Why I love Gadgeteer and what it needs.

Nov 13, 2011 at 5:04 AM
Edited Nov 13, 2011 at 5:43 AM

If you build it they will come!


There is something absolutely beautiful about the standardized plug and play electronics beyond simple prototyping and hobbyists.  This is definitely a platform not just for the enthusiast but efficient small business in electronics.  By open sourcing the modules and simplifying the integration, I as an aspiring business owner can see myself developing mainstream and niche electronics without redundant inefficiencies of reinventing a wheel repeatedly!  For the hypothetical product "x", should I need a device to perform a given function, I can draw my development burden largely from the open source community.  This is a form of supplemental concurrent engineering as the components are already made and the enthusiast/engineering community will improve existing designs and weed out outdated ones.

What we need is an effective website to facilitate communication exchange.  This website will be appealing and ergonomic by design so that such an early technology will facilitate a feeling that microsoft is taking this seriously.  This is a lacking starter site, that said, what we need is a standardized library that allows users communicate, rate, and recommend designs.  The library should have detailed and standardized templates so that there is no patchwork.  All the while there should be a capacity to link members to manufacturers of those components should the user wish to order them and not deal with replicating the designs themselves.  This organization I feel will propel the technology much faster and being this early in the game, it will consolidate enthusiast to one location for optimal communication exchange, thereby rapidly propelling the platforms advancement.

Here is a rough draft proposal.

  1. Simplify the URL, http://gadgeteer.codeplex.com is pretty wordy.
  2. Hire a web designer to create a more polished and less beta-like website.  Don't be afraid to put some color.
  3. Employ a five star rating system for the hardware and software/coding.
  4. Employ the power of comments under the design that in turn can be rated, and organized by date or rating.
  5. Have a public forum with categories and multimedia enabled.
  6. Provide links to manufacturers if any for the hardware.
  7. Create a standardized template for the library allowing enthusiasts to submit designs in a clear and organized layout. 
  8. Enable the capacity to branch designs in order to show a clear projection of improvements (e.g. "version 1.1", next to "version 1.1 Sam's mod".).
  9. Employ design competitions creating a healthy competitive environment propelling innovation and adoption.
  10. Create a simplified and clear beginners curriculum so that potential adopters are further attracted away from the well established Arduino.
  11. Advertise more with videos linking from youtube.
Nov 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM


Thanks for the great feedback.  The Gadgeteer team is indeed working on a community site that will include a a library of Gadgeteer-compatible mainboards and modules, a showcase for projects that people have built with Gadgeteer, and multimed-enabled forums.  The first version of the hardware library doesn't have ratings but it's top on the list to implement in the next revision.

Longer-term, we hope the Gadgeteer community site will serve people who are curious about Gadgeteer or building projects with it.  This Codeplex site will remain the host for the core Gadgeteer libraries and other resources for people designing Gadgeteer-compatible hardware.

Again, thanks for sharing your ideas with us, and keep an eye out for the Gadgeteer community site in the next few days.

-- Kerry

Nov 18, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Sounds interesting!

Nov 21, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Hey Kerryh, can you send me a link or url of this website?

Nov 23, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Hi, the Gadgeteer community site is at http://netmf.com/gadgeteer.  It just launched and we're working hard this week to add more projects and get the forums running.  Please let us know if you have any feedback!

-- Kerry

Nov 23, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Constructive criticism, please consider.


  • way too cluttered, use comparison to http://www.arduino.cc/ (this looks cleaner, but still needs work).
  • featured product is way too big as a header, instead, make better use of space with shifting pictures similar to http://www.popularmechanics.com/
  • remove the Bing search, it feels separated compared to the built in search (I never liked the Google one either).
  • the logo is very uninspiring.
  • the sketch theme buttons and artwork look like a child's drawing.  
  • absence of color, looks very grayscale.
  • title subjects need some revising - "what is gadgeteer", might want to be rethought