You don't have to be a Secret Agent to develop for the AGENT SmartWatch (You just have to read this...)

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Well you just have to read Rob Chartier's complete getting started post. He takes you from installing Visual Studio, the .Net Micro Framework and Agent SDK all the way through to Hello World.

The best part is that you don't even need the watch. You can start writing code for it and run it in the emulator. Now that's a Hardware Friday post!

Getting started with Developing for the AGENT SmartWatch

Now that the AGENT : The World’s Smartest Watch has been successfully funded with Kickstarter its time for the developer community to kick into gear and start writing watch faces and apps so when the time comes for the release of the store we can have hundreds of not thousands of available applications ready for mass consumption!

If you are a hobbyist, or a new developer that has that killer idea for a face or app for the AGENT, or you just want to tweak someone else's idea this post is for you!

First and foremost you will need a Windows machine.  I prefer Windows 8 but Windows 7 will do just fine. 

If you already have Visual Studio .NET (VS.NET) installed, skip over this step.  Otherwise Download Visual Studio Express 2012 from here. (Direct) –Start it now and then read on…

A bit of nomenclature:

VS.NET is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment – picture notepad on steroids).   It allows you to author applications using a variety of languages (most common is C#) for a variety of scenarios.

.NET is a Framework.  It provides a comprehensive and consistent programming model for building applications – a set of APIs.  It can be consider it as an abstraction above other lower level API’s.

.NET Micro Framework is a tiny subset of the .NET Framework which is targeted and streamlined for Micro (tiny) devices.  It does not include many, many features, and API’s from the larger .NET Framework - keep this in mind when you are reading online documentation; you will soon find out that the .NET Framework supports a much needed API call but find out that it has NOT been ported to the .NET Micro Framework.  This can be confusing for many folks that are new to the .NET Micro Framework.

C# is a programming language.

Essentially you will use VS.NET, write code in C#, and target the .NET Framework and in our case here we will be targeting the .NET Micro Framework.


Sample Watch – Big Digits Watch Face

Very early on, the guys behind the AGENT project made available some source code for a sample Watch Face called “Big Digits”, we will use it as our starting place to work from. Download it here, unzip it and double click the BigDigitsWatchface.sln file which should open VS.NET Express 2012.

Lets take a quick trip around the Solution, top to bottom just to familiarize yourself with what is at your finger tips.  On the right hand side, you should see the “Solution Explorer” if it is not visible, you may need to go to the View menu and choose “Solution Explorer”.

At the top of the Solution Explorer you should see our BigDigitsWatchFace solution, and just under it you should see the BigDigitsWatchFace project.  Right click the project node and go to properties.


VS.NET Templates

Previously we installed the AGENT SDK and along with the new cool emulator, pictured above, you will find two additional project templates to get you started.  In VS.NET, go to File, New Project… and on the left choose Visual C#, Micro Framework you will find the two new templates.



Here's the Hello World, built in about 12 seconds (New Project, Run);


Now you can build your next awesome watch app, all for free...

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