Novick Software
SQL Server Consulting ē Design ē Programming ē Tuning

  andy novick is a sql server mvp



solutions with microsoft's .net compact framework

Building Solutions with Microsoft's .Net Compact Framework
Architecture and Best Practices for Mobile Development

By: Dan Fox and Jon Box

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review by Andrew Novick

This book provides architectural information about Microsoftís mobile products and the .Net Compact Framework that is the direction for mobile software development.  Although there are occasional details, for the most part the book sticks to architectural information and guidance at a high level useful for planning a Compact Framework development project.  Given those limited objectives, it accomplishes itís mission in a fairly easy to read book.

Although the authors explain a lot about mobile hardware, the authors sometimes assume that youíre familiar with the devices and have been using one for some time.  Since I wasnít nearly as familiar with Pocket PC as they assumed there were spots where I had to sort of guess at what they were writing about.  However, overall this didnít hurt the book to much.   They also assume that the reader is familiar with the .Net framework on the desktop and server, something that I was more comfortable with.

Itís definitely not a How-To book.  There is very little code.  When theyíre provided, the code examples are intended to illustrate the use of particular .Net Compact Framework features. The do their job pretty well, if youíre already familiar with the .Net framework on the desktop or server.  Examples are in Visual Basic.Net but they should be easy for anyone who knows C# to read.

I break the information down in to three groups:

  • What mobile applications can and canít do.

  •  How the .Net Compact Framework makes it possible to implement what mobile application can do.

  •  The available alternatives for implementing key features such as data synchronization.

As is appropriate, much of the book is devoted to data synchronization with host databases and applications.  This can take several forms and the book is good at pointing out the pros and cons of each approach.  A substantial part of this coverage is devoted to SQL Server CE, what it can do, and how to get data into and out of it.

 Overall, I was pleased with this book.  Since Iím looking into developing for the .Net Compact Framework it provided the information that I was looking for.   Iíd recommend it for application architects and even technically savvy business executives who are planning a mobile application. 



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