Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contributing Projects to .NET Micro Framework – Clarified

Reading today at the .NET Micro Framework blog about contributing projects to the .NET MF as well as how to coordinate feature development:

  • We are only talking about the core implementation of the code as it is shipped and supported by Microsoft. This process makes no attempt to restrict anyone from building whatever they want on the technology that is consistent with the broad licensing provisions.
  • There continues to be a Core Technology team of Microsoft and non-Microsoft supporters of the platform who will be involved in the technical and architectural direction of the core implementation.
  • The NETMF proposed feature discussion group is intended to be exactly that, an opportunity to propose an idea and have a discussion on the definition and the merits of the proposal. This discussion can be used to coordinate feature development outside the core implementation as well as in the core implementation.
  • NEW - There was not enough feedback on the discussion group so it was not clear that ideas had been heard or not. Starting in about a week, the Core Technology team will respond to each idea with an assessment of whether it is a candidate for the core implementation.
  • NEW - The criteria that will be used to assess the proposals are:
    - Interesting to general audience
    - Potential design and implementation are likely to be consistent with the size, performance , and power consumption objectives of the platform
    - Higher priority is given to features that enhance the connected device support
  • NEW – There was not enough transparency in the acceptance and tracking of proposed features. Starting by the time 4.1 ships, we will move the accepted candidates into a database on codeplex.com where their progress can be tracked by anyone.
  • Once the ideas have been accepted and based on their priority, the Core Tech team will work with the contributors to generate the necessary requirements and design documents. NEW -these will be posted on the NETMF Technical Resources pages for broad review.

Any feedback welcome at the .NET MF blog post comments!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework 4.1 and Multi-Targeting Support in Visual Studio 2010

A really good news for all developers that need to develop .NET MF devices with different .NET MF frameworks: the next small update on .NET Micro Framework 4.1 will add Visual Studio 2010 as well as the multi-targeting support. That means that you are able to compile with .NET MF 3.0 as well as .NET MF 4.1. If it will be possible to use the binary files compiled with the new framework on .NET MF 4.0 I’m not sure.

Looking forward to this new release!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Roadmap – What’s next?

Today found at the .NET MF team blog:

We are working on a version 4.1 release that includes (pending any last minute contributions):

  • VS 2010 support
  • The hashtable proposed on the netmf.com discussion and contributed by Ed Harlow
  • Open Source TCP/IP and SSL
  • DPWS enhancements
  • Big Endian support

The Open Source TCP/IP stack is the LWIP stack with OpenSSL.  These two Open Source stack elements will be available under the BSD license rather than the Apache 2.0 license that we use for the rest of the product.  We are in discussions with EBSNet about continuing to have their full featured and supported commercial stack available.  More on that later.  The current crypto binaries will also continue to be available for anyone using them. 

There are several more processor ports on the way.  I will not steal our partners' thunder by pre-announcing those but there are some very interesting new additions coming. 

Going Forward:

  1. We have gotten feedback that the process for contributing features to the core codebase is not clear.  We are working on that issue.
  2. We will make version 4.1 available at the Microsoft Download Center as before.  We will continue to make approximately annual releases through that channel.  After version 4.1, we will also have the evolving codebase and issue tracking database on Codeplex so that you can get the most current drop or the last major drop - whichever works best for your needs.

Looking forward to your comments and questions!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Announcing the Topaz i.MX25 CPU Module and Development Kit

Martin from Device Solutions finished the Topaz i.MX25 CPU module and development kit for Windows CE 6.0 R3. The port for .NET Micro Framework as well as a Linux version is under development.

We are very pleased to announce the Topaz i.MX25 CPU Module and Development Kit.  Topaz is a new CPU module designed for portable, industrial and automotive applications.

image The Topaz module includes a Freescale i.MX25 (400MHz ARM926), 64MBytes mobile DDR, 128MBytes NAND flash, Freescale Power Management IC and Ethernet PHY.  Like Meridian, Topaz is a surface mount module.  This is easy to mount on new hardware and scales well in volume production.

Topaz includes 10/100 Ethernet (just add a MagJack), USB Host and High-Speed OTG ports, LCD controller, Touch-controller, ADC, SD card, CAN, 5x serial ports, PWM, One-Wire, SPI, I2C, Security and more.  Check out the product page and data sheet for all the technical details.

For Topaz, we worked with partners to support Windows CE and Linux, as well as the .NET Micro Framework.  We are shipping today with Windows CE 6.0 R3 in conjunction with GuruCE.  The .NET Micro Framework and Linux are in development.

Topaz is ideal for portable applications as it uses low-power memory and can be powered from a LiIon cell.  For HMI applications, the built-in LCD and touch-screen controllers make it simple to connect a variety of display types.   For automotive applications, Freescale supply specific variants of the i.MX25 and these are supported by the Topaz module.

The Development Kit is great for evaluating the Topaz CPU module and development devices.

It includes 10/100 Ethernet, Serial, USB host and OTG ports, SD card and audio out.  All other signals are available on 0.1” interface headers for easy connection.


You have a choice of LCDs for use with the kit:

  • 4.3” 480×272 TFT LCD with touch-screen.
  • 7” 800×480 TFT LCD with touch-screen.

The development kit is priced at US$299 and the LCD kits are US$199 for the 4.3” option and US$299 for the 7” option.  These are available from their web shop now, and will be with distributors in the next 2-3 weeks.