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How to develop applications for the Internet of Things

Paul Rubens | Nov. 6, 2014
What's the best way to build an application that could do anything from control home appliances remotely to gather meteorological data from sensors to produce a weather forecast? Startups offering data ingestion platforms take much of the hard work out of developing for the Internet of Things.

The company employs one developer to write connectors in JavaScript that allow new sensors to communicate with the ThingWorx platform as manufacturers develop them. This code resides in ThingWorx. "Customer come to us and say they want to use a particular sensor with our solution," Donny says. "We form a relationship with the vendor and get [its] API, which is often poorly documented, and build a connector to ThingWorx for that product."

The company also employs four developers who work on the OnFarm Web application front end itself, mostly programming using Bootstrap, AngularJS, and JavaScript. This front end connects back to ThingWorx using RESTful APIs. "This process is very straightforward, which allows us to focus on data performance and flexibility in how we call and use data on the front end," he says.

OnFarm currently takes readings from more than 5,000 "things" for its customers, taking in more than 7 million pieces of data per month. This figure grows at a rate of 30 percent annually, Donny says.

Another advantage of the pre-built platform, he adds, is that its scalability has already been proven. This matters, as Internet of Things applications are relatively new. If the Internet of Things is to succeed as many people expect, then applications vendors such as OnFarm may be required to scale their offerings very rapidly in the coming years.


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