Potted history (and glimpse into the future) of the .NET Compact Framework

Mike Zintel has posted a description of how the .NET Compact Framework got to where it is today, and where the team are headed in v2.0 and beyond.

Key lessons learned by the team were in performance, interop and a few bloopers like the infamous DateTimePicker – the control which should never have been left out. The good news is that all these areas are receiving attention for v2.0.

A focus for v3.0 will be managing transient networks – being able to seamlessly use a connection as and when available, based on emerging WS-* standards. We will see some improvements in this area before v3.0 as the Windows Mobile team have already announced the Notifications Broker for their next version which will support events on key system changes, however this won’t be available to other Windows CE based platforms. The problems faced are not just in choosing and activating the most appropriate connection, but handling situations where the connection is lost part way through a process, a real problem when your devices are constantly on the move, in and out of network coverage.

My personal wishlist for v3.0 would add more support for location and context awareness, so that apps can be a little more smart to react to changes not just in network connectivity but also changing usage profiles such as sound and appearance for different locations and times.

Once you’ve read Mike’s article you can check out some of his wonderful photographs too at


By Peter Foot

Microsoft Windows Development MVP