual Studio 2005. You can now build native applications in C++ for smart devices. We’ve added support for Win32 applications, as well as MFC 8.0 and ATL 8.0 runtimes. These runtimes are also supported on Smartphone devices for the first time, making the native development experience even easier. In addition to runtimes we’ve written a brand new native debugger, designed with the smart device developer in mind. It is optimized for communicating to a physical device attached to your development PC, and the performance improvements over the eMbedded Visual C++ debugger are amazing.
For managed code development, Visual Studio 2005 supports .NET Compact Framework 2.0, including design-time support for new features such as docking and anchoring. To help developers target multiple screen resolutions and orientation you can now rotate your forms to verify control position at design time. You can upgrade existing projects to the new .NET Compact Framework release, and even convert existing projects from Pocket PC to Smartphone. Visual Studio will even help you identify controls on Pocket PC that aren’t supported on Smartphone devices. If you work with databases, there is integrated design-time support for SqlMobile 3.0. With Visual Studio 2005 you can create and modify databases and tables for Smart Devices using the Server Explorer window, just like desktop developers do for Sql Server. You can also use the Add New Datasource wizard to automatically generate strongly-typed data sets, and the Data Sources window to auto-generate UI for your data applications.
The new device emulator, which emulates the ARM CPU, allows you to download and run any application built for Pocket PC or Smartphone without having to re-compile. This is very helpful when you want to test how your application behaves in conjunction with applications from other companies.