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What's next with the .NET Microframework?

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  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    The newer devices are getting seriously beefed up: some devices are equipped with ARM9 240MHz processors, others have up to 16MB of RAM and 128MB of flash, and the price point is still below 100USD.

    This is excellent, of course, but I think it removes the necessity of some of the most painful limitations in the MF, like interpreted IL, simplified GC, draconian cuts to the BCL and others. True, better hardware means faster applications, and it's really nice not to have to offload data to the SD all the time. Yet, the MF seems kind of inadequate for this kind of beasts... does anybody know what's in store for the platform?

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    Here is a stupid question, for $100 why not get four Raspberry Pi, and go mono?

    -Josh 

  • User profile image
    Adam​Speight2008

    Add generics.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    The new Netduino looks pretty sweet. They are starting to implement stuff from the gadgeteer reference designs.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @kettch: And it's only $35!

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    , JoshRoss wrote

    Here is a stupid question, for $100 why not get four Raspberry Pi, and go mono?

    -Josh 

    Two words: Visual Studio.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    @Blue Ink: Isn't that kind of device hardware more suitable for Windows CE and .Net compact?

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @ZippyV: When all a device will ever run is a single program, 24/7, you can see it as a glorified garage door remote, regardless of how complex the program might be. And just like you don't need an OS in your garage remote, chances are you don't need one in your device either.

    But I'm all for a richer library...

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    , Blue Ink wrote

    ... And just like you don't need an OS in your garage remote, chances are you don't need one in your device either.

    But I'm all for a richer library...

    I can understand paying for simplicity. With the Pi, you have to mange a whole OS and runtime on top of that. So, even if you pay more money for the hardware, upfront, then you can save development costs later.

    It seems like Rx would be a good library to have on one of these Netduino things. Given a set of inputs and a timer, you generate outputs. Rx makes much of this trivial.

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Bass

    @Blue Ink:

    You can run stuff in Mono that was built in Visual Studio. You can even run Mono directly from Visual Studio, they have an addon for that called "Visual Studio Tools for Mono".

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @Bass: I was under the impression that Mono Tools for Visual Studio was discontinued, or something like that. It's still rated as a commercial product with a 30-day free trial, but you apparently cannot purchase it anywhere: the "buy now" link just points to the xamarin store.

    And the fact that there are no announcements about VS11 support just reinforces the impression.

    As for Mono on the Raspberry Pi, the information I got is still rather sketchy. There are indeed reports that Mono works on that, but apparently there's no specific support. If my impressions so far are correct, Mono on Raspberry Pi would make for a great general purpose computing environment, but it would be less than hot as a hardware development platform.

    When I get around to test the Raspberry Pi, I will probably skip the middle man and go native. Just wait till I need an 800MHz processor...

    Off a tangent: After finding many pointers to it, I finally got around to download DesignSpark PCB, not without some skepticism. I must admit it exceeds expectations and then some. Highly recommended.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Fair enough. But consider that Mono actually runs standard CLR apps. If you are "careful", ie. don't use WPF or something, your compiled *.exe will run in Mono just fine. So yeah, you don't NEED to use MonoDevelop or Mono's compiler.

  • User profile image
    thorflea

    I need the simplicty of the .NET Micro Framework and video output. Need a simple deticated device that polls a web service and displays data to TV or large monitor via VGA. (or HDMI but most MF devices lack enough power and memory). I cannot run linux on our networks and any OS Win XP, 7, 8 requires leasing computers from 3rd party vendor.

    The Raspberry Pi feature == cost have really blown the Gadgeteer products / pricing out the window.

    Is there going to be a cost restructure or new single board computer hardware for .NET Microframework.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    One thing that you can do with the .Net MF that's not so easy with the Pi is when you're past the prototype stages you can take the core of a NetMf/Gadgeteer board and embed it into your own custom board.  Obviously this is not an advantage of just NetMF, but can be an advantage.

    Another advantage of netMF over the Pi is the netMF modules can draw way less power, giving you better battery life.

    Mono:  I'm really looking forward to see what comes of the current push to get the portable class libraries fully implemented in mono.  I've had mono running on the Pi but you are back to printf debugging.  It would be awesome to get remote debugging support from mono on a pi to VS on windows.

  • User profile image
    Ion Todirel

    @Blue Ink: Taking my hat off and specifically talking about my personal projects, 240Mhz, a 32-bit CPU and 300K are insane requirements that do not justify running C# on it, just use C, there's nothing wrong with it. Anyway, the kind of micros I'm playing with are 8-bit and and are far far from having 300K of memory so I'm biased. Checkout Arduino.

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