Web-Based Applets Allow Creating IoT Physical Devices Easily

Services are the software apps we use every day to connect with physical objects and obtain data from mobile devices. The gateway to managing these services for physical connectivity can be achieved by using applets with embedded hardware.

Services are the software apps we use every day to connect with physical objects and obtain data from mobile devices. The gateway to managing these services for physical connectivity can be achieved by using applets with embedded hardware. There’s a website, called IFTTT (IF This Then That), which allows users to use services to build personal applications to monitor a variety of conditions and provide notifications on their smartphones and tablets. In this blog, I’ll further explore services and applets along with details on building a simple IoT appliance device using an IFTTT applet, an Arduino, and a cloudBit.

IFTTT, applets, microcontrollers, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram
The IFTTT website provides a variety of applets for consumer and mobile device platforms. (Source: IFTTT)

Exploring IFTTT

IFTTT is a website that allows users to build applets which are operated (triggered) by physical or online services like microcontrollers, Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, and Twitter. The website is free and the applet uses conditional statements as the operational foundation for the target service. As an example, suppose a user is interested in tweeting a certain hashtag based on sending an email. An applet can be built using an IFTTT conditional statement service. Another example of using IFTTT is a photo will be stored in the cloud when someone on Facebook tags a user. IFTTT has gone through several design iterations of its website where a variety of applets have been built by an active developer community.

IFTTT, applets, microcontrollers, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram
IFTTT provides a variety of applets to choose from, built by the developer community. (Source: IFTTT)

 

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IFTTT Deep Dive

The applets provided by IFTTT use the following web-based development concepts:

  • The basic building blocks of IFTTT are services. Services, once known as channels, is a series data description from websites like Twitter or Instagram. With the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), a service can describe control actions like posting photos to a target website. To accomplish control actions requires an event or trigger to occur within the service.
  • Triggers are items that produce a physical action to occur in a service. Receiving notifications based on accelerometer data from a mobile device is an example of a trigger. Keywords or phrases can also be used as triggers.
  • Actions are the physical output of an applet. They occur based on a trigger operating within a service. Operating a Philips Hue LED light bulb when rain is forecasted by the weather service is an example of an Action.
  • Applets are based on triggers and actions. Applets were also called recipes in the initial development of IFTTT.
  • Ingredients allow the user to customize the body data within the applet. Examples of body data are subject, device name, attachment, received date, and the sender’s address. The applet’s ingredient is easily changed using

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