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Catching Up With the .NET Micro Framework

by James Vastbinder on Feb 19, 2008 |

Recently Microsoft Embedded Evangelist Mike Hall pointed out his port of Space Invaders to the .NET Micro Framework and called out fellow 'Softie Pavel Bansky for his port of Tetris.  While Mike wrote Space Invaders as a demo for a presentation last year, Pavel wanted to test the limits of WPF within the .NET Micro Framework.

In Pavel's own words:

I've always wanted to code Tetris, but as time goes on,this game looks a bit old fashion. Especially on those new computers with all bells and whistles, but this led me to idea of writing Tetris for .NET Micro Framework. It will be cool sample application and discovery of WPF possibilities in Micro Framework.

In order to develop on the .NET Micro Framework, developers have at their disposal the C# language and a subset of the .NET Framework libraries.  The actual footprint of the .NET Micro framework is only several hundred kilobytes.  Unlike the other versions of the .NET Framework, this smaller cousin was actually developed from scratch according to the ECMA specifications.

Because a developer's code is compiled to an intermediate language, as long as it is a 32-bit processor or a processor which will run 32-bit code, developers are provided hardware independence.  This is gained through porting of the .NET Micro Framework Common Language Runtime or CLR.  A downside to porting the .NET Micro Framework CLR, if it is not available for your favorite hardware platform, is that Microsoft is currently asking for a fee.  At present the SDK is freely available to developers on ARM7, ARM9, XScale, and more recently Blackfin. 

If developers have ported other games to the .NET Micro Framework, Mike Hall promises post a link once a video of the game is provided online.

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