Visual Studio 2008 Kicks Off: Sidebar 1: Inside Mobility

Visual Studio 2008 introduces several updates to the Compact Framework and Mobile Development platform. For example, VS 2008 introduces the standard Unit Testing package that has been available since the last release for desktop apps. The New Project Wizard has been redesigned for mobile and CE applications to make it easier to select the correct project. Additionally, Visual Studio provides the device developer with some much-needed tools for debugging and profiling.

The new tools include the Remote Performance Monitor (RPM), GC Heap Viewer, NETCF CLR Profiler, an app configuration tool, and a device version of svcutil.exe to generate Windows Communication Foundation proxies. The RPM provides the ability to take heap snapshots and then to compare them to watch and analyze memory leaks. The installation to the device is now a seamless operation as opposed to a manual file copy procedure. The profiler gives you several views of the application including, but not limited to, call trees, heap/allocation trees, and a time line showing allocations and garbage collections. For those problems talking to devices due to certificate and security problems, the new Security Manager provides a simple, visual tool to configure the device.

The 3.5 Compact Framework expands on several namespaces, filling in several areas that were lacking full compatibility. Of most interest is a sub-set of LINQ support, support for SoundPlayer, System.IO.Compressions, expanded threading objects, and expanded serialization support.

Visual Studio 2008 also ships with Device Emulator 3.0. The latest version of the emulator gives you the ability to interact with an emulator through a new COM API. It is now possible to automate tasks with the emulator and to write scripts that can setup and prepare an emulator image. This provides much needed access to the working of the emulators.

These additions serve a major purpose within the device dev community, and create better parity with the desktop framework and tools. For too long, device developers have been without tools that are standard on the desktop. This latest release simplifies greatly the ability to write quality mobile applications.

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