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Microsoft .NET Compact ready for prime time

In various stages of beta for the past year, Microsoft used the Comdex stage in Las Vegas this week to tell the world that its .NET Compact Framework for building XML Web services applications deployed on mobile devices is ready to ''Go Live.''

The new Go Live license program will lift the .NET Compact Framework beta software license restriction on deploying production applications, according to Ed Kaim, Microsoft product manager for mobile development tools. This will allow developers who have worked with the beta version during the past year to put the applications they have developed into production, he said.

In an interview with XML Report, Kaim said a Xerox application for service technicians is an example of how the .NET Compact Framework is being used by developers who work with Visual Studio .NET tools to integrate mobile devices with enterprise systems. With the new .NET application deployed, Xerox service technicians, carrying Pocket PCs, will be able to scan in information on copiers they are repairing and enter all the details about the work performed.

''The .NET Compact Framework applications improve efficiency during the day,'' Kaim said, ''not only on the customer site but at the end of the day by avoiding double entry of data that used to be written on paper. They [the Xerox technicians] do their maintenance work, record all the statistics they need in the application and, at the end of the day, they synchronize it with the master database just by docking it into a Pocket PC cradle.''

Eliminating paperwork and the inefficiencies and errors that come with inputting reports from handwritten notes will improve productivity among the Xerox service technicians, Kaim concluded.

The .NET Compact Framework works with Visual Studio .NET 2003, which is also in the final stages of beta and scheduled for final release in April, according to Microsoft announcements at Comdex.

Following the XML standards from W3C and using the same tools for both desktop and mobile devices ensures consistency in application development, Kaim said.

''The .NET Compact Framework is a strict subset of our desktop development API, which is the .NET Framework,'' he explained. ''And Visual Studio .NET is the tool used across both in a very, very consistent manner with virtually the same visual designers, code editors, Web services integration tools, debugging support and deployment.''

For further information on .NET Compact Framework, click on http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/device/

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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