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Thread: Classic VB - Can I use VB6 to make a program for mobile phones/PDA's?

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    Super Moderator si_the_geek's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Bristol, UK

    Classic VB - Can I use VB6 to make a program for mobile phones/PDA's?

    Unfortunately you can't use VB6 as it is not compatible with any of the operating systems on the devices, but there are other options.

    Most mobile phones use Java based operating systems, while a few have Microsoft Smartphone software (basically a smaller cut-down version of Windows).

    Many PDA's (but not all) use cut-down versions of Windows.

    For devices with Microsoft operating systems you can use other variations of VB (or other Microsoft development tools), your options are:
    • Embedded Visual Basic (eVB)
      Unfortunately this is no longer available, even if you have an MSDN subscription. If you do not have eVB already (as part of the "Embedded Visual Tools 3" package), you will not be able to use it.

      If you know how to use Classic VB (VB6/VB5/..), you will be able to use eVB. It is a separate piece of software which looks similar to VB, but is actually VB-Script (so missing a few features, your programs will run slowly, and it is hard to debug {as shown here}).

      This is only supported by devices with operating systems from 2003 and earlier, so is unlikely to work for newer devices.

      These limitations mean that it is unlikely to useful for you, except for perhaps personal use with an 'old' device. It was free to download from Microsoft, but is now not available at all. Another bad point is that the emulator (to run the app on your desktop computer) does not like Windows XP SP2, and you may not be able to make it work!

    • A .Net language (such as VB.Net), with the Compact Framework
      This is the current offering from Microsoft, and is capable of producing much more proffesional software than eVB. To use this you will need to have a .Net language, and the compact framework.

      You can use the Compact Framework for recent OS's, such as: Pocket PC 2000+, Windows Mobile 2003+ (for PocketPC or Smartphone), Windows Mobile Version 5.0 or later (for PocketPC or Smartphone), and Windows CE 4.1+

      I have personally not used this option, but according to the Microsoft web site you need Visual Studio .NET 2003 (or later) Professional Edition (or higher).

      There is also a 'free' option, which unfortunately takes much more effort, as shown in Windows Mobile Development Without Visual Studio

    Most mobile phones use non-Microsoft (often Java based) operating systems, which means that the options above are not valid for those devices.. To find out what options you have, it would be best to check out the web sites of the major phone manufacturers (such as Nokia, Siemens, etc), as they all have developers areas which are likely to provide all of the information you need.

    Useful downloads
    (note that the exact locations of these items may change over time, but a search at Microsoft.com should find them if this happens)
    (thanks to RobDog888 and y2khines for providing these links!)

    If you have any further questions related to mobile phone/pda development (using eVB or .Net), it would be best to ask in our Mobile Development forum.
    Last edited by si_the_geek; Jan 27th, 2010 at 12:00 PM. Reason: added 'without VS' link

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