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Data2go's Rapport makes move to mobile easy

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Turning old business applications into shiny new mobile ones just got easier, according to Data2go, a UK software tools builder.

Its Rapport development environment, which received full Microsoft product certification last week, enables developers to re-cast existing business applications for the mobile age.

"The main premise of Rapport is that there are different things you need to consider when building mobile applications - such as signal drop outs or the loss of a connection. Rapport handles all of the underlying tasks so the developer can forget about them. You can just drag and drop items into the application using Rapport's graphical user interface," explains Matthew Disney-Cook, technical director at Data2go.

Rapport has two components - a Windows Mobile 5, a client and a server side component. The server component acts as a 'gateway' process which provides a set of web services to the business applications. The web services are specifically designed to operate in a mobile environment and are deployed on Windows 2003 Servers.

Applications are constructed using Visual Studio and the Rapport Advanced Developer Toolkit (ADT). The toolkit use a Domain specific language (DSL) which generates C# code within Visual Studio to compile the final application. Developers can enhance the generated code to suit their needs, so they are not restricted by the code produced by Rapport.

Disney-Cook says the real breakthrough with Rapport is its graphical interface which, he says, makes converting existing applications to a mobile environment a relatively simple task. At the same time, the ability to add extra code gives developers the broadest level of flexibility.

"We have built in all the things we know about, but we can't solve every problem a developer is likely to come across. But if you want to get down to the code level and add in your own extensions you can." ®

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