English Internet of Things (IoT) M2M VSCP

#VSCP & Friends 0.4.0 Fluorine is out #m2m #iot

It been quite some time now since the last official release of VSCP & Friends but here its is, the brand new 0.4.0 Fluorine version, the free and open source framework for M2M and IoT setups. As of 28 of August VSCP & Friends has become thirteen and is now a teenager. Who could ever think we would still be on it today back in 2000. But we are.

We have now reached all the goals

  • We have uniform device discovery and identification.
  • We have uniform device configuration.
  • We have autonomous/distributed device functionality.
  • We have a uniform way to present data.
  • We have a uniform way to update/maintain device firmware.

The software package has always worked well on Raspberry Pi boards and on BeagleBone Black boards and on all other small boards out there, as well as on bigger systems. Regrettably we have to drop native windows support for the vscpd daemon from this version, as we just does not have the time to support it at the moment. All software around it will however still work also on the windows platform and will do so also in the future. That’s a promise. If you absolutely need it, it should be possible to build with MinGW or similar.

So what is new in VSCP & Friends in this release.

First of all there is a new driver model which we call Level II drivers. This type of drivers can use the variables of the daemon for it’s configuration and therefore becomes very flexible as the variables of the daemon can be edited and changed remotely. This is a development that aims at drivers that can be installed and configured on a remote machine just as apps. are installed on cellular phone today.

A built in webserver is available in  the system. This web-server can, as any other web-server, let a browser fetch pages you put on the servers file system. But it’s also a built in user interface for the vscpd daemon where you can edit, delete  and create variables. Investigate interfaces on the machine. Add, delete and create decision matrix elements so that you can create automation tasks such as running a series of programmes when a button is pressed or something else happens. The possibilities with the built in scheduler is endless. The user interface for the daemon will be extended in the future with many new features.

We have wanted to create a flexible way to make user interfaces for VSCP & Friends for many years now and it’s  not until HTML5  websockets came around that it has been possible to realize. But now we have a HTML5 websocket interface on the VSCP daemon. This means you can build rich live web interfaces with widgets for such things as temperature display or buttons for control. Each widget becomes its own light client. If you can build a web-page you can build a simple or an advanced control user interface. A JavaScript library helps in creating controls and displaying and getting a widget working on a page is usually one line of JavaScript code.

The VSCP protocol by itself is an abstraction for other real world protocols and even if a real world component can hook on to the VSCP & Friends on any of the well defined  interfaces, a driver is the most common way to add support for other real world systems. VSCP & Friends is not built to be the only solution, it is designed to take advantage of all other solutions/protocols by make intelligent abstractions of there functionality.

A level II TCP/IP link driver has been added. With this driver it is possible to connect to other daemons on other remote machines and/or on smaller boards with a simple TCP/IP interface. The connection will be held up by the daemon even if it falls.

A level II socketcan driver and a Level I socketcan driver has been added. So now all CAN devices that have socketcan support (most) is supported by VSCP.

A level II logger is added to the level I logger which can help in debugging you system. This logger also can log events for later user friendly inspection in VSCP works.

A level II MQTT subscribe/publish driver has been added to make it possible to use this popular IBM protocol to send VSCP events over a topic-channel. As MQTT is available on many, many platforms this extends the reach for VSCP & Friends to.

A level II raw Ethernet driver has been added. This driver makes it possible to send raw ethernet VSCP frames instead of IP frames and therefore build clients that does not have to implement a full TCP/IP stack on them and also has no need for being setup with an IP-address etc and thus works when started up. A temperature sensor or a switch hooked up to a local Ethernet just don’t need the space taken up by the TCP/IP stack.

A level II LM-sensors driver has been added which makes it possible to monitor the health (temperature/voltage/rpm of fans) of a mainboard and CPU’s and the disks on a remote machine.

And then there are the old Level I drivers. can232, xap and others.

The helper-dll is now pretty complete and makes it easy to interface the different interfaces of VSCP & Friends and decode/code data.

VSCP-Works now can update firmware using the generic algorithm as well.  Sample firmware for AVR processors is available. It also have support for Level II and can read and write multi page and decision matrix of remote devices. It can also handle abstractions from the MDF specification from the device and therefore configure devices on the highest user level. This is still  tool for developers and we expect many of it’s user friendly parts to be moved or be doubled in the web-interface.

And then it is lot, and lot and lot and lot of small things fixed and added everywhere.

Ake Hedman

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