Embedded Development in the Past

Developing an embedded device from scratch and programming it with C++, C, or even assembly language can be challenging. Embedded developers are used to writing code that interfaces directly with the hardware. Running the software written for one controller on another platform will not work, even if the CPU core is the same. Every board has different buses, interrupt controllers, memory, and I/O interfaces. The tools and development environments for embedded development are not very easy-to-use or complete even today. Also, every CPU vendor provides its own compiler and development tools, and simulating hardware and debugging embedded applications on your development PC is hard.

A Different Approach
Standard hardware platforms with the .NET Micro Framework already on board provide a different approach. The .NET Micro Framework hardware features ready-to-use single-board computers with common hardware components such as memory, general purpose input/output (GPIO) ports, serial ports, and a display on board. The code to interface with the hardware components is already complete. You just need to write your application, and you can focus on domain-specific problems. The .NET Micro Framework abstracts hardware access through its base class library and treats hardware components as objects. That enables you to program hardware components in an objectorientated way. Instead of dealing with hardware details and setting bit masks to configure peripheral hardware, you just need to set the properties of an object. This approach is also referred to as a managed driver approach and will help make your embedded application independent from a particular platform. .NET Micro Framework applications can be programmed using C# and Visual Studio, Microsoft’s ubiquitous state-of-the-art development tool. If you are already programming .NET applications for the desktop, smartphones, or PDAs, you can continue using your everyday development tool. C# is a modern high-level programming language that allows you to write clear and reusable object-orientated code. With the .NET Micro Framework, every developer familiar with the .NET base class library and tools can also be an embedded developer!

Like the full .NET Framework and the .NET Compact Framework, the .NET Micro Framework runs managed code. The C# compiler generates a processor-independent intermediate language that the TinyCLR executes on the device. The next section describes the benefits of managed code.

Source of Information : Apress Expert Dot NET Micro Framework 2nd Edition (09-2009)


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