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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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Why Read This Book?

If you haven't realized it yet, there's a wealth of programming information available for you to download from the Palm Computing Web site. You can download a complete reference guide to the Palm operating system in Adobe PDF format, suitable for online browsing or printing. You can also download tutorials and whitepapers, as well as tools and software development kits.

So why read this book? There are two reasons.

First, it's a concise introduction to Palm programming. While there's nothing stopping you from downloading the Palm reference guide (it's also included on the CD-ROM) and reading it from front to back, it's not the easiest way to learn about the platform. The reference guide presents too much information to be an overview, and the answers to many of the questions you ask yourself as a novice are either scattered throughout the document or else not addressed at all. This book covers the basics to get you started and then shows you where to go to get the information you need later on.

Second, this book introduces you to database programming for the Palm platform. Databases are a vital part of any organization, whether they are large relational databases or small desktop databases. Your applications need to interact with these external databases, to allow users to download and browse data on their Palm devices. If a user changes any of the information, those changes have to be uploaded back to the database. Writing programs that do all of this is quite a challenge because you need to know how to select and update data from an external database, how to write programs for the Palm platform, and how to synchronize the data between the device and the external database. The required combination of database programming experience, platform knowledge, and user interface design skills is rare. This book fills in the gaps you might have in any of those areas.

This book is not a guide to using your Palm device. There are several good books available that explain how to use a Palm device, and if you've never actually used one before, you should take some time to explore the device before you start programming it   it will make you a better programmer.

It's also important to note that this book is not a guide to conduit programming, either, although the topic is briefly discussed in Chapter 3. Conduits run on non-Palm platforms and are developed with a different set of tools  you can even develop conduits in Java instead of C++. But both Sybase and Oracle provide solutions for synchronizing data with an external database, and any conduit you write would really be duplicating their efforts. Data synchronization is a complicated problem, as you'll see in Chapter 7. You're probably already using third-party conduits such as EasySync or IntelliSync to synchronize the built-in applications with your desktop software, and this book assumes you'd rather use precanned database connectivity solutions, whether they be from Sybase, Oracle, or some other vendor.

Eric's Comments: Remember, only Chapters 1 through 5 are republished here.

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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.

If you find the material useful, consider buying one of my books, linking to this site from your own site or in your weblog, or sending me a note.

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