Headless Blinky

Microsoft provides the headless Blinky app as a preconfigured solution (Visual Studio is based on solutions. Each solution may contain multiple projects. You can compile and run each project separately). The Blinky solution contains a single Blinky project.

Rather than simply downloading Blinky and running it, we thought it would be more useful to go through the entire process of creating the Blinky solution.

Note: We'll be changing the wiring of the LED from the Microsoft version of Blinky, but otherwise it's all the same.

Step 1: Create Solution

  • Start a new instance of Visual Studio 2015
  • The Start Page will appear. Click on New Project…
  • This will bring up the New Project window
  • In the left-hand panel of the New Project window, navigate to Templates > Visual C# > Windows > Windows IoT Core
  • Select Background Application (IoT)
  • Give the project a name (“BlinkyHeadless”).
  • Enter a location for the solution/project folder. The default location is fine. Make sure the box labeled Create directory for solution is checked.
  • Give the solution a name (“Blinky”).
  • Click OK

A new dialog window will open, asking you to choose the target and minimum versions your Blinky app will support. Choose the target and Minimum versions to match the version of Windows IoT you have running on your Raspberry Pi. If you’re not sure, check the main HDMI display or Device Portal to check the installed version.

Click OK and the Blinky Solution will open.

In the center of the window, you’ll see the code-editing panel. In the upper right is the Solution Explorer panel:

The Solution Explorer shows that the Blinky solution contains the BlinkyHeadless project. The code window is open to the StartupTask.cs program file. Except for the References item, you can ignore the other files listed in the Solution Explorer for now.

Step 2: Add IoT framework

Even though we used a Windows IoT Core template for creating our solution, we still need to add the IoT Framework to our BlinkyHeadless project. In the Solution Explorer, right click on the line that says References, and select Add Reference…

This will bring up the References Manager. In the References Manager Window, navigate to Universal Windows > Extensions. In the list, find Windows IoT Extensions for the UWP. There may be more than one item with this name. To the right of each item, you’ll see a version number. Select the items that match the Target and Minimum versions you entered earlier.

When you select an item, a checkbox will appear to the left of the item. Check the box for each item you select.

Click OK to add the references to your project.

This guide was first published on Aug 03, 2016. It was last updated on Aug 03, 2016. This page (Headless Blinky) was last updated on Jul 20, 2019.