Syware announced version 8 of its Visual CE Version 8. The software is a major new release of this RAD environment for Windows Mobile & Pocket PC Devices. Designed for a wide range of applications, from patient tracking to field force automation, Visual CE Version 8 provides an array of mobile development tools.The latest release enhances the software with an emphasis on flexibility for both the developer and the mobile user. New features include a significantly expanded array of uses for variables, additional alarm functions, support for sounds and the creation of image maps, built-in support for 'one-click' bar code scanning using Socket's ultra-small In-Hand Scan Cards, and the ability to send SMS messages directly from within a database application.
With Visual CE 8, expanded support for variables provides a new level of flexibility for developers. Controls such as edit controls, radio buttons, command buttons, and jump buttons can now be connected to variables. This allows developers to create actions based on data not stored in the database, such as jumping to a new function based on data entered by a user.
Lookups, grids, and the content of dropdown menus can be keyed to variables. Variables can also be used in filter conditions, allowing developers to define a filter based on a value entered by the user. For instance, a developer can predefine a filter based on a department name specified when the form is run. When a store clerk uses the form, he can enter the department name and see only items in that particular department. Visual CE 8 now supports up to 100 variables per application.
Additional functions in Visual CE 8 provide a more flexible user experience. Alarms can now be set on records, such as to create a reminder to call a contact; the alarm can trigger a pop-up message that contains either data from a record or pre-defined, static text. In addition, buttons now support the handheld device's built-in array of sounds. This allows developers to incorporate an assortment of beeps and buzzes into forms.
The new Visual CE 8 also allows any bitmapped image to be placed on a button. Developers can arrange a series of such buttons in a particular sequence to create 'image maps'; clicking on a particular portion of the entire image can cause a specific action to occur. For instance, a physician can click on the forearm of an illustration of the human body to bring up a form for recording a patient's specific symptoms.
Visual CE 8 provides expanded functionality for bar code scanning. On top of the previously announced support for Symbol's PPT 2700 Pocket PC with integrated bar code scanner, Visual CE now supports Socket Communications' new line of In-Hand Scan Cards. Designed for applications requiring extensive data entry, such as inventory management, support for Socket's plug-in scanner cards allows developers to directly integrate scanning into their database applications. Quick and efficient, 'one-click', software triggers can be used to start bar code scans instead of the traditional, two-handed, manual process. Once the bar code data is scanned into Visual CE, reports can be created using Syware's Report CE, the printing and report writing software for Pocket PCs.
Visual CE 8 also supports SMS messaging on Pocket PC or Pocket PC Phone Edition devices. This means mobile users can send SMS messages directly from within a database application. For example, truck drivers can let building contractors know exactly when a particular shipment will arrive. Or forest rangers can send quick updates to the field office. No additional hardware is required for SMS messaging on Pocket PC Phone Edition devices. Pocket PC devices can use a GPRS card, or a Bluetooth or tethered connection to a regular cell phone.
Royalty-free distribution of Visual CE applications means developers can quickly deploy their programs throughout the company at a fraction of the cost of any other database program on the market. Integration with mEnable, SYWARE's breakthrough wireless architecture, extends handheld applications with real-time, interactive access to server data allowing mobile devices to be easily integrated with enterprise business processes. Visual CE also works in conjunction with Report CE, the world's only report writing tool for Windows CE and Pocket PC handhelds.
Visual CE 8 applications can be created on any Microsoft Windows Mobile, Windows CE, or Pocket PC handheld, as well as on any Windows-based desktop system. Visual CE Lite Edition is priced at US$79. Visual CE Personal Edition, with full forms design, relational database, and synchronization capabilities, is priced at US$129. Visual CE Professional Edition includes all the features of Personal Edition and royalty-free distribution rights; it is available for US$399. Visual CE Enterprise Edition includes all the features of the Professional Edition plus Syware's Report CE software and an mEnable license; it is priced at US$599.