One to Watch

New M2M portable project arrives at Eclipse – welcome Mihini

Chris Mayer

The M2M IWG have made yet another project proposal – this one is set to make embedded application development infinitely easy.

Nobody can really accuse the new Machine-To-Machine (M2M) Industry Working Group of not being productive. Yet another Eclipse project proposal has emerged, hoping to sit alongside messaging protocol project Paho and M2M tools project Koneki.

Formed at the end of last year, the M2M Industry Working Group was set up to define and implement an open standard platform for the developing technology, bringing together and creating M2M tools. Sierra Wireless, IBM and Eurotech were the three founding members, and this latest contribution has come from the minds of those at Sierra Wireless.

Falling under the Eclipse Technology Project as a subproject, the scope of the Mihini project is to provide an open source implementation of an embedded runtime exposing a high-level Lua API. The long-term goal for Mihini is for the implementation to become part of developing portable M2M applications much more seamlessly than presently.

This is a critical component for M2M technology. Currently, complexity is the main stumbling block when it comes to developing embedded applications and wireless systems. The proposal details this further saying that despite some M2M embedded applications being reduced to a simple problem, ‘there are many obstacles that can seriously slow down the implementation of such applications’. Problems include constrained resources such as memory and CPU, hardware using different protocols to communicate and unreliable mobile networks.

Therefore, Mihini’s target seems fairly clear- to create an M2M Applications Framework, leveraging Lua, the lightweight embeddable language of choice for M2M, that can ease the entire process.

Aside from providing several new APIs to make sense of M2M noise, a lot more is expected of Mihini. Proposed key management features of the Mihini Framework will make it possible to consolidate and send data to physical assets of an M2M component without fearing for the network constraints, through exposing the Lua API. 

Mihini will also facilitate access to system I/Os, provide a manipulating API to configure applications and remotely control installation and execution of applications no matter what language they communicate in. We can also expect a REST API to join the dots for the rest of the M2M world (Paho, Koneki)

Without falling foul of the approval process, which should be a formality given how critical the proposal is to the technology, this subproject shows great potential. A tentative schedule has been put in place, with Sierra Wireless saying that the initial contribution (Lua API for Device, Aseet and I/O management plus documentation) will arrive in October. Further down the line, if all goes well, we should see a 1.0 release in time for the next Eclipse release train Kepler (June 2013).

We see Mihini fitting into the M2M world like a glove and hope it gets the attention it deserves. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

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