After a long time without major updates in our community IoT platform, the last 8 of May we finally deployed a new release of the Thinger.io Free IoT Server, which has been hosted since the very beginning of the project to provide the developer’s community the perfect support for learning and developing IoT projects with this technology. This new version updates the functionalities of the public server to match some features offered in the professional license, with the main goal to continue offering up-to-date technology and show developers the full potential of the platform just signing up on Thinger.io web home:
Some of the new features released with this update in our free IoT platform are the following:
- New Device administration Dashboard, showing the device location, with a better distribution that includes new tabs to access the device properties, or the device console.
- Introduction of Device properties, as flexible storage support that can be used as a persistent memory for the devices, allowing to store configuration parameters or any other metadata associated to the device.
- New HTTP Device Type, which allows configuring a HTTP callback that can be used to ingest JSON data, and integrate it with data buckets for storing time series data, endpoints to retransmit the information to third services, or store the information in a property. This new Device Type is perfect for connecting Sigfox Callbacks, LoRa-WAN backends, or any other HTTP client device.
- HTML widget that allows a flexible tool to create almost any new dashboard widget (we’ll talk more about this in another post).
- Improved Data Buckets export and download features. Now it is possible to send the export result to a custom endpoint, and download the exports directly from the console.
- New Endpoint profiles, such as the Telegram API to integrate IoT projects with their bots, well known in the maker community for being very easy to use.
Most of the new features are focused on improving platform flexibility, trying to not limit the creativity of community developers. Some of these improvements also affect the firmware of the devices, although they cannot be used until it is updated in the next release, such as functions to work with the properties, confirmation of writing data in buckets, and functionalities to make use of the remote console.
Taking a look at the main menu you will see that there are also some new sections related to management and advanced features:
- Plugins: There are extensions that can be added to the platform to increase its capacities with particular technologies, we will be updating the marketplace regularly, adding more plugins that in some cases can be used by community users.
- File system: It allows to store any file structure, and it is useful to store advanced HTML widgets, static web pages, firmware code, and it will support other functionalities that will come very soon, like the online compiler to support device OTA.
- Project manager: Allows sharing resources with other users to create product and customer hierarchies.
- And finally, some administration tools for the tenant admins, like user account management, configuration of domains and SSL certificates, or console rebranding.
Some of these features are reserved for private instances since they are aimed for professional use cases in which it is required to manage a user’s network or adapting the web console to a particular brand. Also, plugins are limited to these instances, as deploying such features requires extra computational load that cannot be managed in the freemium infrastructure. However, if a maker developer requires using any plugin for his project, it’s available a Cloud Maker Instance license, that can be deployed within minutes with a very contained price, that allows these features.
A new infrastructure
Thinger.io is very scalable due to its unique technology, as it has been developed from scratch for IoT purposes. A curious fun fact is that until now, our 50.000 users were running over a single AWS instance that was really a very basic host, with 1GB of RAM and 1 core… with these resources, it was always at 2% of its capacity so we didn’t see the need to upgrade it.
However, to get a more reliable service for our community users, it was necessary to create a modern infrastructure. In this case, we have deployed a Thinger.io cluster with 5 nodes distributed over different continents. This minimizes access latency especially for users from the United States and Asia, so it will also improve the overall user experience. We also migrated our main MongoDB database to a new cluster in MongoDB Atlas, ensuring a better performance and reliability. The most important thing is that we can replicate this new infrastructure to guarantee a 24×7 service to companies that need a critical system or high availability.
We will discuss in-depth the capabilities of the platform for professional uses later on. If you have come this far it seems that this is of great interest to you, please let us know what you think about the new changes.