While client- and server-side development is currently dominated by the Visual Basic and Java programming languages, there is no question that mobile development, particularly for PDAs, is still a C/C++ world. There are a number of reasons for this, but primary has been the lack of high-quality alternatives. Languages such as Java and Visual Basic (via Microsoft eMbedded Visual Basic or AppForge) are clearly better for rapid prototyping, but they're newcomers to the PDA party, with production-quality tools only beginning to appear in 2001. Meanwhile, Palm programmers have relied on the Metrowerks CodeWarrior IDE for years, while Windows CE developers have used Visual C++ for Windows CE since the platform was introduced.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Microsoft has now packaged Visual C++ and Visual Basic for Windows CE into their eMbedded Visual Tools product. Best of all, they've made these tools freely available (click here to get a copy). In this article, I'm going to build a fairly straightforward Pocket PC application using eMbedded Visual C++ in order to step through the primary features of the product. For the sake of comparison, I'll follow up this article with another article showing the same app built using eMbedded Visual Basic.