What's New For Developers In Windows Mobile 6.5? Widgets! - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
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Commentary
3/19/2009
06:57 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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What's New For Developers In Windows Mobile 6.5? Widgets!

The Windows Mobile blog team has released some information about what is new in Windows Mobile 6.5 for developers. Current development tools consist primarily of C/C++ or the .net compact framework. WinMo 6.5 will bring Windows Mobile Widgets, which use Web code such as CSS and HTML.

The Windows Mobile blog team has released some information about what is new in Windows Mobile 6.5 for developers. Current development tools consist primarily of C/C++ or the .net compact framework. WinMo 6.5 will bring Windows Mobile Widgets, which use Web code such as CSS and HTML.This is a confirmation of various rumors that have been swirling since WinMo 6.5 was announced at Mobile World Congress in February. This puts Windows Mobile on par with what Palm has announced with its new WebOS platform and what Apple has had for the iPhone since its inception. In fact, Apple only supported Widgets in its first version. This announcement should open the platform to a lot of developers that are more skilled in Web application development instead of more traditional coding. WinMo developer Jorge Peraza sums it up this way:

A good way to think of a Windows Mobile Widget is as a "Portable chunk of the Web" or just basically a rich Internet application. Widgets are written using all the Web technologies we know and love (HTML, CSS, Ajax, JavaScript) and, since they are powered under the covers by our new Internet browser, they have full access to flash and other ActiveX controls available on the device (like MediaPlayer).

The user won't notice a difference, according to Peraza. Applications will have their own icon to launch it and it will appear as a separately running app in the Task manager.

Since Apple made its announcement a few days ago that it was opening up a lot of new APIs for developers, it signaled that developers would be able to write applications for the platform that would be more powerful and should be able to match the capabilities of Windows Mobile developers in a lot of areas. I've talked to a number of developers, though, and some contend that it's just more enjoyable to write for the iPhone with its Widget support. Now it seems that Microsoft is matching that ease of development with its own Widget support. It's a definite win for consumers on both platforms, as richer third-party apps will be available.

It stands to reason that if the development of Widgets are easier, then application development will be faster and more stable as less debugging of tricky APIs will be necessary, and that should mean less expensive apps. The timing of this will help with the launch of Microsoft's own app store, the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

If you're interested in developing Widgets for WinMo 6.5, keep your eyes on the Microsoft tech.days Web page or attend TechEd 2009.

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