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TPDP Episode #7: Developing For The Internet Of Things (IoT) And Where To Start

When it comes to software development there are many different items to develop for. I’ve spent most of my developer life creating applications for the web, desktop, and mobile, but when it comes to possibilities it doesn’t end there. In recent years the Internet of Things (IoT) has been taking over. In this episode of The Polyglot Developer Podcast, guest speaker Jen Looper and I discuss the Internet of Things and what you need to get started as a developer.

Jen Looper is a developer advocate at Progress Software, but is also a huge advocate for IoT. In Episode #7: Developing for The Internet of Things (IoT) and Where to Start, we’re going to discuss quite a bit, covering everything from a background on IoT to possible development technologies for various hardware.

This podcast episode can be found for free on iTunes and Pocket Casts, but in case you’d prefer to listen to it from your browser instead, it can be heard below.

For those of you that would rather read than listen, I’m going to summarize some of the things we discussed on the episode. This is just a summary so I encourage you to listen to the episode if you can.

What Exactly is Internet of Things (IoT)?

My skills when it comes to IoT are inferior in comparison to Jen’s skills. I personally thought that anything that was small was considered to be an Internet of Things device. Apparently to be a qualified IoT device it must be low energy. Common IoT devices fall in the realm of home automation. Popular home automation devices include Nest thermostats and anything similar. However it isn’t limited to only home automation.

Jen explains some of the differences and qualifications that make a device IoT compliant.

What Example IoT Hardware Exists, and is it Affordable?

I own a specific type of IoT hardware as mentioned in a few of my previous blog articles. I am a Raspberry Pi hoarder that owns at least one of every Raspberry Pi that has been released. Jen listed off a few devices that I hadn’t heard of, but I trust that she knows what she is talking about. Some hardware includes:

From personal experience, the Raspberry Pi units are priced between $5.00 and $35.00. The other hardware, according to Jen, runs around $25.00 which really is not too expensive.

What Programming Skills are Required?

In terms of developing for these devices, the programming technologies vary. For example Jen mentioned that Raspberry Pi’s work with Python, and Photon’s work with JavaScript.

While you can use other programming languages, if you want consistency, there are available SDKs that bridge the gap between devices. For example Johnny Five Framework and Cylon.js can help to fill the gap.

Don’t get scared away when it comes to developing for small devices. There are plenty of SDKs and APIs available to make the process easier.

What Resources are Available for Help?

There are plenty of ways to find help when it comes to Internet of Things. I personally find a lot of value in Adafruit’s tutorial network, but Jen mentioned a few others.

A few of her favorites included:

Jen even created her own IoT tutorial network called Ladeez First Media.

Conclusion

The Internet of Things (IoT) is fascinating stuff. Being able to pick up cheap hardware the size of a stick of gum and program for it is awesome. Jen Looper very good at what she does and is an excellent resource when it comes to tinkering with technology. If you’re in the area when she presents, it is worth paying her a visit.

If you have questions regarding this particular episode, use Twitter and we’ll get back to you.

Nic Raboy

Nic Raboy

Nic Raboy is an advocate of modern web and mobile development technologies. He has experience in Java, JavaScript, Golang and a variety of frameworks such as Angular, NativeScript, and Apache Cordova. Nic writes about his development experiences related to making web and mobile development easier to understand.

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