Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Microsoft Releases ".NET Micro Framework"

Microsoft has announced a new release of its .NET Micro Framework platform for low-end embedded processors. Version 2.5 adds a native TCP/IP stack and support for Web Services on Devices (WSD), which aims to allow network-connected devices to discover and connect to one another without user intervention.Networking a .NET MF device previously required calling through to an underlying operating system with sockets support, according to Microsoft. Version 2.5 now provides a stack that is available even when running directly on the hardware. Since device makers need only provide a driver for the network interface, a wider selection of network-capable hardware development platforms will be available, the company says.Microsoft adds that the new version of .NET MF will also include client and server support for Web Services on Devices, also known as Device Profile for Web Services (DPWS). Already part of Windows Vista and Windows CE 6.0 Release 2, this "enables a USB-like level of plug-and-play for networked devices," in the company's words. DPWS-enabled devices on a network can discover one another, then invoke the functionality each device provides.About .NET Micro Framework Microsoft .NET Micro Framework (.NET MF) in 2006, aiming it at wireless remote controls, watches, and other cost-sensitive devices with constrained processor and memory resources. The .NET MF grew out of Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative, with embryonic versions variously dubbed .NET Embedded and Tiny CLR.According to Microsoft, .NET MF supports low-end embedded processors and doesn't require an MMU (memory management unit). A typical runtime image is only about 300 KB in size, the company says.AvailabilityThe .NET Micro Framework, version 2.5, is available now, according to Microsoft. It is being demonstrated this week at the Embedded Workd 2008 show, in Nuremberg, Germany, in the Microsoft Windows Embedded booth (hall 11, stand 318).