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Windows Mobile Development


hopmedic
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I am a fairly unpolished developer, have done some mobile development in a manufacturing setting, and would like to try my hand at developing a Geocaching application for Windows Mobile devices. I realize that there is a WinMo app out there that does not meet the terms of use, but I do not know why, nor how I can access the web site from within an application, without violating the terms. Are there APIs out there that can be accessed without violating the terms? Is there development support somewhere to assist with questions I may have accessing those APIs?

 

Thanks,

 

Rich

Edited by hopmedic
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I am a fairly unpolished developer, have done some mobile development in a manufacturing setting, and would like to try my hand at developing an application for Windows Mobile devices. I realize that there is a WinMo app out there that does not meet the terms of use, but I do not know why, nor how I can access the web site from within an application, without violating the terms. Are there APIs out there that can be accessed without violating the terms? Is there development support somewhere to assist with questions I may have accessing those APIs?

 

Thanks,

 

Rich

 

The short answer is you cannot. Access to the Groundspeak API is not open to the public, only to Groundspeak's "Trusted Partners".

 

For accessing the web site, directing someone to a single geocache page from your program - as in calling up the page in Opera Mobile or Pocket Internet Explorer is (IMHO) acceptable but repeatedly accesing the site to form a list of caches for example is not.

 

If you write your application to work with Pocket Queries instead of live data you should be fine.

Glad to see another Windows Mobile developer stepping forward with a plan, I hope this motivates Groundspeak to rethink their current stance on the platform.

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There are several applications out there that use pocket queries, so I would be duplicating their efforts. Is there a way to become a trusted partner?

 

I have not personally seen the iPhone application, as I am on my third WinMo phone, and my wife just bought her first, but what I used to do was drive around with my laptop tethered to my phone, until I got close enough to walk, then get out of the car, find the cache, go back to the car and log my find. I would like to be able to do all this without the laptop. I know I can use the wap website, and in fact I can use the full site on Opera Mobile, but it would be far more convenient to do like the banned software does (which I would expect the iPhone application does) and have it pull the data from the site (without violating terms), integrate with Google Maps, and the phone's GPS, and be able to log all in one app, carrying only one device.

 

Anyone from Groundspeak have any comments for me?

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There are several applications out there that use pocket queries, so I would be duplicating their efforts. Is there a way to become a trusted partner?

 

I suspect the answer to this would be, find a way to give lots of recurring funding to Groundspeak. Their "Trusted Partners" are companies like Trimble and Jeep. Lots of Windows Mobile developers been demanding requesting access to the API but are met with the famous Groundspeak Wall-of-Silence®.

 

Good luck!

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I am not Groundspeak, nor am I a big company or anything. I'm just a guy who works for a big company... But I don't understand the logic behind this. Wouldn't this make Geocaching (their bread and butter) more accessible? If someone like me (has a WinMo Phone) does a search to see what neat apps are out there for his phone, and finds one for GC, doesn't that increase their exposure to the world, and thereby more subscribers? Was that thought not at least considered in making the decision to create an iPhone app?

 

I'm not looking to take over Groundspeak. I just want to make it more accessible - or perhaps help someone else in doing so.

 

Someone from Groundspeak, please comment.

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99999999977

 

Has to be mentioned, we just pummeled the stuffing out of this rather dead horse in another thread. Groundspeak isn't going to comment here, and they sure aren't going to bow down to your requests for "Someone from Groundspeak". They almost completely ignored a near riot with a bunch of cachers threatening to cancel their premium memberships and quit caching and such.

 

This thread should probably be moved over into that one by the PTB.

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....I am on my third WinMo phone...

 

WinMo "7" is on the horizon. It makes a large leap from the WinMo of old. I suspect they cut out a lot features and power of the mobile OS.

 

If the leap is big enough the old WinMo apps will be broken and as the best of them (that i used, there could and likely are others) are no longer supported or updated. There is likely room in 7 for your efforts even if they are PQ based.

 

I'm not sure what the android app developers do but I'm messing with 4 applications that work with this site or pocket queries. Some of them have you log into this site. Some of them work with PQ's and some of them seem to do both. You could contact them and see how they work their magic in getting the data that make it all possible.

 

As for me as a user, I'm not sure it matters who developes my interface with the website. Chrome, Opera, Firevox, Safari, IE 6,7,8 or even Netscape... All are merely programs that let you access your account. I'm hard pressed to see why you can't use that angle to let WinMo users access their accounts, PQ's and look things up and export the information we already export into maps and such. You wouldn't be doing it. Just providing a tool.

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99999999977

 

Has to be mentioned, we just pummeled the stuffing out of this rather dead horse in another thread. Groundspeak isn't going to comment here, and they sure aren't going to bow down to your requests for "Someone from Groundspeak". They almost completely ignored a near riot with a bunch of cachers threatening to cancel their premium memberships and quit caching and such.

 

This thread should probably be moved over into that one by the PTB.

 

I slogged through half that thread and never actually saw what the program did that caused the ban due to the TOS. Of course deleting all mention of it didn't help figure out what the real problem was.

 

This thread is fine. The OP wants to know what they can and can't do. They have taken the right steps and the only problm is they don't know who to contact at Groundspeak to ask the question so they came to the forum.

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The official answer if you want a response from Groundspeak is to mail "contact@Groundspeak.com".

 

That said, we've heard of nobody other than Trimble actually getting access to any API.

 

RK, you gave up too soon. Groundspeak's legal counsel weighed in on that thread here:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...t&p=4199431 But let's not cross the streams about existing apps considered to be naughty and (yet another) request for API access which is what OP seems to be asking.

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WinMo "7" is on the horizon. It makes a large leap from the WinMo of old. I suspect they cut out a lot features and power of the mobile OS.

 

If the leap is big enough the old WinMo apps will be broken and as the best of them (that i used, there could and likely are others) are no longer supported or updated. There is likely room in 7 for your efforts even if they are PQ based.

 

Early reports from Mobile World Congress, where Windows Phone 7 Series was announced this week is that backward compatibility has been maintained, but developers will want to update their code to take advantage of Windows Phone 7's new UI, with the tiles. So developing for Windows Mobile 5/6 will likely be portable to Windows Phone 7, just as PocketPC (and Windows Palm Sized Computer) apps have been portable to this point. In other words, the rumours that Microsoft had completely lost their collective minds appear to be untrue and this is going to be one heck of a great platform when it launches. Developer details for Windows Phone 7 should be revealed at MIX 2010, around mid March.

 

I'm not sure what the android app developers do but I'm messing with 4 applications that work with this site or pocket queries. Some of them have you log into this site. Some of them work with PQ's and some of them seem to do both. You could contact them and see how they work their magic in getting the data that make it all possible.

 

Most likely scraping the website like our beloved app that can't be mentioned.

The one thing that we do have to keep in mind with Android is that Groundspeak is planning to release their own *official* app in Q1 of this year while leaving us Windows Mobile types to fend for ourselves.

 

What we ARE missing on the platform is a PQ based application that is designed for touchscreen devices - as in targetted for the Windows Mobile 6.5.3 interface elements and usable without a stylus (and without using the tip of your fingernail). The unnamed application is pretty good for that, but we can go one better and remove all clicking on menus - ever drop your stylus in a foot of snow and you'll know why I'm thinking this would be a good thing [:)]

 

Cachemate is a great application based on PQs but the UI is way back at PocketPC 2002, I'd love to see a fresh modern UI update for this, or a similar program.

 

While you're at it, I'd love to see a Waymarking.com option for taking photos and marking their locations against POIs ....

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... we've heard of nobody other than Trimble actually getting access to any API....
Hm... how deep into the GC.com site does DeLorme's CacheRegister (and GC's own iPhone app) have to go to log into a user's account and pull PQ's down directly? I imagine not as far as the existing Garmin & DeLorme plugins for "Send To GPS" do. But they must have SOME inside access to work, don't they? Edited by lee_rimar
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Good point, Lee. I'd mentally bucketed (perhaps incorrectly) CR as a Groundspeak co-development, but you're probably right that Delorme does indeed have some kind of third party access for CacheRegister and Garmin probably has some magic for https://my.garmin.com/geocaching/geoSearch.htm

 

I'm not sure the plugins have special access as much as a handshake about data thrown over a fence. Garmin has a public API for their plugin, described at http://developer.garmin.com/web-device/gar...nicator-plugin/ It looks like sendtogps.aspx is "just" a cache page (complete with 11K of aspx viewstate goo) that's formatted to be easily machine-read by the included javascript that calls the plugin that talks to the hardware. I don't know if Delorme publishes their API to the plugin, but the Javascript in that page looks pretty straight-forward.

 

So there apparently is some kind of API with more users than just Trimble. It just seems to be a very hard club to get into...

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maybe the OP, or the developer of "The App That Shall Not Be Named" could work with Groundspeak, to create an OFFICIAL app for Windows Mobile.

 

Groundspeak could charge for it, and everyone will be happy.

 

I would not mind being a part of such a project. Time is what I'm short on right now, but I would love to do something like this. I do wonder about the irony of there being no public API for geocaching.com, and yet they make such extensive use of Google's public APIs.

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maybe the OP, or the developer of "The App That Shall Not Be Named" could work with Groundspeak, to create an OFFICIAL app for Windows Mobile.

 

Groundspeak could charge for it, and everyone will be happy.

 

I would not mind being a part of such a project. Time is what I'm short on right now, but I would love to do something like this. I do wonder about the irony of there being no public API for geocaching.com, and yet they make such extensive use of Google's public APIs.

 

One difference between Google and GC is that GC's business model is its database while Google the business model is the click on an advertisers page. The other difference, and this is pure speculation, is that there might be contractual language that prevents GC from sharing the API's publicly, i.e., Trimble paid for the development so they get to say who can share the API's. The other could be GC just does not want the increased load on the servers that public API's would cause. Or it could be none of these.

Edited by jholly
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One difference between Google and GC is that GC's business model is its database while Google the business model is the click on an advertisers page. The other difference, and this is pure speculation, is that there might be contractual language that prevents GC from sharing the API's publicly, i.e., Trimble paid for the development so they get to say who can share the API's. The other could be GC just does not want the increased load on the servers that public API's would cause. Or it could be none of these.

These are good points. I won't agree with the last one - server load - because we can only speculate on that one. Yes, numbers will increase, but data size sent per query will decrease - you are looking at mobile devices, afterall, and users will want faster download times, and therefore smaller amounts of data. The overall load could go either way, and to argue otherwise is IMHO, pointless.

 

As for business model, I'm not a business man, so I'm not going to try to say I know anything about it. I will say that my thoughts are that Google gets its money from ads, yes, and GS from ads, subscriptions, and trackables. Again, not knowing any more than that, I would think that they would benefit more from the increased numbers that would be generated when people find a geocaching app while doing a search to find what neat apps are out there for their phone. I may be right, I may be wrong. But that is my impression.

 

I had not considered contractual obligations, and this is a good point. Myself, I would be surprised if Trimble would have a say. What I would wonder, though, is if there is a free open API out there, would it cause users to migrate from Trimble, and therefore destroy a revenue stream for GS. Again, speculation since we don't know the contract.

 

Personally, I would be happy without an API, IF there were a decent WinMo application that was legal. Again, I'm not looking to violate terms of use - I just want to use the equipment that I choose to use, which is now a WinMo phone. As with all others who like the spontanaety that is allowed by Tom's app, I would enjoy that same spontenaety, and would probably cache more often. It is the preplanning that can be a pain.

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One difference between Google and GC is that GC's business model is its database while Google the business model is the click on an advertisers page. The other difference, and this is pure speculation, is that there might be contractual language that prevents GC from sharing the API's publicly, i.e., Trimble paid for the development so they get to say who can share the API's. The other could be GC just does not want the increased load on the servers that public API's would cause. Or it could be none of these.

These are good points. I won't agree with the last one - server load - because we can only speculate on that one. Yes, numbers will increase, but data size sent per query will decrease - you are looking at mobile devices, afterall, and users will want faster download times, and therefore smaller amounts of data. The overall load could go either way, and to argue otherwise is IMHO, pointless.

 

As for business model, I'm not a business man, so I'm not going to try to say I know anything about it. I will say that my thoughts are that Google gets its money from ads, yes, and GS from ads, subscriptions, and trackables. Again, not knowing any more than that, I would think that they would benefit more from the increased numbers that would be generated when people find a geocaching app while doing a search to find what neat apps are out there for their phone. I may be right, I may be wrong. But that is my impression.

 

I had not considered contractual obligations, and this is a good point. Myself, I would be surprised if Trimble would have a say. What I would wonder, though, is if there is a free open API out there, would it cause users to migrate from Trimble, and therefore destroy a revenue stream for GS. Again, speculation since we don't know the contract.

 

Personally, I would be happy without an API, IF there were a decent WinMo application that was legal. Again, I'm not looking to violate terms of use - I just want to use the equipment that I choose to use, which is now a WinMo phone. As with all others who like the spontanaety that is allowed by Tom's app, I would enjoy that same spontenaety, and would probably cache more often. It is the preplanning that can be a pain.

 

Granted mobile apps probably would not be a major load increase, but if the API existed then those that think they need the entire state in an off line database would expand that need to all adjoining states and the refresh cycle will be come 24/7. That could be a big increase.

 

As for the business model, the point is that with out the database who would come to GS.com? Google gets that add revenue also because of their database, namely you want to find a place to get hardwood flooring. And when you click a link Google gets some money. In the first case it is to play a game, which trackables are part of the game, and in the second it is to find out information. Without the game incentive to bring you to the site there is no reason for you to come to GS.com to read ads. They could then run the site on a 486 pc and a dial up line.

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