C# System Setup
The professional-grade Microsoft Visual Studio IDE is used to load (deploy) programs to the BrainPad. It also facilitates full debugging capabilities. The setup is large and requires a decent Windows machine as this is a full-featured tool that can be used to develop apps for computers, tablets and phones, just like you would on the BrainPad.
Complete system setup involves two main processes: Computer Setup to install Visual Studio AND complete the necessary settings, and then BrainPad Setup to allow the BrainPad to work with Visual Studio.
System Setup is only performed once, and all that is needed is a modern Windows computer and a BrainPad! If your PC and BrainPad are already setup, skip this lesson and go to C# New Projects Lesson. If unsure, scroll to Verify System Setup towards the bottom of this page to verify that the setup process has already been done.
This lesson provides the necessary prep steps to allow the use of Visual Studio with BrainPad and is not required to learn C#. Because setup does take some time, a teacher can perform the setup process in advance so learners can immediately start with the C# New Project lesson, or go to the C# Intro Lesson if a project was already created.
- Download and install Visual Studio: You will need to download Visual Studio 2019 Community on your Windows computer from the Visual Studio downloads page. Make sure to select the .NET desktop development workload when installing. Keep in mind that installation will take a while!
- Launch Visual Studio: Select Continue without code.
- Load the TinyCLR OS Extension:
- On the top menu go to Extensions > Manage Extensions.
- In the Manage Extensions dialog box, select Online in the left panel.
- In the Search text box in the upper right area of the window, type tinyclr to search for tinyclr. Then download TinyCLR OS Project System.
- Restart Visual Studio to let the extension installer complete the installation by closing the window and closing Visual Studio.
- Click Modify on the VSIX Installer window.
- It may take a bit for the extension to install completely. Just wait for the final verification window, then click Close.
- Now your computer is ready with the necessary software. Once these steps have been completed properly, you don’t need to do it again. Let’s set up the BrainPad next.
We now need to load the BrainPad with TinyCLR OS, which is the operating system that makes the BrainPad understand C# and allow it to work with Visual Studio. If you have multiple BrainPads, you will need to perform this setup for each one, but only once.
- Put the BrainPad into LOADER MODE: Connect your BrainPad to the computer using the included USB cable. To put the BrainPad into LOADER MODE, press and hold the A button, then press and release RESET while still holding the A button. You will hear a sound from your PC of the BrainPad reconnecting. The BrainPad is now in LOADER MODE.
- Visit the loader website: https://brainpad-board.github.io/online-loader/
- Install Firmware: Follow the steps on the loader website.
You have just completed the System Setup!
Your system is ready to start C# New Projects Lesson. In fact, your system is ready to create any kind of C# project, not just for the BrainPad!
Why would loading a simple program require such a large setup? Would you rather start quickly and be limited OR start with a complete setup and have no limits? This setup is made to get you and the system ready for very large and serious applications. You will start with a few lines of code, but this same setup can be used to make a PC application with a million lines of code! Having no limits enables learners of any skill level to reach their highest potential.