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June 7, 2002

New Book Helps VB Programmers Port Their Skills to Palm OS: O'Reilly Releases "Programming Visual Basic for Palm OS"

Sebastopol, CA--The Palm is a sleek, streamlined platform. It doesn't come with a lot of frills. Palm programs typically do what they are supposed to do, and little more, which is what their users seem to like. Windows applications, on the other hand, are not streamlined. In fact, they tend to be feature-heavy and often contain more useful commands and options than the average user can ever discover exist. Given this, one might think that using Visual Basic for Palm applications is an unlikely choice, but it hasn't stopped the increasing number of VB programmers who are turning out well designed, powerful Palm applications written in their native VB. In Programming Visual Basic for Palm OS (O'Reilly, US $39.95), authors Matthew Holms, Patrick Burton and Roger Knoell introduce the AppForge add-in for Visual Basic, and explain how VB skills can be put to work in the flourishing handheld market.

As Holmes, Burton, and Knoell explain, "Over the past five years, the Palm PDA has zoomed to prominence as the handheld device of choice. In that time, the Visual Basic developer has been relegated to the sidelines--the Palm doesn't run the Microsoft Windows OS and its processor isn't based on a design from Intel." The AppForge Booster Runtime Software, an add-in for Visual Basic, has made it possible for VB programmers with little or no knowledge of the Palm platform to develop powerful programs within the VB development framework.

Says Burton, "It truly opens the door to the VB programmers who want to do Palm development. Until now, there's been a large learning curve involved in developing for the Palm, especially since historically it has had to be done in C/C++, and typically requires a pretty good understanding of C/C++ at that."

"VB on the Palm will take the Palm platform to the next level of development," Burton adds. "I think you'll start to see more and more applications appear as VB on the Palm takes off."

"Programming Visual Basic for Palm OS" provides complete coverage of the AppForge add-in. The book first explains user interface techniques for the Palm and how to program the Palm database model. It also covers the Palm programming environment, including how to download and use the necessary software development tools.

The second part of the book explores how to use VB programs to interface the Palm handheld with a variety of data systems. The chapter on conduits includes complete conduits built using Palm's COM-based VB development kit. Another chapter explains how to design and code SQL applications that interact with corporate database, yet also run effectively on the Palm. The Palm wireless network is discussed in detail.

The final third of the book covers interprocess communication and how to build shared libraries and portable components to extend the power of VB. There are examples showing how to access other applications, and a chapter on useful debugging tools and tips.

"Programming Visual Basic for Palm OS" focuses on the everyday needs of the VB enterprise developer and is filled with substantial examples. Written for Visual Basic programmers who have little or no knowledge of the Palm OS, this book provides a sound framework for application design, development and installation for the Palm handheld.

Additional resources:

Programming Visual Basic for Palm OS
By Matthew Holmes, Patrick Burton & Roger Knoell
ISBN 0-596-00200-9, 406 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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