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.NET Micro Framework

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Jim Granville, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. This from Microsoft


    leads to this
    - claims ~35x35mm module, and says this

    "The most notable aspect of the .NET Micro Framework is that it does not
    need any underlying operating system. The Micro Framework requires very
    little in the way of system resources thus reducing the overall cost of
    a system. (The minimum memory resources are about 384K of FLASH/ROM and
    256K of RAM)"

    Any one used this ? - the claims of 384KF/256KR on one page and
    512KF/256KR on another, do not say what that is capable of running,
    nor minimul program sizes. Speed is also not discussed.

    If this downloads/runs MSIL instructions, pgms should be relatively small.

    This is not that far above present single chip resource.
    Flash is well past 384/512KF, on top end devices, but few devices
    currently have 256KR.
    Some of this could move into ROM.

    This could change the resorce targets for chip release ?

    Jim Granville, Feb 14, 2007
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  2. Since this is MS first attempt at an RTOS for non-MMU machines,
    my guess is that the 256 kB will provide you with a simple round-robin
    scheduler (no preemptive multitasking) and non-nestable interrupts.
    If you want to add any actual applications, then memory needs will grow ;-)
    Ulf Samuelsson, Feb 14, 2007
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  3. Jim Granville

    Paul Gotch Guest

    There is nothing realtime about the .NET Mircro Framework their FAQ even

    "Given the high clock speeds of the underlying hardware the lack of
    real time support is not a major problem."

    You have to write in C# as far as I can tell, other languages targeting the
    CLR are not supported. Download and debug is over serial ports not JTAG.

    Accorind to this:


    It doesn't support JITing, it's not clear if it even executes CLR byte code,
    the link could be taken either way. It does appear to allow you to write
    native methods though.

    You have to have Visual Studio 2005 to use it.

    Paul Gotch, Feb 14, 2007
  4. Jim Granville

    CBFalconer Guest

    No RT, C#, VS, MS. With all those strikes against it, why should
    anyone ever consider using it? You know that anything from MS is
    buggy, and will not be supported.


    "A man who is right every time is not likely to do very much."
    -- Francis Crick, co-discover of DNA
    "There is nothing more amazing than stupidity in action."
    -- Thomas Matthews
    CBFalconer, Feb 15, 2007
  5. Jim Granville

    Eric Guest

    Microsoft's support of .NET has been extremely thorough. They have
    gone far beyond anyone's expectations, and they even have regional
    support centers where they offer free assistance to developers. I've
    rattled their cage on more than one occasion.

    They took to heart all of the criticism they got up through the 80's
    and 90's, and the company turned around in 2001. They're now far more
    open, and they're well connected with developers. Microsoft employees
    are also active in the newsgroups.

    It remains to be see if they understand MCUs, but this looks positive
    to me.

    Eric, Feb 15, 2007
  6. 384K (or 512K) ROM and 256K RAM is "very little in the way
    of system resources"?!? Compared to what?
    They'll have to be small to be shoehorned into the machine
    after M$ has usurped all the resources.
    Everett M. Greene, Feb 15, 2007
  7. Jim Granville

    Eric Guest

    They way I understand it, they have a new kind of IL that was designed
    to be interpreted. It reminds me of the DotGNU project: they translate
    IL into a new dialect of IL that is more friendly to interpretation,
    and they have a runtime interpreter to run that. The "full" IL for
    PC's lacks the kind of type information you'd need to execute it
    quickly with an interpreter (the JIT compiler gets the type info from
    various metadata). For example, the IL instruction to add 2 values
    doesn't specify the size of the operands (unlike Java's JVM
    Yes, I'm guessing the free Express version won't work with it. I
    believe that is also the case for the CE platform. However, you
    probably only need VS for debugging, or for rich designtime
    functionality. Microsoft normally allows people to develop apps with
    Notepad, or third-party tools. It comes down to a question of
    deployment, and I am guessing that can also be done outside of VS
    since they are just using a serial port.

    By the way, their serial port support in CE is quite good, so I expect
    the same here. It shouldn't have the slow klunky feeling that Arm's
    Angel monitor had when debugging over a serial port. It should be
    pretty responsive. If it's not responsive it will quickly die in the
    developer marketplace.

    Eric, Feb 15, 2007
  8. Jim Granville

    Eric Guest

    This looks like a low cost dev board for the Micro Framework. This
    runs at 200 Mhz and has 2, USB host mode interfaces, and an Ethernet
    port. It can also run linux. It doesn't have an LCD, but this looks
    like a steal for the money.


    Freescale also has a dev kit, and it also has an LCD - is this the
    same as the one from Embedded Fusion? Note that the USB is only 1.1
    and it's not a host interface. I don't know if they have a linux
    option, but Freescale is linux-friendly with some of their other
    boards. It runs only at 100 Mhz. Sadly, this does not use the new
    Cortex A8 that Freescale is supposed to be working on.


    Eric, Feb 15, 2007
  9. Jim Granville

    CBFalconer Guest

    C# by itself is a turn-off. It does not have an ISO standard. MS
    drops more things than my cat has kittens.

    If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, ensure
    you quote enough for the article to make sense. Google is only
    an interface to Usenet; it's not Usenet itself. Don't assume
    your readers can, or ever will, see any previous articles.
    More details at: <http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/>
    CBFalconer, Feb 15, 2007
  10. Jim Granville

    Paul Gotch Guest

    Standard Edition required.
    I think they've unified it so you just now need VS 2005 and don't need VS
    Embedded which was in effect a previous version of VS retargetted.

    I think there is still a separate kernel debugger though.
    Depends if the they've docmented the protocol spoken to the monitor, MS are
    notorious for keeping such things closed so they can change them.
    Angel was written back in the days of 9600 Kbaud serial ports, it had been
    superceeded by JTAG based debugging by the time there was any need to make
    it go faster or hide the latency of the serial port.

    To me this seems to be a "because we can product" though. To make it go
    anywhere they need a huge library of support libraries supporting the
    facilities available on common microcontrollers and they need to add JTAG

    Otherwise it doesn't really provide anything you can't do with existing C
    based toolkits from incumbant vendors and it requires oodles more RAM and
    faster processors.

    Another point is that with the C based tool kits you at least have the
    illusion of being able to change tools providers even if in practice it's
    very hard, the .NET stuff is essentially single source single toolchain.

    Paul Gotch, Feb 15, 2007
  11. Those are Microsoft's press release words, so they will mean compared
    with Vista! ;)

    Jim Granville, Feb 15, 2007
  12. Jim Granville

    Al Balmer Guest

    Al Balmer, Feb 15, 2007
  13. Jim Granville

    TheDoc Guest

    If they understood the criticism then why did they produce anything .NET for

    perhaps this is their next attempt having not learnt from the failure of

    TheDoc, Feb 15, 2007
  14. Jim Granville

    Paul Gotch Guest

    Not Found

    The requested URL
    /ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/c036768_ISO_IEC_23270_2003(E).zip was not
    found on this server.
    Apache/2.0.55 (Win32) Server at standards.iso.org Port 80

    Seriously that standard is for C# 1 and 2 which has now been superceeded by C#
    3. TThere is an EMCA standard for C# 3 but it's not been through ISO yet.

    The big difference between the C# standard and the sya the C++ standard is
    that the C# standard essentially only defines the language and there is only
    enough standard library to contain standard exceptions. In contrast a large
    amount of the C++ standard defines what the standard library contains.

    It is therefore possible to do quite a bit with portable C++ which will
    compile with any conformant compiler.

    Generally C# is used with the CLI class library which is itself
    standardised. However like the full C++ class library it's huge and with an
    interpreted language you don't get the option of throwing most of it away at
    link time.

    Even in cut down form (MS say they don't implement all of it) I suspect
    this is what most of the 250K-1MB foot print of the thing is given it's
    possible to write the bytecode interpreter in a few K.

    Paul Gotch, Feb 16, 2007
  15. Jim Granville

    Eric Guest

    I completely understand what you're saying, and I have always laughed
    at Microsoft's usage of the word "embedded" because it seemed to me
    that they didn't understand the meaning of the word. I don't like CE
    myself, but I love C# and .NET on the Windows platform.

    But recently I saw a list of RTOS makers and market share, and it
    shocked me to see that CE is a huge success! This is mostly due to
    smart phones and pocket PC's, but even then, those do qualify as
    embedded devices. And it was a shock to me that a lot of industrial
    controllers also use CE. I never really noticed this firsthand.

    Nobody is going to stop their C/C++ work immediately now that the
    Micro Framework is coming. But it will find a niche and it will be
    successful. And I will play with it, but I don't expect to win many
    contracts to develop commercial applications for it over the next year
    or two. The lack of USB and Ethernet support in the initial release of
    MF will be a serious limitation, but I'm sure they'll fix that in
    version 2 or 3. The only way to use USB and Ethernet in version 1 will
    be through platform invoke of native code (calling C/C++ in other
    words). I understand the same is true of CF cards.

    Eric, Feb 16, 2007
  16. Jim Granville

    Eric Guest

    Well said. I can't imagine why they don't seem to know anything about
    JTAG.The third party libs will definitely come out over time. In the
    embedded world you need libs from companies that specialize in this
    market because of the low level complexities.
    I think they're pushing the faster development time, and more
    reliability due to managed memory.
    Since the compilers are free, both from MS and the mono project, there
    are several other companies that make IDEs, and the open source Sharp
    Develop is very good now. There's even a C# addin for Eclipse. You
    don't hear about the alternatives much because Visual Studio really is
    very good. The IDE is much better than IAR or Keil/Arm IDEs, at least
    in a general sense when we not talking about embedded debugging. I'm
    not going to put away IAR when it comes to low-level bits and bytes,
    at least not in the foreseeable future.

    There are many third-party companies that market components and libs
    for .NET. None of that will apply to the Micro Framework, but I'll
    possibly join the fray of releasing some MF specific components before

    Eric, Feb 16, 2007
  17. That link worked for me, but my email client truncated the URL at the
    first parenthesis. Make sure the "(E).zip" ending is there.

    Related to the original post:
    "Introduction to Programming for the TinyCLR" (
    http://dotnet.sys-con.com/read/84123.htm )

    I have no experience-based-opinion on the subject, ( I am beginning
    work on my first Windows CE project, ) but like CBFalconer I don't
    hear the words "Microsoft" and "embedded" creating a beautiful harmony
    when sung together.

    Roberto Waltman

    [ Please reply to the group,
    return address is invalid ]
    Roberto Waltman, Feb 16, 2007
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