In the past few days, I've been playing with the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3 again, writing some Delphi 2005 applications for it (using the Delphi 2005 for .NET Compact Framework Technology Preview compiler).
Since I don't have a Pocket PC (or SmartPhone) of my own, I had to install the Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 Device Emulator, which installs just fine on Windows 2000 SP4 or XP SP1 (or later), but didn't seem to recognise the Windows 2003 (SP1) operating system on my laptop. Good thing it's a dual-boot machine (also featuring Windows 2000), but it was quite a surprise for me. I had the Windows CE 5.0 Device Emulator already up and running for my previous tests, but those were on an XP workstation (and now I needed my laptop, since I'll be on the road next week at EKon 9 in Frankfurt).
Anyway, once the Windows CE 5.0 Device Emulator is installed, you can install either the Pocket PC or the SmartPhone emulator image (or both, of course), but first you need to install the corresponding SDK. Without the SDK, the emulator image won't install. When you install the SDK, you get a warning that it couldn't find Microsoft eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 (and that you now need Visual Studio 2003 to write Pocket PC - or SmartPhone - apps). Since we can now use Delphi as well, it doesn't hurt to do a custom install of the SDK and uncheck the Visual C++ code samples.
Finally, when both the SDK and Emulator Image have been installed, you can start the emulator (with a long command-line, as described in the article by David Clegg for example). The Pocket PC 2003 Emulator image already contains the .NET Compact Framework, and the Delphi 2005 for .NET Compact Framework Technology Preview already comes with a number of precompiled .dcpil files, so for your first applications you do not even have to install the .NET Compact Framework on your development machine.
The hello world application that you see here on the right, is an example of something built on a Windows 2000 SP4 machine without the .NET Compact Framework, compiled using the Delphi 2005 (CF.NET) command-line compiler, and deployed in the Shared Folder.
If you want to build more complex application, you may want to install the .NET Compact Framework anyway, and import some of the additional assemblies so you can use these in your Delphi 2005 CF applications as well. Stefan Cruysberghs has written a very helpful article that shows how to do that (or where to find these additional assemblies). In this article - which can be seen as a continuation of the article of David Clegg - Stefan also gives an overview of the available Compact Framework components in the Windows Forms, Components and Dialogs categories, including missing properties, events and other issues.
In the meantime, my laptop is now fully configured, so I can continue my article about Delphi 2005 .NET Compact Framework Development for the november issue of The Delphi Magazine. If I encounter some more interesting things along the way, I'll let you know.