Today in APIs: SmartThings Mobile App and Developer Tools

Greg Bates
May. 22 2014, 05:23PM EDT

SmartThings makes bid for Internet of Things with updates to mobile app and developer tools. StrongLoop's LoopBack API gets upgraded for offline synchronization. Plus: New API for image tagging, and Blackberry looks to solve an IoT problem.

SmartThings Bid for IoT Hinges on Upgraded App, Developer Tools

SmartThings is aiming to be a big player in the IoT space in the home, having created a platform for developers and a certification program to match. The platform now supports over 100 devices and has 5,000 developers building apps.
 

There could be some mixed blessings in the home IoT world. In the graphic, note the tag down by the dog bowl. A mouse rollover on the site suggests that the bowl can listen to the dog or cat and can remind owners it's time for feeding. The thought of my dog mastering the IoT connected to her bowl to prompt the app to train me to feed...is there something backward here? According to Ryan Lawler at Techcrunch, SmartThings has found that the more IoT objects connected to the app, the more often users use the app:

The newest version of the app is designed to further simplify the onboarding process for new users and new devices. It makes it easier for consumers to set up actions and alerts for a growing number of supported devices on the platform, and provides a unified dashboard for managing all of them once connected. To provide that support, the company is standardizing the process by which device manufacturers and developers can connect to its back end, with the formal rollout of its SmartThings Platform.

The average notifications a user gets has jumped from 5 to 15 over the past year. Wait until my dog gets ahold of this; mum notifications will go through the roof.

StrongLoop's LoopBack API Now Supports Offline Synchronization

StrongLoop, a provider of solutions for Node.js, has upgraded its LoopBack API framework to support offline synchronization. An open source API, LoopBack connects devices to enterprise data, now available for Oracle, SQL Server, and LoopBack connectors supporting CRUD.
 

As the company commented, the upgrade was imperative:

The ability to work offline has emerged as a requirement for almost all enterprise mobile applications that are data-driven. Up until now, developers first had to figure out how to locally store a subset of the application's data. Second, they had to implement a mechanism that could keep the data synchronized on both the client and server. The previous generation of synchronization and replication technologies that tried to address these challenges were low level and inflexible, with little variety of data sources they supported. Fine grained controls on the behavior for common use cases like change detection and conflict resolution were also lacking.

In terms of replication, the API now supports replicating data into data stores with better read performance, like Redis. The update should ease the pain of interfacing with legacy data systems.

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Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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