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.NET Compact Framework Portal

The Microsoft .NET Compact Framework is a hardware-independent environment that supports building and running managed applications on resource-constrained computing devices. The .NET Compact Framework inherits the full .NET Framework architecture of the common language runtime and managed code execution, supports a subset of the .NET Framework class library, and contains classes designed exclusively for the .NET Compact Framework. The .NET Compact Framework supports Visual Basic and Visual C# development, but does not currently support C++ development.


.NET Compact Framework application development is supported in Visual Studio 2008, but not in Visual Studio 2010. The topics listed below link to Visual Studio 2008 documentation. To develop applications for Windows Phone OS 7.0 using Visual Studio 2010, see Windows Phone Development and Silverlight for Windows Phone.

Supported devices include personal data assistants (PDAs) such as the pocket PC, mobile phones, set-top boxes, automotive computing devices, and Windows Embedded CE devices.

The documentation listed below is located in the "Development Tools and Languages" section of the MSDN Library.

.NET Compact Framework How-to Topics

Provides links to code example topics and procedures in the .NET Compact Framework documentation.

What's New in the .NET Compact Framework

Summarizes features and capabilities introduced in the .NET Compact Framework.

Overview of the .NET Compact Framework

Describes the architecture of the .NET Compact Framework, differences between the .NET Compact Framework and the full .NET Framework, and .NET Compact Framework assemblies and files.

How to: Determine Supported Members in the Class Library

Provides procedures for filtering the class library to show the classes available in the .NET Compact Framework and explains how to determine support and versioning.

Application Development

Provides information about how to use the .NET Compact Framework with various technologies and device platforms.

External Resources

Provides information about external resources that will be helpful for application development.

.NET Compact Framework Samples

Contains downloadable samples that demonstrate .NET Compact Framework features and capabilities.

Programming for Devices Using the .NET Compact Framework

Provides information about developing smart device applications by using the .NET Compact Framework in Visual Studio.