Thursday, January 31, 2008


C# Code Snippet: Download a File Over HTTP

This code snippet was adapted from one of Jim Wilson's excellent "How Do I?" tutorials. It works with .NET Framework 2.0 (including the .NET Compact Framework CF 2.0 SP2), and I've successfully tested it on a Windows CE 4.2 device. You will probably want to add a bit more error handling:

/// <summary>
/// Download a file from a URL to a local folder on a windows mobile device
/// Note: Don't forget that mobile folders do not start with a drive letter.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="uri">e.g. http://www.someaddress/downloads/</param>
/// <param name="filename">e.g. filetodownload.exe</param>
/// <param name="localFolder">e.g. \temp\</param>
/// <returns></returns>
public static long FromHttp(string uri, string filename, string localFolder)
    long totalBytesRead = 0;
    const int blockSize = 4096;
    Byte[] buffer = new Byte[blockSize];
    if (!Directory.Exists(localFolder))
        HttpWebRequest httpRequest = 
  (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(Path.Combine(uri, filename));
        httpRequest.Method = "GET";
        // if the URI doesn't exist, an exception will be thrown here...
        using (HttpWebResponse httpResponse = (HttpWebResponse)httpRequest.GetResponse())
            using (Stream responseStream = httpResponse.GetResponseStream())
                using (FileStream localFileStream = 
   new FileStream(Path.Combine(localFolder, filename), FileMode.Create))
                    int bytesRead;
                    while ((bytesRead = responseStream.Read(buffer, 0, buffer.Length)) > 0)
                        totalBytesRead += bytesRead;
                        localFileStream.Write(buffer, 0, bytesRead);
    catch (Exception ex)
        // You might want to handle some specific errors : Just pass on up for now...
    return totalBytesRead;
Comments welcome.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A Few Useful Links for .NET Compact Framework Targeted Mobile Development

OpenNETCF have a free community edition of their extension library:
(among other things, contains a useful FileSystemWatcher which is missing from CF 2.0 SP2)

This Microsoft site has a few great tip and tricks:

.NET Compact Framework Team

Chris Tacke’s SDF Samples,category,SDF%20Samples.aspx

Neil Cowburn’s blog:

Jim Wilson’s Blog

Peter Foot’s Blog:,category,NETCF.aspx

Mike Hall's Blog:

Also, Issue 14 of the Architecture Journal has a mobile device focus:

Monday, January 28, 2008


Make: The Best of: 75 projects from the pages of MAKE

Move over MacGyver! The Geeks are coming! Here are 75 of the best projects from the first 10 volumes of O'Reilly's DIY MAKE magazine. In The Best of MAKE (380 pages) , editors Mark Frauenfelder and Gareth Branwyn have selected a varied assortment of projects and tips that are not only fun to work on, but also have practical applications. Even if you are not a dab hand with electronics and a soldering iron you will almost certainly find something of interest. In fact, you do not actually need to build any of these projects to enjoy this book.

The range of projects is quite varied in terms of complexity, split across the following chapters:
  1. Tools
  2. Electronics
  3. Microcontrollers
  4. Toys & Games
  5. Robots
  6. Music
  7. Flight & Projectiles
  8. Photography & Video
  9. Cars & Engines
Starting with a description of the tools that are handy to have available, Chapter 1 prepares the groundwork for what you will need to get started on these DIY projects. The following 8 chapters are a roller coaster ride through the pages of Make.

If I had to pick a top 5 projects, my favourites would have to be the Jam Jar Jet, Urban Camouflage, Pinball Resurrected , VCR Cat Feeder and the robot mouse.

I liked this book so much that I bought my brother a copy for xmas! It has even re-ignited my interest in a bit of electronics tinkering. Highly recommended. One thing to note; the Amazon cover photo shows "150 Projects" but it is actually 75.

[BTW, If you like this book, you should also check out Making Things Talk which has a distinctly embedded electronics flavor, and goes deeper into the topic of microcontrollers and programming.]

Disclosure: The Perth .NET User Group is a member of the O'Reilly User Group and Professional Association Program. O’Reilly make copies of their books available for user group libraries, and the copy reviewed here was kindly donated by O’Reilly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Developing for the Symbol MC1000 with CF 2.0 SP2

My foray into mobile development, after a hiatus of several years, got off to a very slow start with the Symbol MC1000! The previous project had targeted a Telxon device which is now discontinued and if I recall correctly had a 1MHz(!) processor, just 1MB of non-volatile RAM for both code and data, ran a cut down version of DOS, had absolutely no integrated debugging experience and was entirely developed in C with only minimal library support. It was an enjoyable, if not protracted, challenge building a disconnected warehouse inventory application for that device, which required good performance and usability.

The Symbol MC1000 is a much more modern affair, with an Intel XScale 312 MHz processor, running Windows CE 4.2, 32MB of RAM and 32MB of flash ROM.

After a few Google searches I discovered that I would be able to target the Compact Framework 2.0 SP2 and use C# in Visual studio 2005 (SP1) to develop and debug the new application. Joy!

I’m almost embarrassed (*blush*) to admit that it took me a while to get the right version of the Compact Framework installed! I got it into my head that an “Intel XScale processor” meant I needed the x86 version of the Compact Framework. It doesn’t! It needs the ARM version. The Symbol web site could certainly benefit from better usability and content. Thank goodness for forums and the people who give up their time to answer questions on them. It seems everyone I have mentioned this to after the fact thought it was obvious, so it must be common knowledge in this sphere.

So what about the debugging experience? It is great! Just install Microsoft’s ActiveSync 4.5 and the other downloads listed below and you will be off to a flying start.

I’m currently running Compact Framework 2.0 SP2 in RAM: I haven’t quite figured out the Platform Builder route to installing it into ROM, and the Symbol site is pretty quiet on the whole matter. Small steps...

Helpful links:
Mark Prentice blog has this very useful post:
Developing .NET Compact Framework applications for Windows CE 4.2 Devices

.NET Compact Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 Redistributable
ActiveSync 4.5
Symbol Mobility Developer Kit v1.6 for .NET
Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK for Pocket PC

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Perth .NET User Group meeting: ASP.NET MVC with Michael Minutillo

Join us at the Perth .NET Community of Practice, February 7th to hear Michael Minutillo present on Microsoft’s ASP.NET MVC framework. In this session, Michael will give an introduction to this new Microsoft technology. ASP.NET MVC is a presentation framework being developed by Microsoft to provide an alternative to Web Forms for web-application development. Leveraging the well-known Model View Controller design pattern it enables developers to create robust, maintainable web sites.

TOPIC: ASP.NET MVC with Michael Minutillo
DATE: 7th February, 5:30pm
VENUE: Excom, Level 2, 23 Barrack Street, Perth
COST: Free. All Welcome.

MVC is a framework methodology that separates an application's implementation into three component roles: models, views, and controllers. One of the benefits of using a MVC methodology is that it helps enforce a clean separation of concerns between the models, views and controllers within an application. Maintaining a clean separation of concerns makes the testing of applications much easier, since the contract between different application components are more clearly defined and articulated.

I will be giving away a few goodies: a Resharper license, a copy of the book “The ASP.NET Anthology” and a few T-shirts. If you want a seat, try to arrive early!


Powered by Blogger