Palm OS

Blog from your Palm with u*Blog

Fairly recently entered into the dictionary - if there at all - is the word "moblogging". Essentially it is the verb meaning to blog via a mobile device; a PDA, phone and so on, with bonus geek-cred if you're on the move skateboarding with your open-source buddies between free wifi spots or something similar.

Of course typing your life's work in a 2-mm screen with half-assed 1 kb per hour £10 a minute Internet access is a little fiddly. Hence specific software exists to aid the production of blog entries without requiring a full-on web browser. For those of you using a Palm OS device that can access the web directly - a Treo, Lifedrive, TX and so on - the Poorhouse would like to recommend u*Blog.

Syncing from Palm tasks to MS Access

Next up, the Poorhouse wanted to try some 2-way sync action with the Palm task (aka todo) list.

Being slightly familiar with MS Access, it was decided we'd sync the Palm tasks to an Access equivalent. Hopefully this would provide a good framework to sync them to anything else, as just the code involving the Access API would need to be replaced.

First we needed some synchronisation logic. Some methodology is required so that the sync works; tasks added in either database are added to the other, same with deletion and editing. Moreover, the correct action needs to be done - if two records don't match, which one do we go with?

Running your first conduit

Once your environment is all set up, now we can try out a test conduit to make sure all is well. If so, you will be ready to start developing your own conduits.

A good test conduit called "SimpleDB" is provided as a sample with the CDK. This is an example of a conduit that interacts with memos. Rather than syncing your memos between Palm and Desktop, this one will display a form and allow you to search for the count of memos that include a certain word. Possibly not the most useful thing to do, but if it works you will know your conduit development is ready for you to use to make something that is the most useful thing to do.

Setting up the Palm conduit programming environment

To start developing your own conduits, first you will probably want to get the Conduit Development Kit, which gives you the libraries to interact relatively easily with your Palm. It is freely available from here PalmSource's Palm OS Developer Program, although you will need to register on that site (for free) first. There are currently two versions of the program for Windows (and one for Macs), 4.03 and 6.01. I went for 6.01.

Download and install. Also get any updates / bug fixes from that page, and install as appropriate.

Programming Palm conduits

In a particulary geeky manoeuvre, the Poorhouse has decided to learn the arcane technique of building a conduit to interface between Windows and a PDA running the Palm OS. Conduits are the type of software that ensure that your lovely shiny palmtop and desktop PC synchronise such that they have the same contacts, memos, events, news and so on.

It didn't turn out to be the simplest of tasks; the documentation for getting started didn't seem to make the early steps trivial at all. As such, this section will detail a few notes about how I got started in case either I need to do it again, or anyone else is in a similar situation.

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