You can build without React or Blues Wireless, but why would you?Staff Software Engineer
Welcome to the start of a new blog series where I’ll attempt to show other people with web development backgrounds (like my own), just how simple Internet of Things (IoT) development can be with the help of the right tools like Blues Wireless.
It might not be immediately obvious, but React and Blues Wireless actually have a lot in common.
While neither is absolutely essential to building tech today, there’s no reason not to use them: both make the process infinitely easier.
Let’s face it, most of the time the hardest part of anything is getting started. Whether it’s a blank IDE staring at you as you gaze at your keyboard willing the code to appear, or an IoT-connected device, but no path to get the data from the real world where it originates to your virtual world where it will be useful.
It’s the worst, but that’s where these two seemingly unrelated pieces of tech converge.
Once that’s been accomplished, developers are free to focus on the more important (and fun) stuff: solving business problems and building useful tools, and less on if the server’s running on the right port, the code’s compiling, or they’ve correctly bound event handlers to clicks in the DOM.
Blues Wireless does the same thing - just for Internet of Things engineers (and especially the ones who know that where their hardware is going, reliable Internet connectivity is not just not a guarantee - it might not even be an option).
Instead of learning the archaic language of AT commands, negotiating exorbitant fees with cellular companies to transmit data to the cloud, and figuring out how to turn that cryptic cloud data into something useful, Blues takes care of all of that for you.
If you’re like me, you’re rolling your eyes right now after that last sentence. I get it - I too, would think what I’m saying is too good to be true. But it’s not.
Let me list my lack of IoT qualifications when I joined Blues Wireless. When I started, I:
After working at Blues Wireless for close to 4 months, I still can’t write or debug Arduino code.
Yet despite all this, within 6 weeks of starting there, I built a fully-functional asset tracker. This little guy collects GPS and temperature data, sends that data to the Blues Wireless cloud Notehub, and Notehub pumps that data to the low-code IoT platform Datacake where it decodes the data and displays it.
With the help of the detailed asset tracking documentation on the Blues developer site, in less than 30 minutes, I’d configured a Notecarrier-AF, equipped it with a Notecard to record its GPS coordinates, temperature, and motion data at an interval of once an hour, and pumped that data, in an easy-to-understand JSON data object, to a project I’d set up in the Blues Notehub cloud.
In another 30 minutes, I had my data in Notehub being sent to the Datacake platform, still in readable JSON format, and being interpreted to display the relevant GPS coordinates on a map.
The best part about all this? Notehub doesn’t just work with Datacake.
It works with (and has documentation to connect to) all the most popular cloud platforms:
Plus lots of low-code IoT platforms too:
Once that sensor data is in Notehub, it’s simple to send it anywhere else. And once it’s anywhere else, just hook into that platform like you would with any other third-party API service providing data. Easy peasy.
What I’m trying to do is connect the dots: React makes web development easier, and Blues Wireless makes IoT development easier.
Could I have set up this neat little asset tracker myself without Blues Wireless? Yes, probably.
Would it have taken me an exponentially longer time, and probably turned into such a frustrating, landmine-strewn obstacle course that I very well might have quit before achieving my goal? Also yes, quite likely.
And the same can now be said of IoT prototyping and development. Spend time on the low-level details, or choose Blues Wireless solutions and get to building the “cool, useful stuff” a whole lot sooner.
I’m sold. Are you?
If you’re ready to get started with your own IoT project, I recommend you check out our Getting Started documentation on our developer experience site. It’s what I used to get up and running with my project in no time at all.
Stay tuned for the next installment in this series: I plan to show you how to send data from Notehub to a cloud provider and then display it in your own React app with D3. We are developers after all, building cool data visualizations is fun.