Microsoft advances embedded apps

Company announces upgrade to its .Net Micro Framework for building applications for embedded systems.

Microsoft this week is unveiling an upgrade to its .Net Micro Framework for building applications for embedded systems, featuring expanded language and processor support. Release of Version 3.0 of the framework is being announced at both Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles and the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston.

The value proposition of .Net Micro Framework is it brings modern computing models found on the desktop, such as .Net, to the embedded space to address the increasing connectedness and complexity of new device scenarios, Microsoft said. Version 3.0 has been in a beta release since July.

Native code interoperability in the release extends the technology to languages such as C and C++, said Colin Miller, product unit manager for .Net Micro Framework at Microsoft.

"What that means is no longer do you have to have all your code in managed code or C#," Miller said. Developers can extend the .Net object model with native libraries, he said. Managed code runs inside a virtual machine while native code is compiled down to the hardware, making it run faster, Miller said.

Also new is managed code access to USB devices and support for Windows Presentation Foundation, touch and gesture support and Visual Studio 2008. FAT32 file system support, for moving data to a device, is enabled as well. Release 3.0 backs Wi-Fi integration.

Version 3.0 supports the ADI Blackfin processor family and SSL encryption for TCP/IP stack.

Also highlighted in Version 3.0 is backing for Device Profile for Web Services, a Web profile enabling plug-and-play for networked devices. A PC or other device can connect to DPWS-enabled devices on a network and then invoke the functionality for that device. Developers can build applications that communicate with devices.

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