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Rapid Development Using POSE, the Palm OS Emulator

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Developing for Palm developers just got a lot easier with the Palm OS Emulator (POSE). Learn how this handy tool can help with editing, compiling, and debugging without ever owning the actual handheld device.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

  • Where to Get POSE

  • ROM Images

  • Skins

  • Creating, Loading, and Saving POSE Sessions

  • Installing Applications and Databases

  • Taking Screenshots

  • Creating a Bound Copy of POSE

  • Advanced POSE Techniques

  • The OS 5 Simulator

If you've programmed for other computing platforms before, you might be starting to realize that developing for a handheld device such as Palm may be a bit more cumbersome than you are used to. After all, the well-known cycle of write a few lines of code, compile, debug is something most programmers are comfortable with. But in Palm development, your program runs on an external device, not your PC, right? So does that mean every time you make a change in your code you will have to install a new copy of your program to your handheld device just to see if it runs properly? And what about debugging? How does that happen when your program isn't even running on your PC? Thankfully, there is a solution, and it is part of the Palm OS development toolset.

The Palm OS Emulator, commonly referred to as POSE, "POSEr," or just "The Emulator," is a wonderful piece of software that provides an emulation of the Palm OS on Windows (a version also exists for Macintosh platforms) so that you can run, test, and debug your application without having to physically download it to a Palm device. POSE runs as a native Windows application, except that instead of the normal look and feel of a Windows app, POSE presents a screen and user interface that is a replica of the Palm OS. When you run POSE, you can do just about everything you can with a physical device, including working with the built-in applications (Datebook, Address Book, To Do, and so on) and running the calculator; even the hardware buttons are emulated properly. You can even perform a HotSync!

What this means for Palm developers is that for much of the normal software development cycle, most Palm OS applications can be tested and debugged on your PC using POSE, rather than having to download the program to the handheld. Note that no emulation is perfect, and there is no substitute for running your application on an actual device. But for most types of applications, having POSE eliminates the need to download to the device for a good portion of the software development process.

In this chapter, I describe how to use POSE during your Palm OS development. I also go beyond the basics of running your application in PC by describing some advanced techniques that will really help you get the most out of POSE. The next chapter builds on the concepts learned here by showing you how to debug a live application with the help of POSE.

Where to Get POSE

As of this writing, the latest Palm OS Emulator (POSE) version is 3.4, and new versions of POSE seem to appear every few months or so. This chapter describes the current capabilities of POSE, but please note that because new versions are being released all the time, you should frequently check the Palm OS Core Tools Update Web page (http://www.palmos.com/dev/tools/core.html) for the latest version of POSE (as well as for other development tools). At any given time there is a current "official" version available for download, as well as a "seed" version that is available for testing.

Although a version is installed as part of the Metrowerks CodeWarrior development toolset, POSE is also available as a standalone, free download. In fact, it is safe to assume that the version of POSE that came with your copy of CodeWarrior is already out of date. The best way to ensure you have the best available version of POSE is to frequently check the Palm OS Web site.

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