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Customer Review

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to the Netduino+ platform!, September 22, 2011
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This review is from: Make: Getting Started with the Internet of Things: Connecting Sensors and Microcontrollers to the Cloud (Make: Projects) (Paperback)
I purchased a Netduino Plus (N+) board for $60 from Amazon because I had outgrown the Arduino platform with its limited address space and it looked like the N+ with built-in Ethernet and MicroSD support would be great for my data-capturing application. On a whim I also decided to order the "Getting Started with the Internet of Things" (GSIOT) book because I had found the "Getting Started with Arduino" book (also from Make) to be helpful for my son to get started with Arduino and these books are both less than $15. I didn't realize until I received GSIOT that it was written specifically for the Netduino+ and includes many incredibly well thought out examples that have led me through really understanding how to effectively use the N+ and using the free Microsoft Visual Studio C# Express to program it and run programs in debug mode.

I would not recommend purchasing the GSIOT book unless you have a Netduino Plus to run the examples on. Because the N+ is programmed in C# using the .NET Micro Framework, the examples would probably be incredibly frustrating to port to another platform. For the N+ they are very instructional. I've done a lot of programming and implementations for many different small microprocessor platforms, various computer languages, and other programming learning exercises ranging from database to web page programming and each time I sought out the best learning material I could find and never have I had a learning experience go as smoothly as it has with Cuno Pfister's GSIOT book. He has come up with a series of examples that begin with a classic HelloWorld example and lead the reader through short example programs that blink an LED, read a simple sensor (a potentiometer), program the N+ as a client to the Pachube web service using three different methods, and finally programming the N+ to be a HTTP Server for sensors and actuators through his Yaler (relay in reverse) reverse HTTP relay service. The examples are as simple as they could possibly be (one reviewer has commented correctly that the board is over-kill for the examples) but still demonstrate some pretty sophisticated solutions to the problems one encounters in talking to and from the "cloud".

I really appreciated the insight that Dr. Pfister provided into the problems and their solutions because over the last few months I have "hacked" together my own methods for capturing sensor data and getting it to a database on a remote server and his examples have made clear some much improved solutions. The fact that he doesn't show me how to interface to a specific sensor or how to display to a specific display is not important since I can find many other sources for that information (and I really only expect so much for my $15!). It was very refreshing to have him show me how to do something with high-level calls to a library and then to show me how to do it with low-level calls to Sockets and to explain to me in both cases exactly what was going on. I also appreciated his acquainting me with the Pachube service as it's a real resource for me working out my solutions before I have to get my own services going. And his Yaler relay service to allow talking to my little N+ servers without having to mess with my home routers and DSL modem is fantastic!

One of the reviewers mistakenly said there were no versions of the examples available. I found the examples at [..] which is where I downloaded the Gsiot.PachubeClent and Gsiot.Server libraries from.

I'm really looking forward to implementing my projects on the Netduino Plus platform using the information I have learned from this book. I have gone back and forth on whether I like working in the Microsoft programming environment and for a while thought that nothing could ever be better than Java or C++ and Eclipse (and sometimes Arduino) for my embedded projects but I really think Microsoft has done a good job with "porting" .NET to work on small devices with the .NET Micro Framework and it's great that they've gotten the free Visual Studio C# Express version to work for developing on the Netduino platform, and that Secret Labs has put together such a cost-effective platform and, finally, that Dr. Pfister has put together such an awesome little book.
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