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Database Development on Mobile Devices Improves

  • May 30, 2002
  • By Developer.com Staff
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Just a few years go, handheld and mobile devices started to enter the market. In the mid 90s I created a mobile application for tracking information about a number of projects I was working on. The tools I had available for building this mobile application were rough, and the database support was virtually non-existent beyond flat files.

That was over five years ago and in half a decade a lot can change. Today, mobile devices and PDAs have a variety of data solutions that can be used. This includes a number of scaled down versions of enterprise-level databases.

While you may not have heard of iAnywhere Solutions, if you've worked with databases, then you have probably heard of Sybase. iAnywhere Solutions is a subsidiary of Sybase that has several products aimed at mobile development. This includes SQL Anywhere Studio. According to Gartner's Dataquest, in 2000 68% of the market for mobile databases was using SQL Anywhere Studio. If you look at some of the details of SQL Anywhere Studio, it is easy to see why there is an interest in the product.

SQL Anywhere Studio contains a number of features for developing applications on mobile devices. One such feature is Adaptive Server Anywhere, a mobile and embedded database management system (DBMS). This is a full-featured DBMS that supports single and multi-user applications. Additionally, it supports bi-directional synchronization across a number of communication methods including dial-up, synchronous, asynchronous, wireless, and internet protocols.

One of the features that helps the DBMS stand out is its UltraLite deployment option. One of the biggest issues with mobile handheld and other embedded devices is the lack of memory. With the UltraLite deployment, you can actually have database support in under 50kb. This means that devices such as Palms, Pocket PC devices or even smartphones will be able to use the DBMS.

Today iAnywhere Solutions, announced expanded support to access data on mobile devices to a number of additional programming languages. In the past, iAnywhere supported development using Java, C, C++, and embedded SQL. Today it was announced that support for Visual Basic, Appforge, eMbedded VB, ActiveX and JNI (Java Native Interface) are all being added to the product.

iAnywhere Solutions also announced today that the new product will contain an expansion of the UltraLite Component Suite. This expansion will evolve the ability to use a DBMS on handheld devices one step farther. UltraLite will contain

  • An ActiveX control for use with Embedded Visual Basic or InternetExplorer.

  • A Java class library developed for the Insignia Jeode Java VMrunning on Windows CE.

  • The AppForge Ingot that can be used with the AppForge add-in to Visual Basic.

Where as just half a decade ago you would be primarily using flat files on mobile and small footprint devices, today you can get DMBS support in under 50kbDBMS support that can be accessed from almost any key development tool or environment.

The UltraLite beta is publicly available. If you are nterested, you can join the beta program as well as register for the June 20th Webcast by going to www.iAnywhere.com/ultralitebeta.

Pricing and general availability for the expanded UltraLight Component Suite will be announced in the second half of 2002.

About iAnywhere Solutions

iAnywhere Solutions, a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc., is a provider of mobile, wireless, embedded and workgroup solutions that enable anywhere, anytime access to enterprise information. More than six million users at over 10,000 customer sites worldwide rely on iAnywhere Solutions to power solutions that help to improve productivity, streamline operations and create new revenue streams. Visit www.ianywhere.com for more information.

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