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View Full Version : Windows CE as the hart of a system?


figuerres
01/05/2007, 04:52 PM
Just wondered if anyone has thought of this route?

CE would allow a lot of things to be done w/o to much work.

not as cheap as all chips and soldering but....

I can see a ce box controling a lot of stuff and providing pc access, web pages and the abality to write app's with .Net -- most of which could run on a PC also.

anyone have any thoughts on this ?

pista01
01/07/2007, 05:45 PM
There are many options for building a controller. CE will probably work fine as a controller. The important thing is are you comfortable developing on it and will it do what you want. I haven't tried .Net, as I do most of my development in Java or c/c++. When I built my controller, I wrestled with the choice of platform for a long time. In the end I decided on a Linux based mini-ITX platform, mostly for flexibility and cost. If I have a controller failure, I can boot any of my home PCs from a number of different bootable Linux distributions and run the controller code off a USB memory stick, complete with fairly current data and the embedded SQL and http server. I can even run it on Windows, although I mostly use Windows for the development.

What kind of hardware are you looking at for CE?

figuerres
01/07/2007, 09:25 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8921428#post8921428 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by pista01
There are many options for building a controller. CE will probably work fine as a controller. The important thing is are you comfortable developing on it and will it do what you want. I haven't tried .Net, as I do most of my development in Java or c/c++. When I built my controller, I wrestled with the choice of platform for a long time. In the end I decided on a Linux based mini-ITX platform, mostly for flexibility and cost. If I have a controller failure, I can boot any of my home PCs from a number of different bootable Linux distributions and run the controller code off a USB memory stick, complete with fairly current data and the embedded SQL and http server. I can even run it on Windows, although I mostly use Windows for the development.

What kind of hardware are you looking at for CE?

possibly a mini-x86 or an xscale board like this:
http://www.arcom.com/devkit-wince-viper.htm

I have done a fair amount of Linux and Sun OS in the past but for the last 4-5 years my work has been with .net

with .net and ce 5/6 I have SQL CE for an embeded SQL no cost.
with XP / XPembeded there is Sql Express - also free.

cost for a CE runtime is about $20 bucks a unit if I were doing production runs.

.Net -- check out Mono on Linux...

why .net - much the same as why Java - but with a few twists.

I don't want to push .Net on you - but if you want to know more ask and I can tell you....

I have for example a custom point of sale / management system that was build in less than 6 months by me with some help form 2 others - I did about 80% the other two guys each did about 10%
this includes a windows app, a sql db, 2 web sites, web services and a handled app on CE 4.1 -- it's been in production for over a year and is used by about 40 handhelds, 50 pc's and 4-5 admins
7x24 with solid uptime, two servers in the data center.
oh and a server that talks to a private ATM package
it's used outside the US so the ATM is for the locals - not part of the big US market.

so I think I know how to make things work ok :) and the good and bad points of .Net also...

Linux is great for firewall / router stuff.... I put several up for local small business who love it. :)

pista01
01/08/2007, 03:33 PM
I won't go into the benefits of Java since you're obviously a Windows and .net guy. It's good to be passionate about what you code in. I've never touched .net and probably won't have the opportunity anytime soon. For you, .Net is the perfect platform.

In my searches, most of the X86 based controllers I've seen use some kind of scripting language rather than a full blown development system. Not that scripting won't work, but something more integrated would certainly be higher on the cool factor.

Since you are going the x86 based route, you might want to consider looking at Maxim 1-Wire devices http://www.maxim-ic.com/1-Wire.cfm
You could buy all the necessary modules from various sources without needing to pickup a soldering iron. There is some good documentation on their web site. One of the features that I will be exploiting is the ability to store data on the devices themselves. The devices with memory can be written to like a file system. I will eventually store the configuration data in the network itself. That way one could have a hot standby controller watching for a failure in the primary, then take over the network and reload the configuration off the network.