Avanade Tools Speed Mobile App Development
The Seattle-based joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and Accenture created the ACA Mobile tools to help developers reduce the time it takes to write mobile and embedded applications for Windows CE.Net.
The tool kit "hooks into Microsofts visual embedded tool and developer platform and provides reusable run-time services, so you dont have to redevelop [the services] for every project," said Eric Blankenburg, director of engineering at Avanade, in Seattle. "If you want to use SOAP [Simple Object Access Protocol] to hook into different Web services or you want to do peer-to-peer messaging, you can just use the services in ACA Mobile. They are already done, tested and proven," he added.
The tool kit and reusable software, broadly applicable across different types of mobile applications, include a built-in communications infrastructure for reliable messaging over HTTP. That capability is unique, claimed Blankenburg.
The tool kit also includes a SOAP tool kit for Windows CE that is peer-to-peer, an MSN Messenger tool kit for building MSN instant messaging applications, a configurable validation manager that allows validation of edit patterns and dependent values without coding, and support for creating offline Web applications. Avanade also built in management support for mobile devices based on the Microsoft Management Console and Windows Management Interface.
ACA Mobile is intended to speed the development of enterprise-critical mobile applications in a more cost-effective manner.
"You dont have to reinvent the wheel on every project, so you wind up with higher quality applications in a shorter time frame," said Blankenburg.
The tool kit has been tested with a variety of mobile devices that support Windows CE, including three or four different Pocket PCs, Compaq Computer Corp.s iPaq, Hewlett-Packard Co.s Jornada, and different handheld PCs from Fujitsu and others.
Avanade used the tool kit itself to create a hosted application that supports utility company field workers in Europe. The application, dubbed Field Force Enablement, allows mobile workers to use intermittently connected wireless devices to access business applications integrated with existing enterprise systems.