Microsoft's Internet of Things (IoT) initiative just added a bunch of new features through the Fall Creators Update, including better language support, .NET standard 2.0 compliance, and better support for Windows Ink.
Here's the full rundown of the features that should help developers bring IoT solutions to the market faster:
- Richer .NET API surface for UWP apps. The set of managed types that can be used to build Universal Windows Platform apps using C# or Visual Basic has been augmented with thousands of additional APIs to make it compliant with .NET Standard 2.0. These additional APIs and tooling in the Fall Creators Update make it much easier to port existing .NET code and libraries to UWP.
- The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is ideally suited for building apps with natural user interfaces. We’ve improved ink support on Windows 10 IoT Core so that you can now utilize DirectInk APIs for highlighter, pencil, and vector-based ink. We’ve also added XAML ink controls for UWP, including InkCanvas and InkToolbar, which enable stencils like rulers and protractors. Multi-modal interactions such as simultaneous pen and touch are also now supported on compatible hardware.
- Assigned Access is a feature in Windows 10 IoT Enterprise that enables single-purpose devices like kiosks to provide users with a specific experience by restricting a user account to using a single Universal Windows app. With the Fall Creators Update, we’ve expanded Assigned Access support to allow running multiple UWP and Win32 apps in a locked-down experience that can be configured from the cloud.
- We’ve updated language capabilities on Windows 10 IoT Core to support the following languages: Chinese (Simplified, China), English (United Kingdom), English (United States), French (France), French (Canada), Spanish (Spain, International Sort), Spanish (Mexico).
- Rather than having to build custom out-of-band management solutions to handle device-specific troubleshooting, we’ve enabled Emergency Management Services on Windows 10 IoT Core. This provides an alternate communication channel to a device for performing low level hardware checks and basic troubleshooting tasks without relying on the operating system.
- Many IoT devices interact with other hardware devices or the physical world via standard buses like GPIO, I2C, SPI, and UART. We’ve enabled user mode bus access on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise through the Windows.Devices APIs, just like on Windows 10 IoT Core.
- On certain types of IoT devices such as point-of-sale solutions, low-power line displays are important for communicating essential information to customers. We’ve extended support for controlling customer facing 2×20 line displays by enabling customization of the cursor style, brightness, blink rate, and character sets. We’ve also added support for custom glyphs, transaction descriptors, and marquee mode for scrolling text.
- To monitor and manage Windows 10 IoT devices, we have released our Device Management (DM) client which connects to Azure IoT Hub to provide a cloud-based device management solution. The DM client leverages the Configuration Service Provider (CSP) infrastructure in Windows used by other device management solutions, so now you can manage that same rich set of policies from the cloud. Visit the Windows IoT DM Client site on GitHub for more details.
"One of the most challenging aspects of any IoT project is bringing together all the pieces and technologies needed to make a full solution," Rushmi Malaviarachchi, Microsoft's Partner Group program manager, said in a blog post announcing the IoT details. "Windows 10 IoT simplifies this process by providing a more complete platform to start from."
In addition to the new features, the update offers a preview of functionality coming in future updates, such as Redstone 4. Users can evaluate them while they are still in development. It also has simplified the integration between Windows 10 IoT and Azure IoT.
Malaviarachchi said his group is "committed to providing the best platform for building cloud-connected devices that bring intelligence to the edge," and that developers can expect even more tools and features in coming updates.