Xively API: Connecting Devices to an IoT Platform

API developer skills will continue to be in ever-growing demand as infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT) takes shape. The new Xively API provides an opportunity for all developers to sharpen their skills around Web API and to learn how to develop new tools that make use of connected objects.

Xively, previously known as Cosm, and before that Pachube – offers a cloud-based platform to connect devices and create new products and service solutions.

The Xively API is RESTful, returning data in JSON, CSV, XML and PNG formats, depending on the attributes of specific resources (such as devices, datastreams, and feeds).

A range of open source libraries is maintained (hosted on Github) to allow developers to integrate to the Xively API from their Android, Arduino, C, Ruby, or other code.

Through the Xively interface, developers can define a connected device. This is then given a feed ID and an API key. The Xively API is then used to connect this device to the Xively platform so that developers can create products, such as a monitoring dashboard that streams realtime data from connected devices, or to create products such as automating machinery responses based on sensor data received. Some limited examples are given in the Xively showcase. These include a sensor kit to monitor plant growth, and household air quality sensors.

To understand the basics of connecting devices to a cloud-based Internet of Things platform, Xively has created a “test drive” tutorial that walks developers through an example of connecting a smartphone to the Xively platform.

According to research reported by Programmable Web guest author, Mark O'Neill, there are already more connected devices than people in the world, with an estimated 12 billion connected devices in operation. In this new connected landscape, APIs are the "enabler of the Internet of Things". For developers trying to get their head around the possibilities and possible future trajectories of a connected world, the Xively API platform provides a potential starting point.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.