It was a great development topic at the .net user group meeting in Missisauga last night.
The .Net Compact Framework combined with Visual Studio.net 2003 is far and away the best development platform for Enterprise handheld apps.
Sql Server CE is super easy to use for handheld data storage and web services and other http access is ridiculously easy to set up.
The only thing I was hoping to hear about and it is just not available, I suppose, is a server based “Push” architecture to get data to the handheld WITHOUT REQUIRING A SYNC.
The only server/device architecture that has this so far is Blackberry with the BES/MDS.
I suppose it would be a really cool C# app to write a web services based Push technology for the device that could be utilized by any app on the device. It would be a combination of server based service that could be called by apps wanting to push data to devices, as well as a service that the device calls on a pre-defined schedule for retrieving the data waiting for it and sending newly updated data down to the server.
This idea only works for wirelessly connected devices, since you don’t want to have to push “sync” on those, but since that is becoming the norm with 802.11 and GPRS/CDMA networks emerging.