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AppForge's Crossfire Targets Multiplatform Development

.Net Framework tool creates Visual Basic Applications for a variety of mobile device platforms.

AppForge has developed a range of "Ingots"--controls that work in Windows while you are developing and also work on your target device. Most of the standard Microsoft controls have an Ingot functional equivalent; the Ingot list is installed into the IDE's toolbox when you install Crossfire. In my tests, Crossfire was very intuitive as it duplicated the same Windows VB.Net project-development method. I had no problems generating and debugging VB.Net programs in Visual Studio and downloading them to the Zire.

Crossfire requires a significant amount of storage space. With the Palm OS, AppForge installed more than 1 MB of programs just for libraries. If you're distributing a single app, 1 MB of memory is too much, but if you're deploying a large number of apps, the storage use may be justified because those apps would reuse the support libraries. If you deploy five or more applications, the overall space used would be roughly equivalent to the space you'd consume if you developed using PDA vendors' libraries.

Good
  • Targets multiple mobile device platforms
  • Utilizes VB.Net language and VS.Net environment
  • Offers a wide range of controls
  • Has enough functionality in Booster to reduce multiple-app deployment overhead
  • Bad

  • No support for Visual C#
  • No support for standard enterprise databases
  • No support for standard Internet graphic formats
  • Per-seat fee for enterprises
  • APPFORGE CROSSFIRE 5.0, $1,000. AppForge, (800) 637-5740, 678-686-9000. www.appforge.com
    AppForge charges no royalties. However, there's an annual $500 fee for redistributing Booster if you're an independent software vendor, and there's a per-seat licensing scheme for enterprises.

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