Electric Imp Breakout Hookup Guide
Example 3: Web Response
In the previous example, we used a web page to send data to the imp. But what if you wanted to send data from the imp back to a web page? This example shows how to use the imp to post a response to a web server. Maybe you want to monitor the light level in your garage with a simple photocell? Or live stream the temperature in your backyard. This is the example you’ll want to start with.
The circuit for this example is very open-ended. If you have any digital or analog components you’d like the imp to read, hook them up to one of it’s inputs. For example, if you want to monitor a button-press and a photocell, hook up a circuit like this:
Feel free to make the circuit your own. Maybe add a tilt sensor or an analog temperature sensor to one of the unused pins. At this point you should feel somewhat comfortable modifying the imp’s pin functions to make them do what you want.
The Imp Code
Once again, we’ll need a few pieces of code to make everything work together. Move your impee into a new model and name it Web Response Example.
Starting with the imp again, copy and paste this code into the Device section of your IDE:
Per usual, check out the code comments for a line-by-line overview of what’s going on. The new function this time?
agent.send is used to send data from the imp, to the agent. This time we need to create a handler on the agent side to deal with the data sent by the imp.
Speaking of agent code…
The Agent Code
On the agent side we need to accomplish two tasks:
- Define an imp handler function to deal with the data sent by the imp. We’ll just store the data sent by the imp into a global variable.
- Create another handler to be called when an HTTP request is received. Upon receiving the request the agent will construct a response based on the data received from the imp, and send that out to the requester.
There’s the overview, here’s the code. Copy and paste this into the Agent half of your model:
There are two things to point out here. The first is the
device.on function. This function sets up a handler to be called when the imp sends a defined string. In this case, we’re looking for the imp sending “impValues”. The data associated with this string is a table, full of all of the imp’s pin readings. That function is called every time the imp sends that specific string to the agent.
The real magic happens in the
respondImpValues() function. The agent sets this function as the handler for any HTTP request (using the
http.onrequest function). This function constructs a JSON string of data, in the form of “"key”:“value”, “key”:“value”, …,“, which the requesting HTTP client should be able to parse and understand.
Check the comments in the code for more information on the agent code.
For now, Build and Run the code. Don’t expect it to do anything of interest until we add the last bit of magic…
The Web App – AJAX, jQuery, JSON Oh My!
The final piece to this puzzle is constructing a web page that can both send an HTTP request and deal with the response from the agent.
Create a new HTML file named
pinView.html. Paste the code below into it.
Before saving and closing the file, edit this line of code to point to your agent’s unique URL:
var externalURL ="UpyYpRLmBB7m"; // Put your agent's unique URL here
Sweet! Save and open the file with your favorite web browser. Assuming your imp is running with the new device/agent code, you should see something like this:
Those 1’s, 0’s, and other numbers might be a little different on your screen. Try pressing a button. Or cover the photocell. Or mess with the imp’s pins in some other way. Are the values changing? How cool is that!
The code for this webpage is a little ugly. It uses some web “stuff” that my fragile, electrical engineer mind can barely grasp. There may be a better way to do this, but this works for us. If you find another cool way to request and use data from the imp, let us know in the discussion section!
Towards the bottom of the HTML code is a series of
<span> tags, with
ids like “pin1”, “pin2” etc. But they’re blank. Remember those, they’ll come in handy.
The real magic here is happening in the
poll() function in the
<script> area up top. This function sets up an AJAX) request to the electric imp agent. If the request succeeds,
function(agentMsg) is executed. This function parses the JSON message received from the agent, and dynamically updates the data in our blank
<span> tags defined below.
poll() is set to be called every
pollRate (defaulted to 1000) milliseconds.
Whew! Hopefully all of this stuff is easy enough to pattern-match and modify as you please. To make some other information stream to the webpage, you have to:
- Edit the imp Device code to send the desired data to the agent. Use the
agent.send()function to do this.
- Edit the Agent code in two places:
- Read the data in from the imp in the
- In an HTTP request handler, send the data out as a JSON string.
- Read the data in from the imp in the
- Add something in the AJAX success function to look for the correct JSON “key” and “value” combination. Then do something with that data.
- Add a location in the HTML body to show the data. E.g.
<span id="myData"><!--Data goes here--></span>
Give it a try! It sounds like a lot of work, but most of the constructs are already there for you to quickly add new displayable data. You could print the imp’s measured RSSI, or do some math on the analog input reading to turn it into a voltage.