Creating Applications for Handheld Devices Using eMbedded Visual Basic


This basic tutorial explains how developers with a basic knowledge of Visual Basic 6 can adapt their skills to develop applications for handheld devices which run the Pocket PC 2002 or 2003 Operating System (O/S).

Introduction – eMbedded Visual Basic (eVB)

Although there is a selection of tools available which facilitate the design of software for embedded devices, eVB is a good place to start as the syntax is not alien to developers familiar with Visual Basic.

Nowadays a large majority of programmers are migrating to the .Net framework however, for those of you who, like myself, are old fashioned and feel comfortable with VB6 so think “Why bother changing?”, eVB will prove to be an easy to use tool for creating software for handheld devices.

eVB 3.0 is available as a free download from Microsoft’s Web Site, however eVB is only supported by the PocketPC (PPC) 2002 OS and the majority of modern hand-held devices are running PPC 2003.  This tutorial will explain what to do in order to start using your existing VB knowledge to develop software for mobile devices.

Installing eVB

eVB is available as a free download for those running a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows, simply download the installation program (210MB).  The product key for this edition is TRT7H-KD36T-FRH8D-6QH8P-VFJHQ.  This freeware version of eVB is designed to run on the PPC 2002 Operating System (O/S), the SDK for this version is available here.

For those running PPC 2003, (this can be checked by viewing the “Version” option in the setup menu on the PDA) the Software Development Kit (SDK) should be downloaded from here.  In addition to this SDK, the relevant run-time for 2003 must be downloaded.

In order to use this run-time, download the cabinet file to the Desktop, drag and drop it onto the Home directory of the mobile device, at this point a message will inform the user that 2002 run-times are already installed, and do they wish to proceed?, clicking “yes” will install the relevant run-times.

Other Options

Future versions of the PPC O/S will not support applications developed using eVB causing many developers to migrate to the .Net framework, using eVB only to maintain existing applications.  In circumstances whereby Microsoft Visual Studio is not available, the other option is to develop applications using eMbedded Visual C++ v4.0, again, this is available as a free download for those running a genuine version of Windows.

In order to start using eVC++ it is necessary to download additional service packs. Although there are four service packs available, the two necessary ones are SP2 and SP4.

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