Netduino is opening up to an wider audience with the .Net Micro Framework v4.2 release


Clint forwarded me from Chris Walker, of Secret Labs, with some news this week that when I saw it I knew I had to get it into the line up. It combines a couple of my favorite topics (lol, no, not Silverlight, WP7 or XNA) and also should be of interest to the "I code at night because, well, coding is fun!" crowd.

The .NET Micro Framework has announced, NETMF Version 4.2 Beta now available.

And this means?

Today, we have posted the Beta bits for the NETMF version 4.2 release to CodePlex.

There are some great additional features beyond what we announced for the 4.2 Alpha release (cryptographic primitives, PWM, FTP,…). These include:

  • the preliminary object model, samples and infrastructure to support Remote Firmware Update,
  • the object model for A/D conversion,
  • the support for VB.NET.
  • Alexandr Surkov and Igor Kiselev contribute PKStudio as a future replacement for SolutionWizard. /
  • Julius Friedman has contributed StringBuilder and plans to add RegEx by the 4.2 release. Thanks also to Michael Schwarz for helping with this effort.

That's one cool thing, the .Net Micro Framework is getting VB.Net support! I have to hand it to Microsoft. For a while there it seemed VB was being allowed to slowly fade into the sunset, being passive-aggressively marginalized. But the increased recent support, from this, XNA, WP7,etc. seems to be giving VB.Net some new life. (Now all I need is to see the Microsoft Robotic Development Studio get VB.Net support and I'll completely stop whining... anyway...)

I said this post was about a couple of my favorite things? VB.Net support in the .Net Micro Framework is one. The other?

"Wait" you say. "Doesn't Netduino use the .Net Micro Framework? Does this mean you could use VB.Net in your Netduino project?"

Got it in one!

Netduino Firmware v4.2.0 BETA 1

This firmware requires use of the .NET Micro Framework v4.2 Beta 1 SDK. Users must completely erase and reflash their Netduinos to use this firmware.

WARNING: This firmware is pre-release firmware. It may temporarily cause your Netduino to cease functioning properly. If this firmware does not work for you, you will likely need to erase your Netduino completely and re-flash the production v4.1.0.6 bootloader using Atmel SAM-BA tools (on a 32-bit Windows installation) and the production v4.1.0.6 firmware using MFDeploy.

NOTE: This beta firmware must be used with a beta version of the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework SDK and only works with non-Express versions of Visual Studio. If you are using Visual C# Express or Mono you should not update at this time.
If you're an early adopter and would like to help us test and refine these new features, this beta release may be for you.

This firmware includes the following updates:
1. Visual Basic support (Visual Studio 2010...Express edition not yet supported)
2. StringBuilder support
3. Extension method support
4. Dozens of bugfixes

The following features are planned for the v4.2 release:
1. RegEx (coming soon)
2. More feature-rich, core ADC and PWM classes
3. Etc.

This firmware also includes the following previous updates:


Have a Netduino Plus? Netduino Plus Firmware v4.2.0 BETA 1

Hello Netduino VB World (i.e. LED blinking), BlinkyVB -- first Netduino app using Visual Basic

Imports Microsoft.SPOT
Imports Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware
Imports SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware
Imports SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware.Netduino

Module Module1

Sub Main()
' write your code here
Dim led As New OutputPort(Pins.ONBOARD_LED, False)


End Sub

End Module

Just how do you get this all this? How to install (or upgrade to) .NET Micro Framework v4.2 SDK (BETA)

Now remember this is beta software. There are bugs. Things will change prior to release (estimated for August 2011). That's the nature of the beast. But this does give you a free working view into the near future that you can start playing with now, if you you're brave (or foolish) enough to live a little on the edge. Smiley


Here’s a few more links you might find interesting:

The Discussion

  • User profile image

    One quick note...  Visual Basic Express is now supported by the .NET Micro Framework 4.2 beta. 

    We appreciate all the excellent testing from the Visual Basic community so far, and are excited to welcome them into the Netduino and .NET Micro Framework communities.

    Chris Walker

  • User profile image

    "But this does give you a free working view into the near future that you can start playing with now, if you you're brave (or foolish) enough to live a little on the edge."

    I'm more foolish then brave I suppose, but I've played with it a little already and I must say as old-school VB coder I am pleased Cool

  • User profile image

    Remote firmware update is the thing I want, looking forward to that.  GHI has it's own model, but it would be great to get something standard.

  • User profile image

    , PerfectPhase wrote

    Remote firmware update is the thing I want, looking forward to that.  GHI has it's own model, but it would be great to get something standard.

    Hi PerfectPhase,

    Remote firmware update could be possible, depending on the definition of Remote. When using an xbee shield for example, it's quite possible to upgrade the firmware over a radio signal. Perhaps there are possibilities to do so over ethernet as well, but that would require a modification of the current firmware I think. Perhaps you could post that question with a bit more background information ont he Netduino Forums?

    Ps. nice Doctor Who-reference in your tagline. Big DrWho-fan here!

  • User profile image

     .NET Micro Framework is great.  Hey Microsoft, why don't you give away some hardware on Channel9?  I'd love to play with more tech but I'm poor these days. 

    Every time there's a .NET Micro Framework announcement I think there should be some kind of hardware giveaway to spur interest (and supply poor guys like me with hardware).

  • User profile image

    @8r13n: pitch me a coding4fun article idea Smiley

  • User profile image
    Ark kun

    Netduino is cool, but why did MS abandon the .Net Gadgeteer project from MS Research? It was cool.

  • User profile image
    Ark kun

    Looks like it's not forgotten

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