Windows Marketplace for Mobile 6.x to be Discontinued

If you publish apps on the old Marketplace for Windows Mobile 6.x you should have received reminders that the service will be discontinued in two weeks. If you have been using our Mobile In The Hand product with a managed code app there are a couple of issues to be aware of. Our libraries contain the following two classes to provide programmatic access to the Marketplace client on Windows Mobile 6.x:-

  • InTheHand.Phone.Tasks.MarketplaceDetailTask
  • InTheHand.Phone.Tasks.MarketplaceLauncher

If these are called on a device with the Marketplace client installed they will launch the client application however once the service is discontinued no application details will be accessible so this may result in a confusing experience for your users. Consider these classes obsolete as they will no longer be supported and will be removed from the next release.

https://inthehand.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/72785-windows-marketplace-for-mobile-6-x-to-be-discontin

Managing Processes and Memory With Mobile In The Hand 7.0

.NET Compact Framework

The Compact Framework provides the capability to start a separate process from your code, and stop it but it doesn’t give you more detailed information about what is running and what components are in use. Windows CE includes the optional ToolHelp component (present in all Windows Mobile versions). The InTheHand.Diagnostics namespace includes a number of classes for working with ToolHelp in a way which matches the full .NET Framework. The ProcessHelper class includes the GetProcesses() static method to return all running processes on the device. Extension methods GetModules() and GetThreads() return ProcessModule and ProcessThread collections for a specific Process.

ProcessModule exposes name, size and version information for an individual module. ProcessThread exposes id, priority and elapsed processor time.

Another way you might want to interrogate a process is to determine the memory usage. For your own process we’ve followed the Windows Phone model and so InTheHand.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties.ApplicationCurrentMemoryUsage

provides you this useful figure as a strongly-typed property. It is also accessible from the GetValue method as you would on Windows Phone.

Windows Phone

Other than the built in set of tasks you can’t start any other applications or tell if they are running. You do have access to memory statistics though which are accessible from the Microsoft.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties class. A limitation here is that if you use this method to get the memory statistics your app will automatically get marked as requiring the ID_CAP_IDENTITY_DEVICE capability which it doesn’t actually need for these properties. We built a helper class for two reasons – firstly to remove this requirement and secondly to provide strongly-typed properties as an alternative to the GetValue implementation. On Windows Phone therefore you can use:-

InTheHand.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties.ApplicationCurrentMemoryUsage

InTheHand.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties.ApplicationPeakMemoryUsage

and

InTheHand.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties.DeviceTotalMemory

Mobile In The Hand 7.0

Mobile In The Hand is a suite of components for developing mobile applications across Microsoft’s various mobile and embedded operating systems. It will save you development time and allow you to share more code across different .NET project types.

Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding with Mobile In The Hand 7.0

This is the first in a series of posts about Mobile In The Hand 7.0 which brings a collection of reusable components to the .NET Compact Framework. This latest version is updated to support all versions of Windows Mobile including Windows Embedded Handheld, All versions of Windows Embedded Compact (in it’s various names) from 4.1 to 7.0 and a set of companion libraries offering a subset of the functionality on Windows Phone 7.

When the .NET Framework 4.0 was released it introduced a new namespace – System.Device.Location which provided a range of location features. Subsequently this was used as the model for Windows Phone’s APIs. One major whole in the Windows Phone implementation is that the CivicAddressResolver is not implemented and doesn’t return a result. Mobile In The Hand 7.0 comes to the rescue with a two pronged attack:-

An InTheHand.Device.Location.GeoCoordinateWatcher for the .NET Compact Framework. This uses the GPS Intermediate driver present on all Windows Mobile 5.0 and later devices and available as a system component on Windows CE 6.0 and beyond. This is exposed with a familiar object model which matches that found in .NET 4.0 and Silverlight for Windows Phone.

Secondly two new components are provided – BingCivicAddressResolver takes a GeoCoordinate and uses Bing Maps to resolve a CivicAddress object similar to the functionality available on desktop windows. Additionally as an extra feature the BingGeoCoordinateResolver allows you to resolve a GeoCoordinate from an address or partial address. Both of these classes are provided in the .NET Compact Framework and Silverlight for Windows Phone libraries which make up Mobile In The Hand 7.0. The Compact Framework version offers both Synchronous and Asynchronous calls, the Silverlight version just exposes the Asynchronous calls.

070-580: Windows Mobile 6.5 Application Development

This may be a little late to the party but I thought I would share some information on this exam. Because you sign an NDA when you take the exam I cannot comment on specifics of the exam content, however I can offer some guidance on the study guide:-

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?ID=70-580

This exam replaced the previous 070-540 exam which covered application development using Windows Mobile 5.0, .NET Compact Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005. Therefore a large percentage of the material is the same between the two. The new topics come in the form of Widgets, LINQ, ADO.NET Sync Services and Windows Mobile Tools such as FakeGPS. The full list of skills measured can be read on the exam link above. There are a couple of oddities:–

  • The material is updated for .NETCF 3.5 by including LINQ but WCF is not listed.
  • ADO.NET Sync Services has never really been a core part of the development tools.
  • Finally one of the skills measured is creating a desktop installer for your application. There is not standard way of doing this but the guidance does exist (see list below) to put together a dll which acts as a custom install action within your desktop installer.

So once you’ve familiarised yourself with all the skills measured you’ll skip to the next tab on Preparation Materials and find there is nothing at all listed. Here is a list I think will help with your preparation:-

Microsoft Mobile Development Handbook – Microsoft Press. While the main book covers .NETCF 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, the last chapter gives a run down on new features in Visual Studio 2008 and .NETCF 3.5 including LINQ. It ticks almost all of the Skills measured, there are a few articles which cover the new topics:-

Developing Widgets for Windows Mobile 6.5 – MSDN. The Windows Mobile 6.5.3 SDK added some support for Widget development to Visual Studio 2008 but I find it just hangs Visual Studio. This article shows the “old” approach from creating the HTML, JavaScript and building the ZIP file and renaming.

Programming Microsoft Synchronization Services for ADO.NET (Devices) – MSDN. Andy’s article describes Synchronization services from setting up and running synchronization through to optimisations for mobile use.

Using the FakeGPS Utility – MSDN.

 

The 70-580 exam is quite new and it is quite clear that if and when there is an exam created for Windows Phone 7 development it will by necessity be completely different. However for now 70-580 is the most up-to-date Microsoft exam for Mobility and is one of the requirements for the Mobility competency within the Microsoft Partner Program. Currently it doesn’t appear that there are any exams at all for Silverlight, but there are some coming in the next few months for .NET 4.0 and WPF.

Mobile In The Hand 4.2 Released

This latest update includes a number of performance enhancements and wider device compatibility.

A new SystemEvents class is added in the InTheHand.Win32 namespace which allows you to monitor power changes on devices which do not support the State and Notifications Broker (Pocket PC 2003 and all Windows CE devices).

InTheHand.Net.WebUtils provides a method to safely encode/decode strings in a HTML/XML friendly way.

InTheHand.WindowsMobile.Status.SystemState now supports more properties on Pocket PC 2003 and Windows CE devices by interfacing with lower level APIs on these devices.

This is a free update from v4.x. Registered users of v3.x can purchase a reduced price upgrade. Full product details here:-

https://inthehand.com/content/mobile.aspx

 

Mobile In The Hand 4.1

While this week has very much been focussed on Windows Phone 7 so far we also released the latest version of our Mobile In The Hand suite for the .NET Compact Framework. Along with some bug-fixes (several around EmailMessage functionality) and performance improvements there are a lot of new features in this release. These include:-

  • Compatibility – We have gone through the entire library and documented which platform versions support which features in a similar way to the MSDN documentation for the underlying APIs. We have also added in more platform checks and workarounds so we are now able to support a much wider range of devices. Pocket PC 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0, Windows Mobile 6, Windows Mobile 6.1, Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Mobile 6.5.3, Windows CE.NET 4.1, Windows CE 5.0, Windows Embedded CE 6, you get the idea! Basically any device which supports .NET Compact Framework 2.0 or later will be able to use most of the functionality in the suite.
  • Better support for .NETCF 3.5 – By adding IEnumerable<T> interfaces to our collection classes you can write slightly simpler LINQ statements. Also we have implemented many features as Extension Methods. These can be used in either .NETCF 2.0 or 3.5 so long as you are using Visual Studio 2008 (The compiler in VS2005 doesn’t support these so you have to call them as static methods).
  • New InTheHand.Device.Location.dll library – This is modelled on the .NET 4.0 library and just this week it has been shown that Windows Phone 7 gets a version of the same library. By adding this support we’ve been able to completely re-design our GPS support and you can now write code with the same familiar object model on Windows 7, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded CE. In the Evaluation version this shipped as InTheHand.Device.dll but for the full release we changed it to InTheHand.Device.Location.dll to match the Windows Phone 7 name, the namespaces and classes within the assembly are unchanged.
  • New InTheHand.Net.dll library – Previously this was released as a separate product but this now joins the suite and has had a number of new features including asynchronous versions of the WebClient methods, support for SMTP email sending, Remote Access (RAS) and some more classes in the NetworkInformation namespace. By integrating with the suite we have been able to share more functionality so for example our Visual Basic “My” extensions now have additional networking methods that are present in the full .NET framework.
  • InTheHand.WindowsMobile.Forms.ControlHelper.EnableVisualStyles – This extension method allows you to reskin all the supported controls on Windows Mobile 6.5.3 with their new themed versions.
  • InTheHand.WindowsMobile.Forms.Widget – On Windows Mobile 6.5 and later you can interrogate the widgets installed on the device. You can programmatically launch or uninstall Widgets too. There is a new sample application which shows a simple widget manager application.

 

For more information about Mobile In The Hand see the product page.