Changing of the Guard


It has been a busy eight months since I rejoined the team to see if I could contribute to getting some wind back in the NETMF sails.   Since then we have started participating in conferences again (Build and Maker Faire among others), we have planned and demo'd major portions of version 4.4 which will be out in beta in a few weeks with a full release later this summer, and we have started work on the new architecture.    There has been a great deal of discussion on various forums about how to address several issues with the current product - specifically the lack of current language support, the performance of the interpreter, and the footprint of even simple applications.  We have been working quietly on an 'ahead of time ' (AOT) compilation model.  In the current model we take C# and create IL that is deployed to the device and executed by the interpreter.  In the AOT model we are taking C# and compiling it to native code which is executed directly.   While this sounds simple enough, there are a number of challenges to this including optimizing the output of the compilation process to remove all to the C# overhead that is not needed.  At this point we have the new architecture building applications and the results are very gratifying.   The full language support is in, the performance is comparable with or better than C++ options on the platforms we are targeting, and even without all the optimizations in place, the resulting apps are in the 10s of K range. There is still lots to do but at this point we are confident in the direction that we have taken.  It will still be a while before the system will see broad availability so version 4.4 is still an important release for us.    

Another thing that has happened in the last eight months is that we have built the team back up to levels that we have not seen in years.  This includes bringing Lorenzo Tessiore back on the development side as the technical lead for the project.   For those who don't know, Lorenzo has been with the project since its inception. 

All this brings us to a point where I can complete my plans that I put off to spend this period back on NETMF.   Today is my last day at Microsoft as I move into retirement.  This product has allowed me to work on great projects with great people both inside and outside of Microsoft.    I have been blessed with a great career in the industry and working on small devices has been the best part of it all.  I'll turn this blog over to Lorenzo who will follow up with more info on version 4.4 and the AOT project and what the timing on that will be. 

 

Best of luck to all of you. 

 

Colin

Comments (15)

  1. Jan Kučera says:

    It was a great pleasure to have you on the team – twice – and all my best wishes to you!

    Hopefully we will have an opportunity to meet again at some point.

    Jan

  2. Phillip Dimond says:

    Colin – thanks for all you have done in an impressively productive career and all the very best for your retirements. I am sure everyone is excited at the idea of bare metal AOT compilation of the .NET MF

  3. Brett P says:

    Well done Colin on your latest stint in NETMF land, it's been great having you as such an influential part of the community.  And thanks for handing over the reigns to Lorenzo, can't think of anyone better to help fill the gap.

  4. Ian Lee says:

    Colin, you will be greatly missed in the NETMF community and while I'm sad to see you leave I'm happy that you're able to retire and enjoy some time off.  Thank you very much for your contributions over the years.  I look forward to whatever Lorenzo brings us in the future.

  5. jose fajardo says:

    best of luck with your retirement and thankyou for the great product you and your team have built, .NETMF 🙂

    Know that there are many out here in the world that love your work, and make a living from the code you've written!

  6. G. Andrew Duthie says:

    Best of luck to you in retirement, Colin! I'm delighted I got the chance to meet you and interact with you during your time on the NETMF team.

    Don't be a stranger (not that I think you could stay away from the maker space)…hope to see you at a Maker Faire in the future!

  7. Rob van Schelven says:

    Thanks for making this NETMF project happen and enjoy your retirement!

  8. paolopat says:

    Thanks for all  your work Colin. Now the .Net Micro Framework has a bright future and I'm sure that Lorenzo will continue this great work.

    Best of luck … last .Net Micro Framework hero 🙂

  9. Chris Walker - Secret Labs says:

    Thank you, Colin, for everything you have done for Microsoft and the .NET Micro Framework community.  

    You will be missed.

    P.S. Thank you for everything you have done to get the .NET MF team booted up and headed in an awesome direction.  We're all looking forward to using the awesome product of the team's labors for many great years to come.

  10. JoopC says:

    Colin,

    thank you so much for your contribution all those years.

    For me personally it’s a sad day to see you go.  

    Spend your free time well and go a lot fishing.

    JoopC Netherlands , big fan of Netduino

  11. lorenzotessiore@hotmail.com says:

    Colin, all testimonials make a very clear statement to the quality and impact of your work. Your departure is very impactful for me, we have been working together on cutting edge technologies for a long long time, and we came a long way from where we started. It has been a great ride, fun, exciting, we learned a lot, never boring. Also, let's say it, you have been just the best boss ever, and your visionary leadership, suggestions and guidance will be missed. We hope we will be able to fill the gap you are leaving and we will be back soon on these pages with some exciting news about our AOT efforts.

  12. njbuch says:

    Colin, thanks from the Mikrobus.Net team for your fantastic effort. NETMF is looking better than ever!

  13. Rocky Booth says:

    Colin: Great job.  When I read the October 2013 blog I thought that I was totally misguided in looking to NETMF, but you and the others really turned the ship around.  Very impressive.

    Your comments indicate that the best is yet to come!

    Enjoy!

  14. Jordan Mills says:

    Thanks for the update, and thanks for all the hard work to get NetMF back on track.  Enjoy retirement!

  15. Andreas Schloffer says:

    Colin, thanks from the AUG Team as well! It always was a pleasure working with you. Thank you so much for your help, support and your work for the .NET Micro Framework.

    We wish you all the best for your leasure future. God bless you.

    Andreas

    PS: We only can dream of what had happened If we had AOT from the very beginning … but I am sure, it would have been a completely different story. Good to hear the team is trying to turn the coin for better now.

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