Tablet PC Frequently Asked Question in VB.NET

This article answers some of the frequently asked questions related to Tablet PC and Tablet PC application development.
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What is Tablet PC?

The Microsoft Tablet PC is a personal computer powered by Windows XP that is designed for ink-enabled, pen-enabled, and speech enabled applications.

Why do I want to use Tablet PC

The combination of hardware and software provides rich ink-enabled, pen-enabled, and speech-enabled environment to run these applications. One good example of Tablet PC is a doctor operation theater where the doctor can't use a mouse but can use speech to instruct the operating system to browse and update the patient's data.

Do I need Tablet PC to develop Tablet PC Applications?

No. You can develop Tablet PC applications on Windows XP and Windows 2000 operating systems. You have to install Tablet PC SDK to support Tablet PC components.

What is Tablet PC SDK?

Tablet PC SDK is the software development kit provides all the components required to develop Tablet PC applications. Currently, Tablet PC SDK has two version - 1.5 and 1.1. You can download these versions from the following URLS:

  1. Tablet PC SDK 1.5 
  2. Tablet PC SDK 1.1

After downloading the SDK, you can install it by double clicking the installers and follow the instructions on the installer.

What Languages can I use to write Tablet PC Applications?

You can use Visual C++ and Visual Basic for unmanaged applications and any .NET language for managed applications including C# and Visual Basic .NET. You can use Visual Studio and Visual Studio .NET to write Tablet PC applications.

Can I run my existing Windows Application on Tablet PC?

Yes. Any application that runs on Windows XP machine will run on Tablet PC. Actually, a Tablet PC application is a normal Windows application with some extra pen, ink, and speech enabled features.

What is Managed Library in Tablet PC SDK?

Using Tablet PC SDK, you can write two types of applications - managed and unmanaged. Managed applications are written using .NET framework. This code runs under the supervision of common language runtime (CLR), which managed the life cycle of the code. Managed applications are usually written using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and .NET languages including C# and Visual Basic .NET.
Unmanaged applications are written using non .NET classes. This is the old way (prior to .NET) to write applications where programmers have to manage the life cycle of applications in their code. Unmanaged applications are usually written using Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual C++ and MFC.

Where can I get documentation, tutorials, and samples on Tablet PC?

Tablet PC SDK contains good documentation and over a dozen sample applications. Samples directory in Tablet PC SDK folder contains all the samples. Many of these samples also support managed code written using C#, VB.NET and C++. If you browse through a sample application root directory, you will see sub folders under it such as C# and VB.NET. As you can guess, C# folder contains C# project and VB.NET folder contains VB.NET project. To open this project in Visual Studio .NET, you simply double click on the sln file.

Which language should I choose between C# and VB.NET to write managed Tablet PC applications?

In managed world, languages play a very little role. It depends of what language you are comfortable with writing applications. For example, if you are from a VB 6.0 background and do not want to learn new language, you may want to continue with VB.NET but if you are from a Java or C++ background, you will find C# a familiar and easy to adopt language. If you do not have any previous background, you might want to start learning C# because C# is the default language to write managed applications. In coming years, you will see Microsoft pushing C# more than any other language and you can find more samples and help on C# than other languages. Plus rates of C# programmers are higher than VB.NET ;). If you are new to C#, you can start learning C# language on our C# Language section.

Are there any good books on Tablet PC Programming using .NET?

Here is a list of some good Tablet PC books.

What is Windows XP Tablet PC Edition?

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is a version of Windows XP designed to work on Tablet PC and contains all Tablet PC components such as support for ink, pen, and speech.


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