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Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Available on Analog Devices' Blackfin Processor

Managed-code application environment gives wide range of developers access to convergent processing platform

At today’s Embedded Systems Conference, Analog Devices Inc., and AxiomFount Inc. announced the availability of the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework on Analog Devices’ popular Blackfin processors. The move brings the popular managed-code application environment to the world’s only convergent processor family via AxiomFount’s AxiDotNet and integrated .NET Micro Framework solutions. This gives a broad community of application developers easy access to high-performance signal processing resources for the first time through Microsoft Corp.’s widely adopted Visual Studio development tools. The move to host .NET applications on Blackfin processors supports Microsoft’s focus on application development for media-rich embedded products applications.

“It is really exciting to see the growth in the capabilities and complexity of today’s embedded devices. More and more embedded applications are integrating rich media features and sophisticated processing needs. The Blackfin processor family is a great platform for supporting these applications, and .NET brings greater programmer productivity, especially when handling increasingly complex programming tasks,” said Colin Miller, product unit manager for the .NET Micro Framework at Microsoft. “With version 3.0 of the .NET Micro Framework, we are continuing to target the needs of embedded developers with advanced programming models. Together we are providing embedded developers with a development environment and a high- performance platform for cutting-edge applications to run on.”

The ability to use Microsoft’s Visual Studio tools with Blackfin devices instantly gives a large community of software engineers, already familiar with server and desktop application development in the Microsoft .NET environment, access to the powerful convergent processor family. The ability to utilize the larger pool of .NET application developers in conjunction with specialized embedded developers reduces development costs and schedules.

“In the embedded environment, developing rich media applications with high-end signal-processing algorithms has traditionally required specialized engineering resources,” said Jerry McGuire, vice president of the General Purpose DSP group at Analog Devices. “Bringing the .NET Micro Framework to the Blackfin family opens up convergent application development to a much larger population that includes application developers without traditional embedded software experience.”

The programming abstractions provided by the .NET Micro Framework ease the development of embedded products, allowing applications to be decoupled from the Blackfin hardware. In addition to full integration with Visual Studio, the .NET Micro Framework software development kit (SDK) is equipped with an emulator to simulate targeted hardware capabilities. The framework also enables device developers to connect diverse hardware solutions to virtually any peripheral device through industry-standard communication connections and managed drivers.

With .NET, the majority of Blackfin-based software is developed in the application layer using Visual C#, managed drivers and libraries in the Visual Studio environment; compared to development in C, C++ or assembly code. In addition, new applications and features can easily be added to existing Blackfin-based products with minimal or no effort at the hardware or platform abstraction layers.

The company's Web site address is http://www.analog.com/.

[Reprinted with kind permission from Analog Devices]

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