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Tip of the Month (February 2006)

Converting from a Pocket Access Database (.CDB file) to a Visual CE Database

The Windows CE Operating System has traditionally supported two, independent records storage systems: the Windows CE Database Object Store (the "Object Store") and Pocket Access Databases (.CDB files). Visual CE supports both of these (as well as SQL Server CE databases).

With the introduction of Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft has dropped support for Pocket Access databases. This, of course, is a problem if you have used Pocket Access as the underlying database of your Visual CE application. If you want your Pocket-Access-based application to work on the newer devices, you will have to convert your forms to use the Object Store rather than a Pocket Access Database.

To do the conversion...

If you have Visual CE 10.0 or later...

Run Visual CE on the desktop. Press down and hold the SHIFT key on your keyboard. While the SHIFT key is still down, press down and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard. While both the SHIFT and CTRL key are down, select FILE | OPEN and open up your form. Keep the SHIFT and CTRL key down until the form opens in the form designer. After the form opens in the form designer, you can release the SHIFT and CTRL keys. Then do a FILE | SAVE. Your form will now work on tables in the Object Store rather than Pocket Access. You may also want to do a FILE | DOWNLOAD FORM to put this modified form on your handheld.

If you have Visual CE 9.3 or earlier...

Use Visual CE on the desktop and do a FILE | CREATE TABLE for each of your Pocket Access tables. In addition to the tables your form reads and writes, don't forget to create the support tables (the tables you use to supply lookup values, options for dropdowns, etc.)

Then, for each form, open the existing form in the Visual CE form designer. Leaving that open, run Visual CE a second time and select FILE | NEW FORM. When asked if you want Visual CE to create a form, say NO. Then, cut and paste the controls from the old form into the new form. You can select multiple controls at one time by using EDIT | SELECT ALL or holding down the CTRL key and clicking on the controls.

If you prefer, SYWARE Support Services can, for a fee, convert your application. If you are interested in this service, please contact SYWARE Sales for a quote.