Page 1 of 1

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:31 pm
by siebrass
Hi Friends!
I want to buy a Palm handheld. The primary purpose is to use it to teach kids how to write Palm C (and possibly Visual Basic) programming on it. The "Palm One Tungsten E2" looks like a winner but Circuit City helpers couldn't assure me that it'll be programmable. Any suggestions/tips/hints would be greatly appreciated. I have never owned or used a handheld. Also, any good books for programming? I bought "Palm Programming for the Absolute Beginner" but haven't tried it obviously since I don't have one. One other thing, does anyone know a teacher already doing this?

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:50 pm
by mlambrigger
It's really cool to learn prog to kids, but why using a palm plateform??

I think it is more interesting to learn kids how to program in C on another plateform (PC for example).

If you want just learn kids how to develop code, you don't need a palm at all. You need an IDE (OrbForm for example) and the Palm Garnet Simulator (download it on

It is quite complicate to develop on Palm because it is not a computer like others. It is "just" a database if you see what I mean.

For the choice of the palm, The E2 is programmable as others. There some problem with the Treos and the 5 ways button. You can use a Z22 too. The difference in programming it is that this haven't the bluetooth.

But the real question is: what you want to do: programming for palm Handheld or programming on the palm handheld?

Marc Lambrigger

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:09 pm
by mgreen
Marc brings up an important question. What do you really want to do? Having programs that can run on the Palm is nice in that people can hold it in their hands. A Palm can be quite cheap (like the Z22). Pocket C is a good choice for programming in that it's simple, yet makes a lot of things easy to do on the Palm. You need to use Pocket Toolbox Library (see the Pocket C Resources web page) to make it easier to do user interface and graphics stuff. Truthfully, I do most of my Palm programming on a Macintosh with the Palm attached. I use a Mac editor to make up the program source and print it if I want, convert the source text to a Palm DOC database and use the Palm Emulator on the Mac to compile and test the program until it mostly works, then download the source to a real Palm (T5) for fine tuning. Under Windows, you can use the Pocket C Desktop for program editing and compilation and either the Palm Emulator or Simulator for testing. Advantages are mostly that you will have a real keyboard and large screen to work with. You can use an external keyboard with the Palm, but the small screen is hard to read and has limited space.
I would disagree with Marc about the Palm not being a computer like a PC. Like most modern computers and operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux), programming is now done using events and graphics as underlying assumptions.
One suggestion I would make is to look into using Scheme (a LISP derivative). There is an excellent Scheme interpreter for the Palm (called LispMe) as well as several Scheme interpreters for educational use for Windows, Linux, and the Mac (look up DrScheme). All are free and there are books with exercises available.

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 12:17 pm
by siebrass
Thanks so much for your response. I already teach Visual Basic.NET, C#.NET, ASP.NET, JavaScript and XHTML but just wanted to offer kids the opportunity utilize handheld devices and see what they could do. It's just an "extra".
I really appreciate the advice!!

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 7:19 pm
by mgreen
You might consider using PocketC Architect. The language is pretty much C with objects and the whole thing is event driven in a very straightforward way. You could use OrbForms on the PC desktop which has a built-in screen layout designer and test either with the Palm Emulator or Simulator or you could use the actual device for testing. If you get a TX, you could download using WiFi or Bluetooth. PocketC Architect uses the same language and library, but doesn't have a screen layout designer. It does have a compiler that runs on the desktop or on the Palm itself. You just have to layout the screen by hand and include the UI object declarations in your source code.