Summary: Make .NET CF the same as desktop .NET
As things stand, .NET CF is a subset of the full .NET plus a few extra features relevant to mobile devices.There are actually three modes of use of .NET:
One advantage of .NET , besides the access to .NET libraries, on Windows CE devices (which is multi-CPU) is that you generally don't need to rebuild for different CPUs. It would be even better if desktop .NET applications (with no PInvoke) could seemlessly run on Windows CE devices. In the past the argument was that .NET CF needed to be compact because of storage limitation. That is no longer the case.
So my pitch is:
How about a light version of .NET that runs on Windows 7 desktops and Windows CE devices seemlessly. The server aspects of .NET could be stripped.
When you now create a desktop ,NET application, you already have the ability to use a lighter weight version of .NET (without such things as ASP.NET). So how about a version that would seemlessly run can both systems?
Did you know that you could run .NET CF apps on the desktop provided CE specifics are not used (was available from version 1 or 2 of .NETCF) . Just build a .NET CF app in Visual Studio, for say, CE 5 target, then run the app from the project's bin directory on the desktop!
Thanks for the comment Sam.I was thinking some more about this. If you have Java enabled on a desktop and CE device then Java apps would run on both. So why not a version of .NET that would do likewise? Applications would be limited to ones that don't depend upon specific hardware. As an example, a calculator that could run on either platform. Maybe the way forward would be to build apps, such as the calculator, as .NET CF and run them on the dektop as above. So a set of widgets could be developed for both platforms...Need to explore the limits of running .NET CF application on a Windows desktop.
David,I think large percentage of the application development community associate .NET Compact Framework as a development platform for Windows Mobile device, and not invest the time/effort to explore further.Perhaps, a community based .NET Compact Framework utility application that is useful for the Windows CE, Windows Mobile and the desktop Windows can help raise this awareness.... A Cross-platform application that can run on Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.