.NET Micro Framework Service Pack 1

First service pack ships for .NET Micro Framework.

Microsoft has released a service pack for the junior framework in its family of programming models for small devices, the .NET Micro Framework 2.0.

The pack, made available for download last month, includes a tool that can be used to block anyone from installing unsigned code on a device. It also provides an upgraded MFDeploy tool for configuring firmware, as well as the ability to generate bitmap fonts from a TrueType font, extending localization capabilities.

"This really addresses some of the requests we got from customers who are moving from pilots to manufacturing," says Jonathan Kagle, senior program manager for Microsoft's .NET Micro Framework.

Enterprise Ambitions
Despite these additions, the Micro Framework remains Redmond's preferred platform for developing to devices that aren't powerful enough to support a bona fide operating system, compared to frameworks such as Windows Mobile 6.

Kagle insists, though, that the Micro Framework has gotten a lot of interest from enterprises. "A lot of people don't realize that they can target devices that are smaller," he says. "Having something that's still occasionally connected but still an intelligent endpoint has a lot of interest for enterprise developers." One example might be an ice cream truck, he says. The company who owns the truck may want to attach a device to the cooler door to monitor and collect temperature information.

But Kagle concedes that these scenarios to date are probably largely just that. "It's definitely in the interest phase. I'm not sure we're talking about specific corporate situations."

First Dev Efforts
Dev efforts to date seem confined for now to the device-maker community, for which the Micro Framework seems best suited. Companies including SJJ Embedded Micro Solutions LLC and EmbeddedFusion made announcements around the framework in September.

SJJ Embedded, for example, is shipping its Embedded Development Kit (EDK) for the Micro Framework. It consists of an EMAC iPac-9302 Single Board Computer pre-installed with the framework, sample source code, guidance and accessories.

SJJ says the product is aimed at students and others who wish to learn how to write apps against small devices.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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