by Peter Galli on February 01, 2010 09:48am

Great news about the .Net Micro Framework, which Microsoft announced in November was being open sourced and made available under the Apache 2.0 license. The community development site has just been launched, which is focused on supporting the collaborative development of the Framework. 

"This site is designed to be open just like our product is. There are lots of ways that you can use this site directly. I am hoping that this becomes the focus of a lively community interchange on the platform so give it a try. As always, your ideas and suggestions on how we can make the site more useful to you are appreciated," says Product Unit Manager Colin Miller.

Development work on a core implementation of the .Net Micro Framework will continue both at Microsoft and in conjunction with the larger .Net Micro Framework community. So far, a core tech team of volunteers from inside and outside Microsoft has been identified, which will work in specific areas to refine and direct project proposals and get them developed and accepted into the core code base. 

In addition to the features to be incorporated into the core codebase, there are other extensions and add-ons to the platform that people have made and will continue to make: some of which are free, while others are for sale.

The community web site includes a Showcase that allows the creators of all these extensions, as well as services, to be listed by their creators and found by users. If you have an extension, you can list it yourself on the site.

"As we found out with the Dare to Dream Different contest, held to see what cool ideas people could come up with a standard hardware reference board using the .Net Micro Framework, there are lots of great individual projects that people have created with the .Net Micro Framework. There is an Academic/Hobbyist discussion group where people can discuss their cool projects.  There is a discussion group on the web site for proposing and discussing projects. Let's start the ideas rolling - what did you always want to see in the product? Who can you enlist to get it in?" Miller says.

The advantage of the .Net Micro Framework is that it allows Microsoft to offer a single programming model and toolchain from small peripheral devices to the server and on to the cloud. It is a platform that allows current .Net programmers to extend their reach into small devices.

"At PDC I spoke with a programmer who was very excited about the Micro Framework because his company had just turned down a project which they could do almost all of, but which included a requirement for a small, power efficient device. With the Micro Framework, he would not have to turn down that work again," Miller says.