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Microsoft slims down Windows 10 IoT for Raspberry Pi 2 and Minnowboard Max

Steve Rogerson
August 13, 2015
 
Microcosft has announced the public release of Windows 10 IoT Core, a smaller version of the operating system aimed at the Raspberry Pi 2 and Minnowboard Max. The release requires a development machine running the 7/29/2015 release of Windows 10 (Build 10240) and Visual Studio 2015.
 
Windows 10 IoT Core is targeted towards small, embedded devices that may or may not have screens. For devices with screens, Windows 10 IoT Core does not have a Windows shell experience; instead users can write a Universal Windows app that is the interface and personality for the device.
 
IoT core is designed to have a low barrier to entry and make it easy to build professional grade devices. It’s designed to work with a variety of open source languages and with Visual Studio.
 
“Oh, and you can also use it to build robotic air-hockey tables,” said Microsoft’s Steve Teixeira in a blog post.
 
As well as support for Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, its features include:

  • Improved support for Python and Node.js, including an Express Node.js project template;
  • GPIO performance improvements on the Raspberry Pi 2 by 8x to 10x;
  • Analogue-to-digital converter and pulse-width modulation supported via breakout boards and ICs; and
  • Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs to give apps easy control over system management features such as time zone and network connections.

“The developer experience has been a high priority for our team as we’ve built Windows 10 IoT Core, and we hope this shows when constructing apps for this platform,” said Teixeira. “Our philosophy is that we want to make it easy for developers to use the languages and frameworks they prefer to build IoT device apps.”
 
This means full support for the standard UWP languages such as C++, C#, JS and VB, but it also means bringing support – including tools, debugging and project systems – for Node.js and Python.
 
“The project templates for the standard UWP languages create projects that look like standard UWP projects, but for Node.js and Python we’ve worked hard to make these apps look and feel just like they do on other platforms,” he said.
 
There were a variety of changes in the VS project system between the //build/ and RC and RTM. For the most part, application code will remain functional, but the project itself will need to be rebuilt. The recommendation from the Visual Studio team is to build a new project and move the code over into the new project shell.
 
“As part of our engagement with the broader community, we’ve worked with the community to support as many open source options as we can,” said Teixeira. “You can find all of our IoT samples on Github, as well as documentation and a growing set of libraries and helper tools. Even our project system and runtime support for Python and Node.js is available open source on Github.”
 
When samples start turning into full projects, developers will be able to find them on Hackster.io.
 
“We’ve also worked with our friends at Arduino to make it very easy to talk to Arduino boards from Windows and even for Arduinos to talk to Windows devices as if they were virtual shields,” he said. “We built IoT Core and the corresponding developer tools to make it easy to build projects that are fun and cool, as well as those that have very practical uses in the real world.”