Developing for smart devices: Solving the multiple resolution/ orientation problem

With mobile devices, the most challenging issue is supporting different form factors and screen orientations. This article shows how the Mobile Client Software Factory is a simplification for authoring UIs for multiple devices.

The reality of mobile development (especially if you're creating a product) is not so different to that of Web

development: the clients that will be using the application may not be under your control, and they may support different sets of features and capabilities. In the ASP.NET world, this was solved by the set of mobile-enabled controls, that basically rendered different markup depending on the device. Even in ASP.NET v2.0, this solution (the so-called control adapters architecture) is still in its infancy and not fully completed in its integration with the "standard" controls.

More on smart clients
Special report: Smart client development

In the mobile development world, the problem is not even in its infancy. Up to now, that is.

In the devices world, the critical difference between clients is not on the platform (as in the web, where you have different browsers supporting different standards, etc.). When you decide to develop your application using .NET Compact Framework (CF), you're already filtering the range of devices to Windows-based (most probably Windows Mobile 5.0 if it's a brand new one) Pocket PCs or SmartPhones. In this scenario, your most challenging issue is how to support the different so-called form factors (or resolutions, such as VGA, QVGA) and screen orientations (can be landscape or portrait).

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This was first published in June 2006

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