Teaching your grandma to suck eggs?

Thanks for the responses on application types (see my last post). I’m still collecting data, so feel free to keep emailing me. The more information I have, the better!

Anyway, this week I spent a part of my time looking at the sorts of questions that crop on the mobile device developer newsgroups. Really, I wanted to see if some topics were more common than others, because obviously that is where more help is needed. As it turned out, there were three big spikes in my graph – a lot of people were looking for basic platform information, some help on controls, and asking about data and databases.

Tools and Platforms

Programmers new to the mobile platform have a bewildering array of information to grasp. Operating systems, platforms, development tools – sometimes it’s hard to know the answer to the simple question “I have this device, what do I need to make software for it?!”.


As you know, creating almost every type of application on a Smart Devices means knowing your User Interface controls inside out. You need to know the controls you have available, and how they work. You need to know their little endearing quirks, how the user can interact with them, and so on and so on. A lot of these questions could be answered with some good code examples, a brief explanation of UI design guidelines, and a pointer to the right place in the existing documentation.

Data and Databases

Time and again, the questions come down to “Do I need a database, or can I store the data my program needs in a file? If I use a file, what format should I use? If I need a database, how do I do it?”. In other words very sensible questions that effect the very core of a program’s design.


So, I’m now working on creating some documentation that will be aimed at programmers new to Pocket PC and Smart Phone development, and that addresses these questions. If you have any comments or vital information you think I should be including feel free to email me directly or add a comment to this entry. My entire job at the moment is helping you create some killer applications, so don’t me shy to tell me what you want!