We .net programmers are definitely proud that .net is everywhere. Today .net is everywhere from controlling satellites to controlling bicycles. You heard it right, my fellow employee Colin Miller has already developed an application using .Net micro framework which reads every data from a bicycle through cloud. So whats interesting? Right from the device and sensors fit in the bicycle to the Azure and the end user application runs on .net and this is something we should be proud of. Through this article we will discuss more about the same application and how .Net micro framework can make your wildest dreams of any programmer come true.
.Net Micro Framework
Well if you are still wondering what is this framework and if it sounds greek to you , then you advice visiting the home page http://www.microsoft.com/netmf/ and as you might be wondering how this could be, I would love to stress a point that micro framework can run on as small as 64K of RAM. There are already more than 1.5 million devices running on this framework. So next time before you operate your washing machine or may be even when you sneak and steal the remote from your wife to change the soap channel to sports channel, you could suspect if it runs on .Net Micro Framework.
As I have mentioned earlier, Colin Miller (Product Manager, .Net Micro Framework, Microsoft) is the proud developer of this project. The interesting part is that he mentions that he hasn’t programmed for his daily life since 20 years and if you assume that Colin Miller is from an embedded background who can make wonders with programming embedded devices, then I am sorry to say that you are wrong. Colin Miller is no embedded programmer and what he has developed is with his .net knowledge.
Hard to believe that this is an embedded program? If you are still suspecting, yeah it’s true .NET Micro Framework can make use of DPWS (Devices Profile for Web Services) to connect with any application using SOAP over HTTP and I am pleased to announce that this is compatible with WCF. You can use WsHttpBinding or custom binding for communication.
Colin Miller has taken advantage of Azure services for the uploading of sensor / device data from the Bicycle through SOAP. Once the data is available over Azure, as we have extensively discussing about Azure on this blog, it can be used anywhere platform independent. For more information on this project, I would recommend you visiting the below links.
- Codeplex site for the project http://netmfbikecomputer.codeplex.com/
- Blog about the project http://blogs.msdn.com/b/netmfteam/archive/2010/05/25/bicycle-computer-1-introduction.aspx
- Article posted in MSDN magazine over .Net Micro Framework programming by Colin Miller http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg232761.aspx
If you are impressed or carrying a dream of becoming an embedded programmer, there cannot be a better opportunity. There are definitely a lot of books available for you to your skills and one of the suggested book is “Expert .Net Micro Framework“. Microsoft has a dedicated portal for Micro framework http://www.netmf.com/ where you can get all the resources about the framework and programming. A community development is also available where a developer can join and develop a product and showcase his. Forum for discussion on the problems you face and help on any development is available where the experts will help you. Also you can buy hardware and software development kits ready-made to enhance your skills and learn more.
My advice? Stop dreaming and start developing. Be it a simple lamp switch or a flying Iron Man, you can make you dream possible using .Net.