Opening the .NET MF 3.0 kimono
Psst, hey buddy, if you promise to keep this to yourself, I'll tell you what we're working on for .NET Micro Framework v3. We think you're gonna really like it.
Jonathan Kagle just finished his presentation this morning at Tech-Ed in Orlando where he provided a preview of what will be in the next version of .NET Micro Framework. This is an early look at what we're planning; it could change by the time we release, and as always, should you choose to base your business or product plans on an unreleased product, you get what you deserve! Those caveats aside, here's an overview for those who weren't able to attend:
Interop: "Native code? We don't need no steekin native code!" Most of the time the C# managed code environment in .NET MF is ideal, but there are times when you might need to drop down to native code to add support for a feature or perform a time-critical operation. You can do this today in .NET MF 2.5, but it isn't particularily elegant. 3.0 changes that all allows you to link native code to managed code when you need to. Check out Steve Maillet's blog for more details.
Touchscreen: We're adding touchscreen support in v3, and that includes support for simple inking scenarios, allowing you to build a small kiosk that captures a credit card signature, for example.
Filesystem: Yep, there's a file system in v3. You can still use extended weak references, but it no longer is the only option for storing configuration or logging data to storage devices, like nand flash, which will also be supported.
VS2008: Goodbye Visual Studio 2005, Hello Visual Studio 2008! VS2005 served us well, but with the cool features in VS2008, we're excited to have full support for it in v3.
DPWS Tools: .NET MF v2.5 included a preview of Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS, formerly known as WSD). NET MF 3.0 includes full support for DPWS *and* easy to use tools that weren't include in 2.5.
Wi-Fi: We're adding the infrastructure for Wi-Fi / 802.11. Partners will now be able to integrate Wi-Fi stacks, drivers, and supplicants in a standard way and interface with the rest of the TCP/IP stack. v3 will provide hooks for WEP, WPA/WPA2, and Windows Connect Now (WCN).
SSL: The TCP/IP stack in v3 will include support for SSL, allowing secure connections like HTTPS.
Serial enhancements: The serial model in v3 is being improved to more closely follow the .NET Framework implementation. This includes support for hardware flow control, e.g. RTS/CTS.
USB Device: You'll be able to create devices using .NET MF 3.0 which identify themselves as standard USB types when plugged into a PC. For example, you could create a small data logger which collects data from a sensor network and presents itself as a standard mass storage device when it is plugged into the PC using USB.
Fonts: The font support in version 3.0 is being greatly enhanced. Watch for more information about the specific capabilities and changes.
More cores: version 3.0 will support more hardware than any previous version of .NET Micro Framework. Stay tuned for more information from our partners as they announce their plans for .NET MF v3.0.
Emulator enhancements and diag enhancements are also included in v3.
.NET Micro Framework 3.0 will be available as a public beta later this summer. We'll announce the details in the newsletter as we get closer (if you're not already registered for the newsletter, sign up at http://www.microsoft.com/netmf. Make sure to let your favorite hardware vendor know if you'd like to use their hardware with the 3.0 beta. We'd like to have as many partners as possible offering pre-releases of their 3.0 support when the public beta begins.
Finally, congratulations to Sascha, who found 15 of the 17 features listed in the preview puzzle earlier this week. The complete list of terms is in bold type above.
So what do you think? Give us your feedback and send us a comment.