More and more resources put in Arduino, but NETMF?

Recently, I find some big company such as Google and Intel were putting some resources on Arduino. Even GHI also make some Arduino products.
So, what is NETMF’s future? will disappear like some products of MS?
I like NETMF and Gadgeteer, hope it grow and prosper.
However, seems I should learning some Arduinos now?

Why would it disappear? We have invested long years into it and still creating more and more products.

We all hope it grow and prosper.
My friend and I keep cooperating to promote NETMF and Gadgeteer in China.
We have already translated a Gadgeteer book to Chinese. Will publish in the first season of next year.
We are preparing write more chinese NETMF and Gadgeteer Books.
Learns many from here, thanks.


I believe one can enjoy the best of both worlds by embracing both NETMF and Arduino.

Having said that… I recently dusted my old Arduino boards in anticipation of Medusa and RFduino. But man… it just made me realize again how much nicer it is to work with NETMF and Gadgeteer. I will probably limit my Arduino projects to small ones where cost or speed is a serious factor, but will definitely prefer to use NETMF and Gadgeteer in larger projects. Or use Arduino boards just as another module for my Gadgeteer.

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Once you have used NETMF and been able to debug on the target, you really do realise how slow Arduino has been to get this one thing added to the IDE. I’ve seen some forum activity on this when doing a search for this capability.

Arduino is ideal for small project but big stuff starts to get difficult to debug. I gave up and switched back to Atmel Studio and GCC. That way I could still use the libraries (with a little work that is) and have real time debugging.

We talked about the two many times. I do not see one replaces the other as all, and so we support both now.

Need a n internet application or anything over 1000 lines of code, use NETMF.
Need something small, low cost, low power, use arduino.

… and now both use the same modules you already have. I really hope the community will understand the step GHI took towards Arduino correctly. We are not replacing, we are opening new doors.

Perhaps behind closed doors, in NDA world, things are different, but .NETMF seems to be a niche market compared to Arduino & RaspPi.

Rasp has a power, price and “it” factor advantage.
Arduino has big installed base, new momentum (Yun, Galileo, Tre, etc) and price advantage.

There are many Arduino clones and compatible boards.

The NETMF ecosystem is a bit different due to the fact they don’t sell their own H/W products. But how many manufactures, besides GHI, Mountaineer & Netduino are making .NETMF boards?

How many, besides Justin, are making, pardon the expression, “clones”?

Wait till you see the next one - from Clone to Yoda 8)


@ Justin - May the Force be with you! :smiley:

Of course you should. And some BeagleBone and some RasPi… Definitely don’t limit your experience to one technology. There’s definitely no avoiding learning Arduino, though. It’s everywhere and anyone who toys with micros needs to know how to program it.

For example, unfortunately, I haven’t been on this forum much the past couple weeks. I’ve been spending almost every free minute building & tuning a delta style 3D printer. It runs on a Printrboard (Arduino). It would be silly to try and run it on a NETMF board primarily because there are so many good solutions already available based on Arduino.

However, at some point I may end up adding a nice CP7 based touch user interface to it that would be controlled by NETMF/Gadgeteer. There are also other things I would like to add to the printer that will just be a lot easier to do with NETMF. So, I’ll probably end up with a hybrid system that does the motor control with the Arduino and the UI goodness with NETMF. Or I may just move everything over to BeagleBone Black and run LinuxCNC… My point is that you should use the best tool for the job. Unfortunately, the “best” tool doesn’t always come down to a spec sheet. Community compatibility & support can be equally important when working on open source hardware such as RepRap.

I’ve spent several years now trying to sell the world that Gadgeteer is the way to go and I’ve made some progress. However, this year more than ever it has become much more clear to me that in order for any solution to succeed today it must have multi-platform support. Until NETMF has this, I don’t see how it can ever get much larger within the hobby/research community. For companies developing products to sell, I think the rapid prototyping abilities of Gadgeteer are enough to validate forcing the use of Windows. Until Arduino catches up…

I don’t see NETMF going away anytime soon but I think it must become much more open than it is in order to ever give any good competition to the other players. Microsoft isn’t really putting that much effort into promoting Gadgeteer. Why would we expect other companies to jump onboard?

Microsoft’s marketing group couldn’t sell a thick juicy medium rare BBQ steak to a starving man in the middle of a desert for a buck, so don’t get the idea that since Microsoft isn’t trying to hawk Gadgeteer, that its not being worked on at Microsoft. IoT and embedded devices have more then a few fans within Microsoft and the future of IT has a very large IoT and embedded device chunk in it if you believe the countless trade rags, industry blogs, etc. and I would suspect that Microsoft wants a piece of that pie (their relationship with Ford for example has worked out rather well for both companies).

I still think that Gadgeteer has a pretty good future because it has the best balance of hardware/software in the business, but of course rabid marketing can float even the worst products to the top which is unfortunate and happening. Like many others I have been trying to promote Gadgeteer for some time and certainly progress has been made, but we would all like better progress, so we soldier on.

I’ve seen this too. People are spending weeks trying to figure out why Ethernet is not working or working differently from one device or another. Why firmware got corrupted and has to be reflashed once in a awhile. Or where are all the files I have written to an SD Card. Issues like that give NETMF and Gadgeteer a bad name unfortunately.

Agreed, there is a clear need of more focus, speed and quality from MS and partners. And I feel the timing is right now.

Come on. More steam!

@ andre.m -

So, if Microsoft has open-sourced the .NETMF platform, why is Microsoft the only one who can fix bugs? Is the community blocked from making its own bug fixes?

This topic really puzzles me. I just ran over to Google Trends to see the global interest profiles for our world. And the tendency is clear, our primary concepts are in decline. The effort you have put into spreading the word has not been enough, I am sorry to say.

So, just to repeat myself. Microsoft and other players that has the option to do so, please give it some more steam.

I dont want my clients to start questioning why I have chosen this platform. Please help!

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@ njbuch - do your clients care what is under the hood?

@ Justin - my experience is that clients often care what is under the hood much more than I think they should. Just look at the decision to use Windows or Linux for a solution. It often has nothing to do with cost or maintenance or anything you might expect - just fear and in some cases superstition. I have seen the same with Arduino - clients who just have it in their minds that anything else is suspect because their cousin’s neighbor told them so.

I used netmf for great projects for a large company with great success, but I still had people looking askance by because it didn’t “feel right”.

BTW, when do you think we will get support for VS 2013?

Unfortunately, most of my work is a long term decision: Which platform gives us:

[ol] the lowest development cost,
the easiest and cheapest maintenance,
the most streamlined upgrade to new technologies, and
the easiest access to competencies and resources.[/ol]

Gadgeteer and netmf are pretty comfortably placed in a sweet spot, where the development cost is low, and the maintenance is cheap and easy. But on the two last points, the score is low. And with the decline in popularity, and the low visibility of what Microsoft is doing - I have a problem.

I’ve been contemplation this issue a lot recently : I LOVE NetMF because i’t OOP and I’m used to C# from PC programming. For me, Arduino is a huge step backward, but maybe I just haven’t put enough time into the Arduino platform to really get to know it.
On the other hand, I get really scared when I visit : the most recent MSDN RSS post states “Dec 4” which, at first sight, is in the future (!), but actually is almost 11 months in the past ! Honestly, 11 months is huge in any IT-related field. If blog post frequency is a measure for it’s popularity, then I get really worried : am I putting a my efforts into the wrong platform ?
Still, let me repeat : I LOVE NetMF. Is there anything comparable on the market ? RaspberryPI seems to be all about Python. Does Java really scale down to the microcontroller world ? Is there any “beyond-C++” modern OO programming language that runs on a truly embedded platform ? If it does exist, I’d really like to learn about it.
On the other hand, coming from the PC world, I really miss some stuff in NetMF. Generics for example. Did NetMF get stuck on extremely resource-constrainted devices that were once main-stream but are now becoming outdated ?


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@ njbuch - I guess the declining trend must be compared to other embedded technology. Maybe the decline is part of the economic crisis or other influences.