Last night was the Cross Platform Iot Session at CTXUG in Cape Town. The turnout was absolutely amazing! Thank you to all for coming it was a really fun evening!
Roger Weiss from Aliens kicked off with an overview of Windows 10 Iot Core and a few demos. These demos featured some awesome use of Microsoft Cognitive services and also some nifty voice controlled home automation.
It was then my turn. Unfortunately Chris van Wyk couldn’t make it this evening. 🙁
The session featured
Visual Micro for Visual Studio
Visual Studio Code with Arduino Extension which is now Open Source.
Xamarin Forms and Xamarin.Android with Android Things 0.41 Preview
The new Xamarin Iot preview for Linux based devices
Visual Studio has become a one stop shop for any type of development. But did you know you can do Arduino development as well? There is a Visual Studio extension called Visual Micro (http://www.visualmicro.com) which will allow Arduino development and debugging within Visual Studio IDE, with the full development experience you have become used to. This is a high level overview of what is provided.
What’s really great about having Arduino support within Visual Studio is, you can group together all the various different projects that makes up your solution all together within a Visual Studio Solution.
In a world of Iot and cross platform (or multi platform) development this is perfect. You could have one or more Arduino projects, .NET Micro framework projects, a Xamarin Mobile client and the back-end (be it an on-premise ASP .NET WEB API solution, or in the cloud with something like Azure Mobile Services) all managed together in a single Visual Studio solution.
Installing Visual Micro
Visual Micro can be downloaded here: http://www.visualmicro.com/page/Arduino-Visual-Studio-Downloads.aspx It is a Visual Studio extension which will be installed within Visual Studio. There is a version for both Visual Studio 2015 and 2017 RC. Be sure to have the standard Arduino IDE installed as well, as it uses this tooling under the hood. Arduino version 1.06 – 1.8 is supported.
The IDE Experience
Both a toolbar and a new menu is added to Visual Studio. The toolbar allows access to quickly configure the connected board and COM port used (via USB). It also allows quick access for building and debugging, however if the Arduino project is the startup project the debugging and build options work as usual direct from the Visual Studio hotkeys, toolbars and menu items. The menu allows for deeper configuration of the compiler, debugging options and other integration options.
Templates are provided to easily create a new Arduino Sketch or Library. Standard Arduino INO files are supported. These standard file types are also used when opening and saving to existing Arduino Sketch files, which ofcourse can be ported back to the Arduino IDE if need be.
The solution explorer is quite neat for the Arduino. All the source files, header files and external dependencies are presented in much the way you have grown accustomed to in Visual Studio.
The Visual Micro Explorer provides a visualization of all libraries installed. There is also reference material and documentation provided along with a collection of Example code. This is great for both learning and quickly looking up something.
The live tracing works great. There is also the standard port monitor which does live logging of the Com ports. In the screenshot provided the codes displayed are being reported from an infrared remote control in real-time. The ability to see everything happen, and be visible, at once in an IDE saves a whole load of time.
I’ve been using Visual Micro for a few Arduino related Iot projects and can definitely recommend using it.
Day 1 of Build 2015 has been great! The IoT inclusions especially have been very exciting for me.
We now have Windows 10 IoT core released and running on:
Raspberry Pi 2
Also very interesting and exciting news is, we have Arduino support from Microsoft.
Windows Remote Arduino
Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino
Let’s start by installing Windows 10 IoT Core Preview on a Raspberry PI 2. I know many of you that bought a PI just to do this, I know I did. 🙂
Start by downloading the “Windows_IoT_Core_RPI2_BUILD” from “https://connect.microsoft.com/windowsembeddedIoT/Downloads“. I had to accept some EULAs and click around before anything appeared to be selected for download. It could have also been a timing problem as I was a bit eager to download and perhaps it was not available that soon.
After a short wait, you should see: “Operation completed successfully”. Eject the SD card.
Insert the SD card into the SD card slot in the Raspberry PI 2. Plug the HDMI cable into the PI and of course the monitor. Plug the power cable into the Raspberry PI. After a few worrying minutes Windows 10 IoT should be all booted up. It will reboot once during the initial setup process and the interesting blocks displayed in-between the Windows Logo appearing and final boot-up seems normal.