What is it?
The “Sagitta Designer” is a hardware and software orchestration tool that runs within Visual Studio 2017 (VS15) and supports the graphical orchestration of hardware elements and the scaffolding of drivers and software to assist in prototyping and development. It is similar to Gadgeteer in concept, and does support the Gadgeteer mainboards, modules and buses, but also extends to Grove and ‘naked’ SPI, I2C, GPIO, UART, CAN, etc. It uses a generalized model for devices, interconnections, and software blocks. Sagitta Designer is meant to scale from initial prototype to final production and deployment.
When is it?
Although this draws from things I learned and built as part of Verdant, it’s still early days. A minimally usable version is probably at least four months away. We’ll use this thread to post status from time to time and solicit early adopters.
Where is it?
Ultimately, it will be up on the Visual Studio Marketplace, but again, we’re not quite there yet. Watch for an announcement here on this thread.
It is our intention to build hardware models for mass-production netmf/TinyCLR/nanomf capable boards, plus Raspberry Pi, plus Ingenuity Micro boards, plus two new series of Sagitta-specific boards that @Justin and I are working on. Think of the SagittaDR devices as ‘deployment-ready’ (e.g., hardened) Gadgeteer - these will be cased and cabled devices that are immediately field deployable. There will also be a line of SagittaG boards that are compatible with the Gadgeteer 10-pin cabling.
It is our intention to support netmf 4.4, TinyCLR, nanomf, and VisualGDB C/C++ projects with scaffolding/templating that will pull in drivers for the devices that you place on your design surface. Not every device will work with every software foundation (and we can only write stuff so fast, so we will have to prioritize). One of the key design points here is that it must be easy to ‘leave’ Sagitta Designer and continue to develop your project without the awkwardness that often came with trying to scale up a Gadgeteer project.
Right now I am working on parts management and @Justin is working away on compatible hardware. Gadgeteer was based on the Microsoft Domain Specific Languages SDK (or Modelling SDK). That meant that hardware models were mostly fixed at compile time. Sagitta Designer is not based on the DSL SDK and uses a downloadable set of hardware models that include schematic, iconic, breadboard and pcb definitions, and downloadable language templates (eventually for netmf, tiny, nano, and VisualGDB C/C++). I am also leveraging the Fritzing library CC BY-SA content for building parts libraries, and the Fritzing part editor can be used to create parts.
Call to action
It’s early days, so now is the time to let me know what you’d wish to see in such a package. What annoyed you about Gadgeteer? What would you like to see in the way of schematic capture, software scaffolding, etc.?
I can tell you that we intend to keep this free for hobby and educational use. We’ll have to offset the cost of hosting and Friday beers in some way, but that might be in the form of a commercial-use fee of some sort, or perhaps sponsorships from generous vendors.