Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: David H Deans, Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Windows Mobile Version 5.0 Revealed

Improved productivity, integrated multimedia, and diverse customization experiences

There has never been an operating system release more important to .NET developers than the release of Windows Mobile Version 5.0. With this release, Microsoft is poised to take your productivity in writing mobile applications higher than it has ever gone before. Rich multimedia capabilities, integrated messaging, and world-class telephony support are just a few of the benefits you will realize when you develop applications for the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform.

From the perspective of the .NET software developer, perhaps the most important piece of Windows Mobile 5.0 is its brand new Managed API. All of the code for this new API is found in the Microsoft.WindowsMobile namespace. You can access this API from Visual Studio by adding references to the following assemblies:

  • Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Configuration
  • Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Forms
  • Microsoft.WindowsMobile.PocketOutlook
  • Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Status
  • Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Telephony
The Windows Mobile 5.0 Managed API is compatible with .NET Compact Framework 1.0, as well as with .NET Compact Framework 2.0, although you must use Visual Studio 2005 to target Windows Mobile 5.0 and to use the new managed APIs.

Telephony

Of the four Windows Mobile-based devices I [Derek] have owned over the past few years, three of them have been telephony-enabled devices. The first two of these were Pocket PC Phone Edition devices, so named because they were essentially Pocket PCs that just happened to support making and receiving telephone calls.

My most recent acquisition is a Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition-based Smartphone. The Smartphone is an amazingly capable device that allows me to send and receive MSN Messenger messages, take pictures, and run software written using the .NET Compact Framework, in addition to the traditional telephony functions of placing and receiving telephone calls.

Before Windows Mobile 5.0, however, Windows Mobile Software for Pocket PC Phone Edition or Smartphone did not support direct access to telephony functionality via a managed API. So prior to Windows Mobile 5.0, if one wanted to create a .NET Compact Framework application that, for example, dialed a given telephone number, one would typically have had to access a native API for this purpose via .NET's p/Invoke functionality.

Windows Mobile 5.0 addresses this by providing a namespace called Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Telephony as a part of its base functionality. At the time of writing, this namespace consists of a single class called Phone, which exposes a single method, called Talk. Talk takes a String parameter representing the telephone number to be dialed, plus an optional Boolean parameter specifying whether or not the user should be prompted prior to dialing.

For example, the following line of C# code will dial the number for operator assistance in most major U.S. cities. Prior to dialing, however, a confirmation dialog will be displayed to the user.


new Phone().Talk("555-1212", true);

Outlook Mobile

The ability to store information about contacts and to communicate with them is central to the functionality of both major device types (Smartphones and Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs) currently targeted by the .NET Compact Framework. On the Windows desktop, Microsoft Outlook is the application of choice for storing contact information and for communicating via e-mail. Under Windows Mobile, this functionality is performed by Outlook Mobile, with added functionality for communication via the Short Message Service (SMS), a kind of instant messaging tailor-made for use with mobile devices.

Prior to Windows Mobile 5.0, there was no managed interface for Outlook Mobile. To be sure, alternative approaches for accessing contacts under Windows Mobile have been developed. Developers could native code, p/Invoke, or - under Visual Studio 2005 - use COM Interop to tap into the rich messaging and contact management functionality provided by Outlook Mobile. Third-party vendors (see Resources at the end of this article) have also developed and sold Outlook Mobile access libraries for the .NET Compact Framework.

With the release of Windows Mobile 5.0, developers for the first time have a managed API baked directly into the operating system to facilitate all Personal Information Management (PIM) functionality available in the Windows Mobile operating system.

The Pocket Outlook Object Model

The core managed APIs for interacting with Outlook Mobile on Windows Mobile 5.0 are all contained in the Microsoft.WindowsMobile.PocketOutlook namespace (the name is a throwback to the old name for Outlook Mobile, Pocket Outlook). In general, there is one unique class for dealing with each kind of entity in Outlook Mobile.

To briefly summarize the kinds of classes in as few words as possible, consider the path that a message will typically take from Outlook Mobile to a recipient aw well as its path in the opposite direction. The trip begins (or ends) with either an e-mail or an SMS account, because these are the two protocols supported by Outlook Mobile. For this reason, there are EmailAccount and SmsAccount classes in the PocketOutlook namespace.

To create an actual message, there are EmailMessage and SmsMessage classes, as well as classes for working with such messages' associated entities. For example, there are classes for things such as recipients and attachments. A brief example of sending an e-mail using some of these classes is shown in Listing 1.

Listing 1 begins by creating an Outlook Session. This is a central class in working with Outlook Mobile's managed API, and you will generally always instantiate this class whenever you work with Outlook Mobile.

We then instantiate an instance of EmailMessage to represent the message we wish to send, and an instance of Recipient to represent the person to whom we wish to send our message. We set the text of the message's body, associate the recipient with the message, then use the account named "PersonalAccount" (which we got from the Outlook Session) to send our e-mail.

Besides messages, Outlook Mobile also facilitates the tracking of appointments and tasks. There are classes for both of these things, as well as a host of supporting classes for details such as their recurrence schedules.

Finally, many of the classes described above also have collection classes for dealing with their instances as a group. TaskCollection, ContactCollection, and Appointment-Collection would be good examples of such classes.

Intercepting Messages

A recent client was very concerned about their potential loss of intellectual property if one of their organization's devices were ever lost or stolen. They wanted to be able to completely wipe (perform a "cold reset" upon) a device that had gone beyond their physical control simply by sending it an SMS message with a special secret code in its body.

The class that allows a developer to build this kind of functionality in Windows Mobile 5.0 is known as MessageInterceptor and lives in the Microsoft.WindowsMobile.PocketOutlook.MessageInterception namespace. This namespace is all about writing code that waits to receive a message, and then performing some kind of work.

The workflow to achieve this is fairly simple. First, one must instantiate a MessageInterceptor object. There are two main points of interest on this object. First, its MessageCondition property allows a developer to specify the kind of message to which such an object should respond. The interceptor can be set to respond to a message with a Body, Sender, or Subject that matches - or explicitly doesn't match - a given value.

The other interesting feature of this class is its EnableApplication-Launcher method. By calling this method, you can register your application to be launched when a specified message is received. This allows you to intercept messages without having to keep your applications running in the background.

Managed Configuration Manager

Carriers and corporate support groups will want to interact with the Configuration Manager in order to set up a device with different characteristics. The potential areas of configuration include user settings and device settings like connectivity parameters, security, and the ability to uninstall an application. These settings are contained in XML files that need to be passed into the Configuration Manager. The explanation of this topic would require more than an article, so we'll just point out that the ConfigurationManager class (in the Microsoft.WindowsMobile.ConfigurationManager namespace) is your managed entry point to this functionality.

Using Windows Mobile 5.0 UI in My Applications

As we've mentioned earlier, Window Mobile 5.0 has the first managed API for dealing with Outlook Mobile. This API is extended into the UI tier of Windows Mobile 5.0, and joined by some new dialogs for enhanced multimedia functionality. These APIs are found in System.WindowsMobile.Forms, and include three new dialogs: ChooseContactDialog, SelectPictureDialog, and Camera-CaptureDialog.

To set the stage for this discussion, let's assume that you manage a group of volunteer authors while on the road traveling between your client's city and your home, and it's time to start planning the next issue of your magazine. (This should sound familiar to Derek!) You open up your application on your Windows Mobile 5.0-based device, go to the Start New Issue screen, and start entering data.

One of the enhancements that consumers will notice immediately with Window Mobile 5.0 is that of Outlook Mobile. With the managed interface to this functionality, developers will obviously build PIM and business applications that extend the notion of Contacts. Also, since this application stores the authors as Contacts, we'll use the ChooseContactDialog class to select the authors for this issue. The ChooseContactDialog class does several different things with Contacts, so we'll set up the properties to only select the Contact and then call ShowDialog to get the window started. (See Listing 2 and Figure 1.)

Later, the magazine editor might want to send the author's picture to the printing company. As you'll find out, Windows Mobile 5.0 has an application for selecting and viewing images - and we can use that too. The SelectPictureDialog class provides intuitive functionality like setting the directory to look in, controlling the folder navigation, the title to have on the selection screen, and the chosen image. (See Listing 3.)

Finally, let's say that the magazine editor is at a conference and recruits a new author. The editor knows that at some point that we'll need a headshot. Instead of having to ask later, the editor decides to take advantage of our application and use the integrated camera. By building a screen that calls the CameraCaptureDialog class the application will interact with the device's built-in camera and provides an image file of the author. This is a huge improvement over having to P/Invoke into the OEM's camera API DLL, if they provided one.

Filling in the Gaps of .NET Compact Framework 1.0

Derek and Jon have both written and talked about the missing areas in the .NET Compact Framework. These gaps became the subject of many whitepapers on the MSDN Mobility site. The Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Status solves the majority of these by providing several classes that manage access to system properties. Thus, a developer can now easily retrieve the current ActiveSync status, the display orientation, power state and battery strength, phone information, calendar and task information, messaging and connectivity information, and more. The vastness of the list is impressive. Throw in a few enumerations, and it's as easy as:


If SystemState.ActiveSyncStatus =
ActiveSyncStatus.Synchronizing Then
'Wait for new files
End If

Another way to interact with these properties is to have the SystemState class deliver a notification about a monitored property. For example:


Dim oStatus As New SystemState(System Property.PhoneGprsCoverage)
AddHandler(oStatus.Changed, addressof me.GprsCoverageChange)

The SystemState class also exposes an EnableApplicationLauncher method similar to that exposed by the MessageInterceptor class described above. The difference is, however, that the events that can trigger an application's launch using this method are much more diverse than simply the receipt of a given e-mail or SMS message. This is functionality that many desktop Windows developers would envy!

There are more topics for discussion in the Status namespace. However with these three options, I believe that the SystemState class will be of great interest to those of us who have already been working with the .NET Compact Framework.

Conclusion

As you have seen, Windows Mobile 5.0 will deliver a development experience that is superior to anything available on competing mobility platforms. The availability of managed APIs and a development tool as powerful as Visual Studio 2005 represents the highest level of developer productivity currently available. The integration of multimedia facilities, such as the CameraCaptureDialog described above, will facilitate the creation of rich multimedia applications. And finally, the wide range of application and customization experiences that Windows Mobile 5.0 will make available will allow Microsoft partners and customers to differentiate their offerings in ways previously unimagined. Stay tuned to the MSDN Mobile and Embedded Developer Center for information on the tools to build Windows Mobile 2005 applications.

Resources

Outlook Mobile-related Links
For those of you who need to support Outlook Mobile integration using .NET Compact Framework 2.0, but prior to Windows Mobile 5.0, check out Steven Pratschner's blog for a sample using COM Interop to achieve this.
  • Steven Pratschner's Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/stevenpr

    For the many of you who will need to support Outlook Mobile integration prior to .NET Compact Framework 2.0, check out this product.

  • PocketOutlook In the Hand: www.inthehand.com/index.php?page=6&show=1,2
  • More Stories By Derek Ferguson

    Derek Ferguson, founding editor and editor-in-chief of .Net Developer's Journal, is a noted technology expert and former Microsoft MVP.

    More Stories By Jon Box

    Jon Box is an Architect Evangelist in Developer & Platform Evangelism with the Microsoft Corporation. He coauthored Building Solutions with the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, published by Addison-Wesley, and blogs at http://blogs.msdn.com/jonbox/default.aspx.

    Comments (0)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
    To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
    Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
    "We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
    Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
    Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
    Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
    In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
    From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
    In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
    Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
    In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...