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Palm Database Programming — The Electronic Version

Chapter 1: Introduction

This material was published in 1999. See the free Palm OS Programming online course I developed for CodeWarriorU for some updated material.

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Chapter Summaries

The chapters in this book are meant to be read in sequence, since the later chapters will be hard to understand without the information presented in the earlier chapters.

Part One: Platform Basics

The first part introduces you to the Palm Computing platform. You'll learn about the hardware and the software in your Palm device and how to build applications for it.

Chapter 2, "What You Need to Know About Palm Devices", provides basic information on how the device works. This includes the hardware, the operating system, and the memory. Even if you're not very interested in the hardware, it's important to know something about the device because it affects what your programs can and cannot do. This chapter also shows you how to reset your device, which is a skill you should master before you start programming!

Chapter 3, "Development Tools and SDKs", introduces you to the set of development tools you'll need to master to do any programming. The Palm OS Software Development Kit, the CodeWarrior compiler, and the GCC compiler are covered, as well as the Palm OS Emulator, a key part of your programming arsenal. The chapter shows you how to use the tools to write new applications and how to debug those applications. It also presents the C and C++ programming issues that are specific to the platform.

Chapter 4, "Writing Palm Applications", explores how applications work and how to write them. Program launches, event processing, and user interface programming are all explained in depth. This includes the contexts in which your application gets started, how to perform long operations while keeping the device responsive, and how to build and use forms and dialogs to create a user interface. A skeletal application is developed, and on the CD-ROM you'll find an application called UI Test that demonstrates the various user interface options that are available. The user interface for the Phone Book sample is also developed in this chapter.

Part Two: Databases

The second part introduces you to Palm and relational databases. You'll learn the basics of what a database is, how to get data in and out, and how to interface to a database from C/C++.

Chapter 5, "Palm Databases", introduces the built-in database interfaces that are available on the Palm Computing platform. Palm database support is added to the Phone Book sample.

Chapter 6, "Relational Databases", introduces relational databases and the SQL query language. Tables and database design are covered, and you're shown how to get the data you want out of the database and how to update it. An evaluation version of Sybase's Adaptive Server Anywhere is included on the CD-ROM (installation instructions are in Appendix B) and is used to demonstrate the concepts.

Part Three: Database Applications

The third part shows you how to build database-centric applications. You'll learn how to combine what you learned in the first two parts with some exciting database technology to build Palm applications that know how to talk to external databases.

Chapter 7, "Data Synchronization", discusses what data synchronization is, why it's challenging, and strategies for synchronizing with external databases. The Time Book sample is used to demonstrate the challenges of data synchronization.

Chapter 8, "Sybase UltraLite", shows you how applications are built with UltraLite. A database model is designed to store the phone book information and the Phone Book sample is modified to use UltraLite.

Chapter 9, "Oracle Lite Consolidator", shows you how applications are built with the Consolidator. The Phone Book sample is modified to use the Consolidator.

Chapter 10, "Conclusion", wraps everything up.

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Copyright ©1999 by Eric Giguere. All rights reserved. From Palm Database Programming: The Complete Developer's Guide. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher. Please see the copyright and disclaimer notices for more details.

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