Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush


PDF Download Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

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Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

PDF Download Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

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Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things (Tab), by Christopher Rush

Explore the Internet of Things and build useful, functioning Photon projects

Quickly learn to construct your own electronics devices and control them over the Internet with help from this DIY guide. Programming the Photon: Getting Started with the Internet of Things features clear explanations and step-by-step examples that use inexpensive, easy-to-find components. Discover how to connect to Wi-Fi networks, attach hardware to I/O ports, write custom programs, and work from the cloud. You will learn how to troubleshoot and tweak your Photon creations―even interface with social media sites!

 

·       Set up your Photon board and connect to the Particle cloud

·       Start constructing and programming custom IoT projects

·       Learn the syntax of both the C and Arduino languages

·       Incorporate switches, sensors, and other input devices

·       Control hardware through the Photon’s outputs

·       Control your creations through the Internet

·       Add functions with Particle shields and add-on boards

·       Link real-time data to your board via the IFTTT Web Service

·       Integrate with websites―Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and more!

 

  • Sales Rank: #738485 in Books
  • Published on: 2016-03-25
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .60″ h x 5.90″ w x 8.90″ l, .84 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 192 pages

About the Author

Christopher Rush has a degree in computer science and has spent the last 10 years working for an electronics distribution company as a product manager for single-board computing. He also runs a MakerSpace blog (www.rushmakes.com) providing reviews, tutorials, and user guides for popular development boards and accessories, including Raspberry Pi, Arduino, BeagleBone, and others. Mr. Rush is the author of 30 BeagleBone Black Projects for the Evil Genius, also published by McGraw-Hill Education.

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
A very enjoyable introduction to the Particle Photon, though marred by some unfortunate errors and mistakes…
By ewomack
The Particle Photon provides immediate Internet Of Things functionality in a super tiny device no bigger than a few postage stamps. Anyone experienced with the Arduino will find plenty of similarities in the Photon’s layout and abilities. But the Photon comes pre-wired with internet connectivity via wireless. No shields or ancillary accessories required. Given its diminutive size and internet readiness, this device serves as a perfect controller for embedded devices or control of internet-enabled devices. Plus, it provides a high degree of usability and a not incredibly steep learning curve, especially for anyone well versed in any other of the growing number of micro-controllers. To top it all off, the Photon has an almost ridiculously low price. The Particle site offers Photons with nothing included or Photons accompanied by various devices. A “development kit” comes in a handy little branded box with an equally tiny breadboard, a micro-USB cable, some resistors, an LED and a light sensor. They throw in a Particle logo sticker as well. These and some jumper wires will get anyone started down the road of Photon.

Particle has loads of documentation and tutorials on their website, but some may instead prefer the guidance of an increasingly old-fashioned book. One such book is called “Programming the Photon: Getting Started With the Internet of Things.” It does a decent job of running through Photon basics, including setup and electronic experiments, but it does contain various typos and mistakes that could prove frustrating for absolute beginners. Not to excuse lackluster editing, but anyone up for a challenge, and with a little extra free time, can instead treat these errors as a learning experience and find solutions or workarounds for them. After all, nothing makes knowledge stick like correcting the errors of others. But those who instead want to burn through a book on this device and get up to speed quickly may find this book an agonizing hurdle in places.

Chapter 1 starts off perfectly with a general introduction to the Photon and the Particle Cloud. It discusses briefly the evolution from the Photon’s predecessor, Spark Core, to the current Particle Photon model. The next chapter “Getting Connected” gives a great rundown on using the Photon either with a mobile app or on a desktop using a terminal application such as PuTTY. Next comes examples of using the Tinker and Particle Web IDE and libraries. A very simple first application makes the Photon’s on-board D7 LED blink. Flash and go. Very simple. The section ends with boilerplate code for creating custom libraries. Next, an entire chapter outlines Particle Code. This will look very familiar to anyone who has programmed an Arduino using C. Photon syntax is pretty much identical. Int, floats, doubles, chars, booleans, loops, arrays, strings and the most important commands such as digitalWrite, digitalRead, PinMode, etc.

So far so good. Things get more exciting in the chapter called “Outputs” with flashing LEDs and LCD displays using the digital ports. For the first Analog project, though, the book says to use port “A0” to brighten and fade an LED using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This port worked fine on the Spark Core, but it does not work on the Photon. The extremely helpful Particle Forum on the Particle website will help anyone with such issues. A little research will reveal that moving from A0 to either A4 or A5 will work. Next comes an introduction to DAC and an exercise using a Servo motor. Though an accompanying schematic doesn’t seem to match a photo of the wiring. The photo appears to show a Spark Core and the schematic a Photon. Things go pretty smoothly through a chapter on “Inputs” that utilizes push buttons, local and global variables, debouncing, potentiometers, constants, the handy map() function and photocells. The code for the photocell project contains a typo that will not compile. The second “else if” doesn’t include a variable reference.

Chapter 6 dives into “The Internet of Things” and demonstrates controlling an LED over the internet using a command line program called “curl” to send an HTTP GET request. Running through this example will show that Curl throws a certificate exception without the “-k” switch, but otherwise everything works great. A simple HTML page uses HTTP requests to turn an LED on and off. Next, a very cool project uses a light sensor to activate an on-screen jQuery gauge to show voltage levels through the sensor. This really demonstrates the possibilities of using the Photon over the internet and demonstrates the very useful justgage library. Unfortunately, the book adds a “u” to the URL domain and instead points to the website “justgauge.” This mis-typed site definitely does not host a jQuery library. It re-directs, probably via link-bait, to an 18+ only site with thankfully nothing too indecent on the home page (though redirects might vary by region, host, etc.). The correct URL is “justgage” Also, to match the decimalized gauge readings shown in the book, the “decimals” property needs to be added to the “JustGage” object in the JavaScript code. Two additional examples use a temperature sensor and an HC-SR04 distance sensor. By now the stalwart may have discovered that the cloud IDE no longer accepts “Spark” for variables, but requires “Particle.” The distance sensor code also has a discrepancy between the JavaScript and the Photon Code. The Particle variables are named “cm” and “inches” but the URL in the JavaScript calls “/distanceCM,” which results in a 404 “Not Found” error. Changing the URL call to “cm” or “inches” solves the problem and the example works.

Later chapters introduce Particle Shields, the Grove Starter Kit, IFTTT and basic troubleshooting. The example project using the Relay Shield may intimidate newcomers, but it does present a challenge. The inexperienced should use caution or probably just skip over this example until further educated on electronics. The IFTTT section contains a walk-through for creating a Twitter alert using a light sensor and the Grove Starter Kit (note: “The Grove Starter Kit for Photon” does not include an actual Photon). Troubleshooting advice suggests learning to read and interpret the colored blinking lights the Photon displays in certain states. Two appendices outline electronic components and suppliers and a very short Particle code reference.

Yes, the book contains some glaring flaws and sloppy mistakes. Nonetheless, it also provides, through some of the morass, a decent introduction to the Particle Photon. To complete every example in the book requires: a Particle Photon (not a Spark Core), a micro-USB cable, a Particle Photon Cloud account (free with a Photon purchase), an internet connection, either a mobile device or a computer, a breadboard, jumper wires, a multimeter, 220-ohm resistors, a 16 X 2 LCD display, a 10-K potentiometer, a servo motor, a push-button switch, a 200 K photocell, a 10k ohm resistor, a Maxim DS18B20 IC temperature sensor, a 4.7k ohm resistor, an HC-SR04 distance sensor, the Particle Relay Shield, a lamp, a power supply, 9V battery, and wire, an IFTTT account, a Twitter account, and The Grove Starter Kit for Photon. Again, readers should use their best judgment about their experience level for the more advanced relay shield example. Overall, anyone up for a challenge will stand to learn plenty by forging through this book. Hopefully new editions will correct some of the mistakes. Either way, it provides additional experience with the highly enjoyable and versatile Particle Photon.

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