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Palm Development with MobileVB : Page 2

Now, in version 3.5, MobileVB is a well thought-out add-in for VB6 that alleviates the drawn-out development process and makes Palm OS programming a viable option for even novice VB programmers.


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Figure 2: Access to a variety of new controls on the General tab.
MobileVB Controls
When you create a Palm OS project, MobileVB creates a blank form with the correct size for a Palm OS device. You may be tempted to begin developing a project by dragging and dropping the intrinsic VB controls, as you would normally do with a traditional Visual Basic project. But if you look further, you will see an entirely new set of controls in the General tab of your toolbox (See Figure 2). It is with these newly available controls (AppForge calls them Ingots) that you will devise your interface and construct your project.

Often, these controls provide a greater set of functions than their VB counterparts, making them much more powerful than the intrinsic controls. Table 1 details the MobileVB controls:

Table 1: Sorting out the MobileVB Ingots (controls).

MobileVB Control Name

What it does...



AFTextBox

Like its VB counterpart

AFComboBox

Reads textual input and/or prompts the user to select an item from a menu

AFListBox

Displays a list of varying size and content; the user can select one or more of the items in the list box to provide input

AFGrid

Displays text in a spreadsheet-like control from which the user can select one or more grid elements to provide input

AFLabel

Used like the standard VB label control

AFGraphicButton

Provides standard button options but can display a picture instead of a shape

AFButton

Similar to the VB CommandButton control

AFCheckBox

Provides a True/False option

AFRadioButton

Provides the option of selecting exactly one item from a list of items

AFGraphic

Displays graphics on the screen; uses the MobileVB Graphic Converter to create a proprietary .rgx or .jpg image

AFShape

Draws rectangles, squares, circles, and ovals

AFFilmstrip

Animates a series of graphics on the screen

AFMovie

Displays a movie on the screen after it has been converted from AVI to RMV

AFHScrollBar

Places a horizontal scrollbar on the form

AFVScrollBar

Places a vertical scrollbar on the form

AFSlider

Allows user input or output based on magnitude.

AFTone

Plays simple musical tones

AFScanner

Provides barcodes scanning in a variety of formats

AFSerial

Sends and receives data through a serial port

AFInetHTTP

Connects to the Internet

AFSignatureCapture

Reads signatures, stored as String data, for user input

AFClientSocket

Provides a variety of functions for performing socket-based communication

Sprite Field

Controls sprites and receives events during game progress

Sprite Control

A non-visual Ingot that eases sprites

AFTimer

Like the standard Timer, used to execute code at intervals


The VB IDE can become cluttered with the new controls, so if you prefer, you can create a new tab to which you can copy the MobileVB Ingots. To create the MobileVB tab, right-click on the General tab, select Add Tab and then name the new tab. Notice the small yellow letter "i" that allows you to distinguish between standard controls and MobileVB controls. You can now move the MobileVB controls by dragging and dropping them to the new tab.

The remaining IDE, including the Form Layout window, Property window, Project Explorer, and menus, continues to function as you would expect, although MobileVB adds an additional AppForge-specific menu with the following functions (Table 2).

Table 2: AppForge adds another menu with specific functionality to the Visual Basic IDE.

AppForge-specific Menu Item

What it does...

Database Converter

Converts Microsoft Access database tables to the Palm Database (.pdb) format and generates a VB code module for the database, providing an interface for accessing and modifying the Palm Database

PDB Database Viewer

Displays the internal schema and data records in the Palm Database file. Also displays other useful information, including the internal database name, CreatorID, and TypeID of the database, and the number of records in the database

Font Converter

Converts TrueType fonts (ttf) into AppForge fonts (cmf)

Font Viewer

Displays the properties and characters for AppForge fonts

Graphic Converter

Converts bitmap files (bmp) into AppForge graphic files (rgx).

Graphic Viewer

Allows you to view AppForge graphic files (rgx)

Movie Converter

Converts AVI movies to AppForge movie files (RMV)

Movie Viewer

Allows you to view RMV movies

Universal Conduit Configuration

Configures a conduit for your application

Compile and Validate

Compiles and checks code for error

Deploy to Device

Uploads a compiled project to a handheld device

AppForge Settings

Applies the settings for an AppForge project

Open Project

Opens AppForge projects

Zoom Level

Opens a Zoom window, allowing you to view forms in a larger format




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