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Graphical User Interface (GUI) for WinCE


The aim of this article is to provide more information about different frameworks available for GUI application development under Windows Embedded Compact.

GUI Framework options

The following frameworks are commonly used for developing GUI applications running on our Colibri and Apalis modules:

  • Native Win32 programming - Microsoft
  • .NET CF - Microsoft
  • Third Party .NET CF controls - Open .NETCF Library / BeeMobile / Resco
  • Silverlight/XAML - Microsoft
  • Qt

Developers may choose a suitable GUI framework depending on development time frame, prior experience with particular frameworks, ease of use, documentation and support available by framework providers, etc.

Native Win32 programming

All Toradex software tools such as the GPIO Config tool, Colibri Monitor and Colibri Tweak tool are examples of GUI applications using Win32 programming. For more details are available here.


The .NET Compact Framework is well integrated into Visual Studio and is a simple way to develop a Windows-like user interface.

We have provided many examples of GUI applications using .NET CF on our getting started page under the section GUI Example Applications

Third Party .NET CF controls

Companies like Open .NETCF, Beemobile, Resco are providing .NET CF controls which can also be used in the GUI application. These ready-made controls help in reducing application development time and can give your product a more unique look. For licensing details please check their respective website below:


You can use XAML to create modern looking user experiences including animations.

Microsoft Silverlight is available in Windows CE 6 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 and 2013. In Windows Embedded Compact 7, it is fully hardware accelerated. Check out our demo video.

We have given some examples on Silverlight based GUI application on our getting started page under the section GUI Example Applications


Qt is a popular cross-platform C++ GUI Framework, which makes it easy to create Android/iPhone like interfaces. Toradex has partnered with the Qt Company to provide you the best possible support.

We also have some examples featuring Qt based GUI applications on our getting started page under the section GUI Example Applications

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