mobile databases, mobile forms, and mobile synchronization … where you need to work
Providing Pocket Access, Mobile Database, Windows CE Database, and Windows CE Development Solutions



As seen in...

Mobile Learning Curve

With Frank Yacano, director of Business Development, Syware []. In September, Syware will run a course for application developers working in Visual CE, an application development tool for Microsoft Windows Mobile Pocket PCs.

Question: What differences are there in developing for mobile devices as opposed to the desktop?
Yacano: When looking at developing applications, first [you must look at] who is using the applications and how they are going to use them. In the mobile world, it's important to know how people get information from handheld devices into the corporate server and vice versa. That question doesn't exist in the desktop world because you know you are going to be connected to a server all the time. Developers must know if users are going to be always out of the office, sometimes out but coming in very regularly, or will be there working, in the building but not at their desk. I think that's a set of questions that needs to be asked for mobile developers that doesn't exist in the desktop world. You have to have a strategy for how to move data back and forth either through wireless, a cradle or through the phone system architecture. You need to find out where the final repository of the data is, and how do I write to that? Once both questions are answered, you can map out a synch strategy.

Question: How big are issues surrounding the wide variety of screen sizes and security?
Yacano: If you are going to build an app that has persistent data stored locally but is not always connected to the server, [screen size] can be a fairly large issue. If you have a lot of screen sizes, you have to create one application GUI [graphical user interface] for each form factor. What I find most customers do is pick a form factor and try to standardize on it. The truth is that even large companies settle on one form factor. [On security] there's a feeling that once these [devices] are out of the building, [IT] loses control of them. They need to educate themselves in best practices. If pretty good security is necessary, a best step would be a VPN [virtual private network]. If you needed another level [higher], it's secure socket layer [SSL]. Most of our customers don't need that. There are concerns about security because of a lack of knowledge in the general populace. There are plenty of solutions, very good solutions. You just need to educate yourself.

Question: Mobility is characterized by its fast evolution. Are there ways to write applications today that aren't quickly obsolete?
Yacano: The GUI piece is going to have to change considerably over time, but the logic and database portions, if initially separated out architecturally, don't change. It's a part of an object-oriented approach to application design. [The initial rationale for the approach] has come to fruition with mobile programming because it [enables use of] so many types of GUIs. The programming skills that you already have are reusable but there is a definite learning curve. It's not the same OSs, not the exact same tools.