I’ve written about Microsoft’s new .NET Embedded platform before but it is now out of beta and shipping. Microsoft’s booth had the usual collection of related vendors but the number talking about this particular platform was impressive.
If you haven’t heard, the .NET Micro Framework is Microsoft’s answer to developers looking to use Microsoft platforms but who want something even smaller than Windows CE. While moving down to the Micro Framework forces developers to give up some features, it does allow compatible applications to be developed for targets with significantly less memory and horsepower. Initially the.NET Micro Framework SDK tartest ARM7 and ARM9 platforms with a minimum of 256 Kbytes of RAM and 512 Kbytes of flash.
The other thing developer get to keep is Visual Studio and C#. The Micro Framework includes the .NET CLR (common language runtime) including support for managed code. This is akin to Java platforms that provide similar protection and fit on comparable targets. The ability to playback programs in a protected “sandbox” environment makes system more robust. It is also very handy in network environments where applications may be dynamically downloaded and executed.
The primary advantage of the platform is the ability to migrate applications up and down the .NET hierarchy. Often applications can utilize the same support code across platforms. Likewise, developers can take advantage of Microsoft modules that span this hierarchy instead of having to learn APIs for low level and high end development.
There were a number of vendors showing off products that work with the .NET Micro Framework. This included Digi International whose Digi Connect ME Development Kit is priced at $299. Freescale was showing off ARM0-based i.MXS platforms that support the framework as well.
For more information, visit www.digi.com