Design Patterns for Internet of Things Applications – Part 1: Problems

featured imageIntroduction

Since the introduction of the World Wide Web, twenty years ago, web technology has been so overwhelmingly successful and proved so adaptable that many people, even technologists, equate web technology with the Internet as a whole.  With the approaching advent of the age of the Internet of Things, it’s understandable that most people will favour applying the technologies & design techniques that they have grown up with to IoT.

To create efficient and useful systems for IoT, we need to revise both our design thinking and tools with regard to overall architecture and, especially, user experience.

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Create your own widgets with ThingStudio.

We’ve a lot of requests from people who want to create their own widgets with ThingStudio. So, here is a tutorial on creating new, reusable graphical controls with ThingStudio.

Today, we’ll create a Thermometer widget like this:
finished

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ThingStudio 0.3 Preview

HTTP

Hi folks,

Once again, we’ve been overly quiet while we beavered away making new stuff for ThingStudio.

So, apologies for the radio silence, and here is what is coming shortly to ThingStudio.

HTTP!

We have had a number of requests for support for an HTTP transport so that’s what we’ve put in.

The new HTTP connections and feeds will allow you to connect directly to both devices which are HTTP-aware, and to a wide variety of web platforms and services.

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Getting Connected – Free MQTT brokers for ThingStudio

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Introduction

Often, the first steps in any project seem to be the hardest. So it is with ThingStudio. Often people get stuck at the step, which with ThingStudio is getting access to an MQTT broker. This post lists some of the many different ways to get an MQTT broker for use with ThingStudio.

ThingStudio has only one real requirement for working with brokers, and that is that they should support websocket connected clients. All the solutions listed here pass that test.

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ThingStudio 0.2.0 Preview

You may have noticed that we have been a little quite on the blog and forum lately. It certainly hasn’t been quiet here at ThingStudio Tower, we’ve been heads down working on the next, major release. We hope to be able to get this out in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, we thought we’d give you a idea of what is in it.

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Using a Spark Core with ThingStudio

Using a Spark core with ThingStudio

Last week, I was walking around Maker Faire UK with my walkabout ThingStudio demo. The hardware was based around the Spark Core Wifi dev board. I thought I’d go through the demo hardware and software so you can see how to use Spark with ThingStudio. This recipe should also work with the Spark Photon and Electron when they come out, especially if Spark send us some early units to test (hint, hint).

Let’s start with the hardware, this was pretty basic, just a potentiometer on A0, a servo attached to A1, and the RGB led on the board. This collection of bits was just intended to demonstrate the UI features of ThingStudio clearly, rather than to do anything in particular. A pack of AA’s on the back made the whole thing pocketable

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ThingStudio MQTT message payloads now all JSON

All messages in and out of ThingStudio are now JSON

Hello everyone, thanks for the way you have embraced ThingStudio and actually started making stuff. We are getting a ton of suggestions, and so far, few complaints, so we are pretty happy.

As we’ve been looking at the way forward, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to make some changes that will be of enormous help in the future, but mean that you will need to adjust your screens and MQTT code on Things. We think that the sooner we do this the better, before both you and us have a lot of code to change.

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How to Use MQTT & Raspberry Pi to Make the Ultimate IoT hub

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A Raspberry Pi makes a really great central hub for small IoT networks. It is very inexpensive, it consumes very little power and it has no fans or other mechanical parts that might cause failure. This post shows you the steps to get up and running with an MQTT broker, and node-red, a great visual programming tool, which works great with ThingStudio.

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How to use a Plain ol’ Arduino with ThingStudio

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NOTE: Since this article was written, ThingStudio has gone to all JSON payloads for MQTT message.

This mean that the original delimiter for messages to and from the Arduino, which was a colon character, could not longer be used as it conflicts with JSON. We’ve changed the serial bridge to use the pipe symbol. Now read on…..

If you would like to try out ThingStudio, and don’t own the requisite networking hardware, but do have a standard Arduino Uno or other device with just a serial connection, do not despair!  We have created a useful program which will get your ‘duino running with ThingStudio in no time.

The DesktopMQTT is a simple to install Macintosh application that provides two, independent, functions. First, it gives you your own, local, MQTT broker. Second, it provides a bridge between the serial connection you have to your Arduino (or indeed, anything else with a serial connection), and your MQTT broker, and thus, to ThingStudio. Today we’re just going to use both of those functions. Tip: For a quick backgrounder on MQTT you can look here. For a more permanent MQTT broker which works on Raspberry Pi and other small platforms, checkout mosquitto.org, and use the latest one.

Right, let’s get started.

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