I just discovered that the free development environment that Atmel provides to support their processors is a customization of Visual Studio. Wouldn’t it be great for all of us in the .Net Micro/Gadgeteer world if there was a .Net Micro add-in? Do any of their development boards have enough resources to support .Net Micro? For that matter, is it possible to port .Net Micro to any of the dozens of development boards that TI and others provide many of which are less than $20?
It is really rare that any technology can make an immediate and massive improvement in my ability to do my job. GPS is one. .Net Micro is another. However, I’ve have had nearly zero success with getting the embedded programming group at my company to even look at it. Most of the arguments are religious e.g. “It isn’t Linux so it sucks” or “OMG it’s Microsoft so it really sucks”. I can’t fight those. But there are a couple of legitimate points like it isn’t clear .Net Micro has a long term future and it doesn’t have broad market support e.g. lots of vendors supplying boards and tools. To my mind, both of these points make a circular argument. Hard to show a long term future without lots of industry support and hard for companies to justify development without an obvious long term future. I’m excited about Microsoft’s claims to make .Net Micro a part of their IoT strategy but wouldn’t it be great if .Net Micro was available as an easy option when an engineer was looking at a buying a development board for a new project from TI or Atmel or ST or whoever?
To be more specific:
Atmel Studio uses the VisualStudio Shell (2010 I think).
This is not VisualStudio.
The VS Shell is an IDE anyone can use for their own product as a shell for free.
The SQL Manager that comes with MS SQL Server does this as well.
It’s not even possible to integrate the Atmel package into a normal VS of the same version. The shell is always installed, and it runs as a separate program side by side with VS.
The plus side: You get an very good IDE for your product.
The down side: The shell is quite huge (several hundred mega bytes for the 2010 shell).
I use Visual Studio 2010 Express with C# and the .Net Micro 4.2 and GHI SDK straight off their website. I’m a plain vanilla .Net Micro guy but that’s just me. In any event that combination has been incredibly effective for me. My basic point is it would be a huge plus for the .Net Micro/Gadgeteer community if there were some .Net Micro ports (with our without Gadgeteer) available for a few of of the dozens of dirt cheap evaluation boards that TI, Atmel, ST and the other major ARM processor companies provide.
My basic question is if any of those evaluation boards have the resources to support .Net Micro and how hard would the port be?
I just looked at the ST link that @ Justin provided and that’s pretty much what I’m talking about. Now all that’s needed is an on line video that convinces the embedded programmers at my company how easy it is to transition from C/C++ to C# and how they can generate twice as much code with better quality and in half the time if they make the switch.