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


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