The Internet of Things: Ways to program the unpredictable

IoT Programming

Software development teams currently have a lot of devices to consider as they aim to meet hardware requirements. Even objects made by the same manufacturer must be carefully evaluated, as they may have different operating systems and features, which will affect how the app functions. With the Internet of Things, the number of devices that need to be supported is only expected to increase, with Gartner predicting that there will be 26 billion unique connected objects by 2020. Some other experts are suggesting that this number may be even higher, and development teams must prepare themselves now to program for an unpredictable environment and embrace IoT testing.

Use information

With the IoT, it can be overwhelming when thinking of where to start. Teams will find that leveraging development and application performance metrics could be a valuable tool for gauging how users are behaving in the application and how features are performing in the real world. CIO contributor Paul Rubens suggested using automation to organize and analyze data, as well as to generate insightful reports. Teams can use this information to better understand what areas are not up to standards and can create solutions to these issues. Setting up this type of environment will take a lot of work, but it will keep businesses on pace with IoT advancement and ensure that changes can be responded to quickly.

Understand different program types

Possibly one of the most important aspects of the IoT to keep in mind during agile QA testing is that there are a few different types of applications that can be created. Developers and testers must consider what the software is going to be used for and can gain a better understanding of what types of challenges they may encounter along the way. The Guardian contributors Jat Singh and Julia Powles noted that there are three main approaches to take when making an IoT app:

  • Closed: The closed method is used for apps that require a limited view of the IoT. This could include health monitoring and home sensors, where the apps and hardware serve a specific purpose.
  • Built for a specific ecosystem: With this approach, the software is made with a particular platform in mind, whether it's Apple, Google or some other operating system. Teams will receive tools and services to help build their programs for these environments.
  • Open: Teams pair up with system integrators to manage components and handle deployment, usage and runtime operations. This could take pressure off developers and testers, but it could also take away some of their control.

Each approach has its own requirements and uses, but it will be up to the team to decide which one is the best fit for their IoT development needs.

Code in the infrastructure

Keeping up with the scale of the IoT can be tough, but using infrastructure as code can help alleviate some of the difficulties teams may face. According to TechBeacon contributor Christopher Siewald, IaC allows operations to be distilled down to code, meaning that many processes can be automated and teams can gain agility. With this test automation integration, teams can support repeatability, which inherently boosts quality and infrastructure. This type of environment can also help businesses achieve the scalability, velocity and flexibility that the IoT demands.

"With more agile infrastructures, companies can be in a position to update their products hundreds of times per day," Siewald wrote. "This is in part because of flexible collaboration paradigms and heightened security checks, which allow developers to contribute from anywhere and at any time. As new code is written, it can be tested, committed, and put into production without having to slow down to spend time on manual collaboration and security processes."

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