I was one of the 2000+ attendees at the Third Annual (way up from the 300 and 700 folks who attended the previous two) Windows CE Developers Conference in San Jose, and I have to admit coming away pretty excited. (If you've got conference envy, you will probably still be able to view NetShow videos of the 38 conference sessions at www.microsoft.com/msdn/news/ windowsce.htm, as well as read a variety of technical articles about Windows CE 2.x programming in the May issue of Microsoft Systems Journal--www. microsoft.com/msj). You may also be able to access some of the PowerPoint presentation slides directly (e.g., www.microsoft.com/isapi/events/ event/menu.asp?s=19155&a=1 for an interesting presentation on Windows CE's own internal heap-based object store--one that OEMs can use to store configuration data, for example). Other database- related presentations covered ADO for CE (ADO is Microsoft's COM- based Active Data Objects API), including how to use it to copy and sync Access MDB or SQL Server data with Windows CE devices and how to program ActiveSync. Windows CE runs on a variety of devices including hand-held PCs and the more recent palm PCs. The latter have just begun hitting the market, and we'll undoubtedly have to wait another few years for Detroit to take full advantage of Windows CE in Auto PCs (e.g., for car navigation systems). Many vendors are actively investigating using CE in "real-time" applications ranging from telecom switches and set-top cable boxes to simple kiosk devices.

Microsoft sells several toolkits for the Microsoft Windows CE 2.0 operating system: the Windows CE Toolkit for Visual C++ 5.0 or Visual Basic 5.0 ($199), the Windows CE Embedded Toolkit for Visual C++ 5.0 ($499) and the Windows CE Toolkit for Visual J++ 5.0 will undoubtedly have emerged from beta by the time you read this. Be sure to check out the www. microsoft.com/windowsce site for beta software, updates and to subscribe to the WinCE Wire mailing list. Microsoft isn't the only vendor readying lean database solutions. Others include Sybase (www.sybase.com, Adaptive SQL Anywhere, which is also bundled with Symantec's Visual Café for Java Database Development Edition, SilverStream's namesake product, and a growing list of other products), Oracle (www.oracle.com, Oracle Lite), Object Design, Inc. (ObjectStore PSE Pro, a single-user ODBMS persistent storage engine), Pervasive Software (www. pervasive.com, Pervasive.SQL, Btrieve's descendant), Centura (www.centurasoft. com, formerly Gupta, SQLBase 7.0), InterBase (www.interbase.com, InterBase 5.0 with InterClient/InterServer) and Raima (www.raima.com, Raima Database Manager/CE). Most of these products are multithreaded, single-user database systems that offer Java bindings. Most cost a few hundred dollars for developer versions, with varying arrangements for deployment on CE devices.

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