OpenPicus gets an IDE

Besides the fact that we are big Sun SPOTs fans, we also got increasingly more interested in the OpenPicus platform, not only because the constant motivation of the project founder Claudio Carnevali is impressive but mostly because the FlyPort (the OpenPicus wireless sensor node) is featuring a WiFi module and a Webserver (according to them our WoT community influenced them on that point) which makes it a nice, compliant, Web of Things device. 😉

Yesterday, the OpenPicus project released their free, open-source, IDE which supposedly makes it really easy to develop Web of Things applications backed by Wireless Sensor Nodes.

The team asked us to post some news about the IDE, instead of that, I decided to test it and report here:

  1. Got the IDE here. First small decrease of my tremendous motivation: the IDE is .NET/Windows-based, hem, slightly strange choice provided the WoT community is probably 50% mac, 50% Linux (or it least I’d like to believe so), but let’s not be so futile, and simply remove the dust off my XP VMWare virtual machine.
  2. The IDE requires the .NET 4 framework which installed smoothly on my VM.
  3. Unzip, sorry un-rar (Duh! Ok, let’s download 7 Zip) the IDE.
  4. No install required, neat, the IDE starts smoothly. It has a familiar Office 2007 / 2010 look and feel. It’s actually not bad, simple and quite efficient. The code-completion works fine which really helps discovering the OpenPicus and FlyPort API.
  5. I plug my FlyPort for the first time in my VM, again it is smoothly discovered as a USB/Serial port, which means the install does not need any additional driver.
  6. This video, guides you through your first FlyPort project. The whole process ran smoothly on my VM as well (for people using Linux like me and wanting to use the OpenPicus IDE in a VM, make sure you get a WiFi dongle, as VMWare maps any native WiFi interface of your computer to a wired network in the guest operating system.
  7. The video also shows how to deploy the native Webserver to the FlyPort, which takes, in essence, 3 clicks and is entirely customizable so that you can make your services truly RESTful, very neat!

To sum up, I need more experience with the device to really judge it (coming soon!) but it seems like a very good platform for easly prototyping Web of Things applications, very good job! On the drawbacks I would have liked a Java, cross-platform, version of the IDE and Flyport stack rather than a .Net one but I must admit that the IDE’s simplicity and integration is impressive and after all what only really matters to us is the out-of-the-box ability to hide the FlyPort’s internal language behind a Web API (more to come on that part as well, I’ll test the FlyPort against the Web of Things cookbook!).

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