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Kick Start Your Windows CE Project

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Windows CE is a real-time, embedded operating system offering from Microsoft. It's designed to run on devices with small footprints such as PDAs, phones, and Internet appliances. It runs on a variety of processors designed for smaller devices and to accommodate the needs of such devices, it is modular and configurable. In this article, experts Aspi Havewala and James Wilson offer useful tips on how to make an early start with Windows CE, and tell you what to expect along the way.
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Kick Start Your Windows CE Project


To understand this article, you need to have a basic understanding of developing software for embedded systems

Windows CE is an operating system that allows you to develop a variety of devices. How is it different from Windows 98 or Windows 2000? For one, it is designed to run on devices with footprints (the size of available hardware resources) much smaller than those of a regular desktop or laptop computer. Second, in keeping with the needs of the embedded market place, it runs on a variety of processors—such as those from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Hitachi, to name a few.

In this article, we’ll focus entirely on developing a new device using Windows CE. Although each project is different, you’ll find many tasks between a Windows CE project and a regular embedded project that overlap. Along the way, we’ll discuss boilerplate tasks that are specific to Windows CE.

Is Windows CE the Right Choice?

When developing any device, this question will invariably come up. A good way to answer this question is to ask what requirements of your device need to be fulfilled by the operating system.

When formulating these requirements, critical features should be included first. It is important to spend some time thinking about what kind of a development environment will be optimal for developing under the operating system. Most operating systems offer a rich set of development tools that can really be leveraged to shorten the project schedule. Expecting more out of the operating system in this regard is not unwarranted.

A compelling reason to use Windows CE is if the product has an extensive user interface. By virtue of being Win32-compatible, a large number of third-party applications can be leveraged on your platform. This might be a critical feature for your product line. Allowing a variety of vendors to develop competing applications on your platform will create competition and benefit your customers. In this aspect, Windows CE is a clear winner.

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