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PDA Programming with Satellite Forms

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While the APIs for the PalmOS are native C language APIs, every platform has a need for 4GL visual development tools for rapid application development. The leading tool for PalmOS developers is currently Pumatech's Satellite Forms. In this article, Bryan Morgan examines the features and capabilities of this powerful IDE for PDA development.

Bryan Morgan was the founder of the Wireless Developer Network. He is currently an independent consultant and writer focusing on the wireless industry. Mr. Morgan is a regular contributor to InformIT on wireless application development topics.


One of the leading development tools—if not the leading development tool—for the Palm Computing Platform is Satellite Forms 4.0 from Pumatech. While I don't have any hard and fast statistics on PalmOS development tool usage, I do know that the two "essentials" in most Palm developers' toolboxes are Palm C and Satellite Forms. A third-party development tool vendor recently told me that 90% of his enterprise customers are using Satellite Forms as their primary tool…a number I don't dispute. Two up-and-coming competitors to Satellite Forms are Java 2 Micro Edition (mentioned in several of my earlier articles) and AppForge (a "Visual Basic" for the PalmOS, to be covered in a later article). Both of these products are very new but should see significant growth over the next year. For the time being, however, Satellite Forms continues to lead the way with its powerful combination of a visual integrated development environment (IDE), database access tools, and extensible component libraries (known as SFX's).

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