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AllJoyn 101: Getting Started with AllJoyn

I just returned from giving a talk at the Linux Foundations Embedded Linux Conference in San Jose. It was an excellent event with very good information working in the embedded space, and it didn't just cover Linux, but also more general embedded tooling including tizin and AllJoyn. There was also a heavy emphasis on security in the embedded space, which is always a good thing to see as the number of devices continues to grow.

My presentation, available on github, was focused on introducing embedded developers to AllJoyn as a technology and take them through the process of writing an AllJoyn service for their embedded device. In order to deliver this content I chose to use the Heatworks Model 1 hot water heater as my example device. The Heatworks Model 1 is produced by a startup that participated in Microsoft Ventures fall 2014 cohort, where we became fast collaborators on IoT, Embedded, and Cloud.

Here you can see the generalized architecture that is required to build an IoT device and bring it to market. You can see the Model 1 on the left, with connectivity indicated both to the cloud and to local devices - here represented as mobile devices. Once data is pushed to the cloud it is available for storage, processing and analysis (the right side of the diagram).

The orange vertical connector on the Model 1 is where hardware will be added to add internet connectivity. The software I described in my talk should run on that board, making the Model 1 an AllJoyn device.

The Heatworks Model1

Here's the implementation of the service, available in github with a client that invokes each method to prove the implementation works.

Here's how to build the interface using the AllJoyn Thin Library:

/**
 * The interface name followed by the method signatures.
 *
 * See also aj_introspect.h
 */
static const char* const sampleInterface[] = {
    "com.myheatworks.model1",          /* The first entry is the interface name. */
    "?setPoint temp<y",                /* Set the water temperature */
    "?currentTemp temp>y",             /* Get the water temperature setting */
    "?softCurrentLimit current<y",     /* Set the soft current limit */
    "?currentDrawInstant current>y",   /* Get the current draw at this instant */
    "?timeOdometerValue time>i",       /* Get the number of seconds the unit has been running. */
    "?currentOdometerValue current>i", /* Get the integral of amps where dt = 4 seconds */
    NULL
};

/**
 * A NULL terminated collection of all interfaces.
 */
static const AJ_InterfaceDescription sampleInterfaces[] = {
    sampleInterface,
    NULL
};

/**
 * Objects implemented by the application. The first member in the AJ_Object structure is the path.
 * The second is the collection of all interfaces at that path.
 */
static const AJ_Object AppObjects[] = {
    { ServicePath, sampleInterfaces },
    { NULL }
};

And here's the resulting interface definition:

  <node name="/control">
    <interface name="com.myheatworks.model1">
      <method name="setPoint">
        <arg name="temp" type="y" direction="in"/>
      </method>
      <method name="currentTemp">
        <arg name="temp" type="y" direction="out"/>
      </method>
      <method name="softCurrentLimit">
        <arg name="current" type="y" direction="in"/>
      </method>
      <method name="currentDrawInstant">
        <arg name="current" type="y" direction="out"/>
      </method>
      <method name="timeOdometerValue">
        <arg name="time" type="i" direction="out"/>
      </method>
      <method name="currentOdometerValue">
        <arg name="current" type="i" direction="out"/>
      </method>
    </interface>
  </node>


Here's the service implementation (I have eliminated some code to make this more compact and easier for viewing):

#define BASIC_SERVICE_SETPOINT             AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 0)
#define BASIC_SERVICE_CURRENT_TEMP         AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 1)
#define BASIC_SERVICE_SOFT_CURRENT_LIMIT   AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 2)
#define BASIC_SERVICE_CURRENT_DRAW_INSTANT AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 3)
#define BASIC_SERVICE_TIME_ODOMETER        AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 4)
#define BASIC_SERVICE_CURRENT_ODOMETER     AJ_APP_MESSAGE_ID(0, 0, 5)

int main(int argc, char **argv)
{
    <…>

    /* One time initialization before calling any other AllJoyn APIs. */
    AJ_Initialize();
    AJ_RegisterObjects(AppObjects, NULL);

    while (TRUE) {
        AJ_Message msg;

        if (!connected) {
            status = AJ_StartService(&bus,
                                     NULL,
                                     CONNECT_TIMEOUT,
                                     FALSE,
                                     ServicePort,
                                     ServiceName,
                                     AJ_NAME_REQ_DO_NOT_QUEUE,
                                     NULL);

           <…>
            connected = TRUE;
        }

        status = AJ_UnmarshalMsg(&bus, &msg, UNMARSHAL_TIMEOUT);

       <…>

        if (AJ_OK == status) {
            switch (msg.msgId) {

        <…>

case BASIC_SERVICE_SETPOINT:
                {
                    uint8_t setPoint = 40;
                    AJ_Message reply;
                    AJ_UnmarshalArgs(&msg, "y", &setPoint);
                    /* Check bounds */
                    if (setPoint > SPMIN && setPoint << SPMAX) {
                        AJ_AlwaysPrintf(("Setting set point to: %d F.\n", setPoint));
                        /* Make set setpoint call */
                        AJ_MarshalReplyMsg(&msg, &reply);
                        AJ_InfoPrintf(("Set target water temperature returned %d, session_id=%u\n", status, sessionId));                       
                    } else {

                    }
                    status = AJ_DeliverMsg(&reply);                
                }
                break;

           <…>

            case BASIC_SERVICE_SOFT_CURRENT_LIMIT:
                {
                    uint8_t currentLimit = 10;
                    AJ_Message reply;
                    AJ_UnmarshalArgs(&msg, "y", &currentLimit);
                    AJ_AlwaysPrintf(("Setting soft current limit to: %d amps.\n", currentLimit));
                    /* Actually set the set point! */
                    AJ_MarshalReplyMsg(&msg, &reply);
                    AJ_InfoPrintf(("Setting soft current limit: returned %d, session_id=%u\n", status, sessionId));
                    status = AJ_DeliverMsg(&reply);                
                }
                break;

            <…>

            default:
                /* Pass to the built-in handlers. */
                status = AJ_BusHandleBusMessage(&msg);
                break;
            }
        }

        /* Messages MUST be discarded to free resources. */
        AJ_CloseMsg(&msg);

        if ((status == AJ_ERR_SESSION_LOST || status == AJ_ERR_READ)) {
            AJ_AlwaysPrintf(("AllJoyn disconnect.\n"));
            AJ_Disconnect(&bus);
            connected = FALSE;
            /* Sleep a little while before trying to reconnect. */
            AJ_Sleep(SLEEP_TIME);
        }
    }

    AJ_AlwaysPrintf(("Basic service exiting with status %d.\n", status));
    return status;
}

This code enables the Heatworks Model 1 to implement an AllJoyn Service interface, enabling AllJoyn aware applications and devices to interact with the hotwater heater. The interface is also simple enough to allow for teaching others how to build AllJoyn services on stage at an event like the Embedded Linux Conference.

There are improvements to both the service and the process that could be made, most importantly:

  • Bounds checking parameters
  • Checking return types
  • Ensuring return messages contain appropriate success/failure messages

These things should be done before this code is ever put into production. I'm sure the Heatworks folks are prepared for that, given the success of their product launch so far. Happy Hacking!