Sybase Mobile Evangelist

Ian Thain

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PowerBuilder: Article

MEDC 2005

What happens in Las Vegas stays in your Pocket!

You may be asking yourself, what's happening in the Microsoft Windows Mobile space? Well, Reed Shilts (in his trademark Hawaiian and PocketBuilder slogan shirts) and I attended Microsoft's MEDC 2005, Mobile & Embedded Developers Conference, which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 10-12, 2005, as an exhibitor. The purpose was to evangelize about Sybase UnWired Products along with iAnywhere.

This event was a great success for Microsoft, as it was the first time that MEDC had been staged on its own, outside of another event. Last year it was part of VSLive (Visual Studio Live), which usually pulls a crowd of 2,500. For an idea of the size of this year's MEDC think of TechWave, along with the keynote, sessions, and exhibition hall. That should give you a feel for how the Windows Mobile platform will and has already taken off. The majority of the 2,000 plus attendees at MEDC were pure mobile developers interested in Smart Client mobile application development. So PocketBuilder, MobiLink, ASA, and Afaria, along with Unwired Accelerator and DataWindow.NET, were of much interest to attendees who dropped by the stand.

As usual Bill Gates presented the keynote and played to a packed house of developers eager for the latest news from Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded Division. Bill's major announcements were the latest beta of Visual Studio 2005 and the release of Windows CE 5.0 and Windows Mobile 5.0, which we in PocketBuilder Engineering are committed to supporting in a future release of PocketBuilder; iAnywhere has already announced support.

In general, other than the above announcements, Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded Division was stressed through the keynote, with an emphasis on the user at the center of the design, in that way fulfilling the desire to enter data only once. This extended into the convergence of the software for all device capabilities, such as transcribing a phone call to a file shared with your buddy list or a file on the desktop and the workflow of the individual with the entire process, independent of the device.

The Microsoft "Collaboration Vision" also included:

  • Integrated communications
  • Collaborative workspaces
  • Access to information and people (at all times)
  • People-driven processes
Very close to Sybase's vision of the UnWired Enterprise, I'm sure you'll agree?

The example of the collaboration vision was along the lines of a person updating a Word document with voice annotations, and then sharing the doc with the pertinent set of people. Of course, they are updating the same doc too, and then everything gets merged when connected.

Windows Mobile 5.0 (Including .NET 2.0) and VS 2005
What are the main points of WM 5 formerly known, in beta, as Magneto?

  • Desire to address the data side of applications and users.
  • Pocket MSN as part of the core OS.
  • Improved ability to share Excel and Word from the desktop to the Pocket versions of the same application.
  • Speech recognition is becoming more important and improved; look out for SAPI in the future.
  • True native - managed interoperability will now be possible (Reed said, finally!).
  • Pocket PowerPoint added to the OS for viewing and very basic manipulation.
  • New Date-time picker control (which is already in PocketBuilder and PowerBuilder).
  • New POOM API - met with cheers - that is object-oriented just like the one in PocketBuilder (same sample we use - creating an appointment is six lines of code). Who said great minds don't think alike.
  • New Camera API that encapsulates all the different cameras. This includes a native-mode API, which we will take advantage of in PocketBuilder v2.5.0. Otherwise, its capabilities looked just like what we have already supplied, other than their breadth of cameras supported.
  • A focus on persistent storage (extends effective battery life).
  • Image update: update segments of the OS while leaving apps and data in place.
  • ActiveSync 4.0, USB 2.0 (40x faster data transfer), and identifies 61 errors that ActiveSync has been unable to deal with in the past, recover from them, and enumerate them.
  • Deploy clients using MSI.
  • FIPS 140-2 certification (FIPS 140-2 is a standard that describes U.S. Federal government requirements that IT products should meet for sensitive, but unclassified use).
What are the main points of Visual Studio 2005?
  • They were showing the "ground breaking" data table editor, which can even edit the schema and (hold your breath) the live data! (Yes, it's very similar to the database painter. The people around us were probably getting tired of Reed Shilts heckling and pointing out that PowerBuilder had this for over 10 years!)
  • They also have a new data grid painter - a lot like the DW painter (but not as flexible).
  • They finally added "code snippets" and the IDE ships with 5,000 snippets. This is a feature we added to PowerBuilder v.7 but never shipped with any snippets.
  • Visual Studio (and the .NET Framework 2.0) now support docking and anchoring. Handy for the simple cases for orientation-aware applications. This is not a general solution, and we have something better in mind for PocketBuilder.
  • They also showed "snap lines" for aligning the controls. Visual Basic and PowerBuilder have had that for ages.

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain

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