A subset of the .NET Framework, the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework is intended for developing applications for resource-constrained devices. The .NET Compact Framework runs managed code and XML web services in an extensive collection of smart devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, set-top boxes, and so on. Because the .NET Compact Framework is fully integrated with Visual Studio .NET 2003, developers can develop mobile applications using either Microsoft Visual Basic .NET or Microsoft Visual C# .NET. (Future releases will support many other .NET-compliant languages.)
The .NET Compact Framework enables developers to build, debug, and deploy client-side mobile applications on a broad range of smart devices running the Microsoft Windows CE operating system, such as Pocket PC 2000, 2002, 2003, or Phone Edition, and devices running Windows CE .NET 4.1 or above.
Following are the key benefits of using the .NET Compact Framework:
- Shared .NET programming model and Visual Studio .NET toolset. Using the .NET Compact Framework significantly decreases the mobile application's development cost and increases developer productivity. Portions of .NET Framework code may be utilized to create mobile applications using .NET Compact Framework.
- Easy transition for Visual Studio .NET developers. Developing applications for smart devices is similar to developing desktop applications.
- Better security. Security on the .NET Compact Framework is evidence-based.
- Improved performance. Because the .NET Compact Framework is intended for resource-constrained devices, applications can achieve benefits such as high performance from the built-in just-in-time (JIT) compiler, memory efficiency, high productivity, and so on.
- Enhanced debugging. While developing mobile applications, you can set breakpoints, step through code, watch and trace variables, view local variables, etc. You can also remotely debug a deployed mobile application from within Visual Studio .NET, using the integrated debugger.
- Access to XML Web services. Mobile Web applications can consume XML Web services, accessing application logic from dissimilar systems (platform-independent access) using standard data formats and protocols.
- Easier testing. The Visual Studio .NET design environment includes a first-rate device emulator, which simplifies testing.
- CPU independence. Applications developed for a particular device by using the .NET Compact Framework will run independently of the CPU resident on the device. For instance, applications developed for Pocket PC can run on all Pocket PC devices without recompiling.
Click over to InformIT to read more of this article, as well as an extensive list of links to more information on the .NET Compact Framework.
This was first published in March 2004