4.3 NETMF Gadgeteer PC

Some of you might remember my previous full NETMF PC (NETMF PC - YouTube) which featured a DOS style prompt with SBASIC and WiFi options.

Well I’m back in 4.3 with major changes. Being run on the Raptor for my own use GHI’s awesome 4.3 changes allows this to run on any GHI board…and it’ll tell you which one it’s on too. :smiley:

Screen Cap #1
When the system starts up it boots like a Linux machine (graphically). The first thing the system does is detect your system and mount your SD. Without an SD it will stop trying to boot. From there it loads up touch (configuration comes off the SD instead of EWR), loads fonts and starts looking for drivers.

The drivers are all based on my Native Gadgeteer project. I added a simple wrapper around them to tell the system what type of driver they are (Video, Audio, Time, etc) and load them accordingly.

In this example I load DFRobot RTC, GHI Music, SolderMonkey LiPo and GHI T43 modules. Once complete it will load whatever program is specified. I actually caught this picture mid transition and you can see the home screen popping up.

Screen Cap #2
Modeled after Windows 8 this home screen uses a tile grid and the tiles support 3 sizes (small, medium and wide). The default backcolor for a tile is your accent color though another one can be specified.

These tiles can be resized, reorganized and put into different groups. Groups don’t have names but are separated by a wider (12 pixel) margin.

All of these tiles were added dynamically and pulled their color, icon (alpha blended Image32 with entire image color changed to the Forecolor) and text from my new ex8 format. EX8 packages up a .pe file with a couple of different sized Image32s and other data so the system can pull out what it needs without having to load the entire assembly.

The system automatically sizes the dimensions of the tiles to fit 3 rows of 4 columns of medium sized tiles. Text is displayed or hidden automatically based on whether or not their is enough room to fit the text and icon on the tile.

Take a close look at those icons because they are all planned apps for the system. I know Ian is going to be very happy about one of them. :smiley:


We want video! :open_mouth:

You are a wizard, my friend!

Actually, the icon I want isn’t there… When it runs a compiler and I can program a FEZ with it then I’ll really be happy :slight_smile:

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When I flesh out the apps a bit it’ll definitely be coming. The keyboard and mouse support is really top notch. You can change the curosr and offset so if you’re using cross hair for example the “hotspot” isn’t 0,0 but 6,6

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One of my big concerns on this is how to manage the screen space. What am I doing to do inside of an application to be able to exit it? Do I force titlebars? Draw down to close like Win8?

What I came up with was pretty simple. Tap and hold anywhere in the top 32px of the screen (should be reasonable on any screen size) and a bar will pop up under the following conditions:

A) Anytime you are outside of the default domain (ie all programs)
B) Set the form to allow NavBar.

The back button will only appear outside of the default domain. Tapping anywhere outside the bar once it’s up will cause it to go away.

Another SolderMonkey LiPo module bites the dust. After the microUSB connector broke on the first one after only a couple of uses I put hot glue over the second one. Apparently not enough though because that too has finally come off.

Here’s what it looks like when a driver fails to load.

I’ve lost a lot of faith in microUSB connectors over the past few months. I don’t know if they’re just fundamentally too fragile or if everyone is just using the cheapest ones being produced but I have two Android tablets with broken microUSB connectors right now. I tried replacing the first one but the commercial lead-free solder was such a PITA that I messed up the traces trying to get it off. Thank goodness the Nexus 7 has wireless charging and I don’t really need to have USB with it.

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@ ianlee74 - Had problems with the micro USB on my Espruino, too. Thankfully, I was able to hot glue it before it failed, still holding up so far.

Definitely think that mini USB is more robust.

The classic USB B connectors were the best.
Would give a good excuse for mobile phone developers too, if it got a little thicker as the design department wanted :wink:

Nice to see IFU working flawlessly in 4.3, hadn’t used it for a long time. :slight_smile:


@ Skewworks - Looks great!

Thanks, I’m pretty pleased with it. Already have the first app done and with a lot of free time over the next 3 days I should have a video by Monday.