Windows Embedded Compact 2013: a developer’s perspective

Posted By Colin Murphy
Technical Program Manager, Microsoft’s Windows Embedded

What is Windows Embedded Compact 2013? It is just the latest, and of course greatest, version of Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Compact componentized OS, formerly known as Windows CE. Did you know that Microsoft has been in the embedded space with this operating system for over 15 years?  In that time, this little OS has evolved from one target category--small handheld devices--to a general-purpose embedded system that powers everything from tiny controls, to retail POS terminals, to the automation of high-end manufacturing. Windows Embedded Compact continues to differentiate itself within Microsoft, and within the larger ecosystem, as an operating system targeting small-footprint devices that need real-time performance and silicon flexibility.

Windows Embedded Compact technology powers everything from tiny sensors to entire industrial automation factories like this Kuka Systems Group Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.

This latest version of Windows Embedded Compact offers the newest in Microsoft tools and more:
• Platform Builder and Application Builder in Visual Studio 2012
• New release of the .NET Compact Framework, Version 3.9
• Hard real-time support in the OS
• Multiple Processor Support (SMP)
• Faster file system support
• Increased networking throughput
• <500 ms Fast Boot
• 2 Second Snapshot boot

So what is Platform Builder? It is the collection of all the development tools necessary for you to design, create, build, test and debug a Windows Embedded Compact–based platform. Platform Builder hosted in Visual Studio 2012 inherits not only the familiar Platform Builder experience that existing Windows Embedded Compact developers use, but also offers all of the latest Visual Studio 2012 experiences as well. This includes, but is not limited to, the latest ARM and X86 compilers and GUI including “IntelliSense,” which helps speed up app development.

And what is Application Builder, you ask? If you are familiar with Visual Studio Smart Device Development, then Application Builder is the new world! Applications Builder partnered with an SDK spun from Platform Builder gives an application developer the ability to create applications targeting a specific device. Application Builder SDKs are all-inclusive and contain not only all matching header and library files, but application templates and tool sets as well, ensuring matching files, end to end, from the device to the app!

Are you a managed application developer familiar with the .Net Framework? If so, you will feel comfortable targeting the “compact” version! Application developers can use either Visual Basic or Visual C# in combination with the latest version of the .Net Compact Framework Runtime, .Net CF 3.9. This latest version is optimized for multiple processors and has a garbage collector specifically tuned for small devices with limited space and power. Developing for these small footprint devices has never been easier than with this latest operating system, Windows Embedded Compact 2013.

Tune in next time, and I’ll talk about the importance of hard real-time support for an embedded device along with some of the other great features in the new Window Embedded Compact 2013, which is generally available today, June 13. Read more about Windows Embedded Compact 2013 on the Windows Embedded website, and in an article on the Windows Embedded News Center. Download the full toolkit here.

Comments (1)

  1. Mansukh says:

    Hi Colin, This is very useful information. I have a question. We are using WinCE 6.0 in our device. I wanted to know how difficult it is to port the software from this device to a Windows Embedded Compact 2013 based device… Mansukh

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