JUXT and OpenSensors

A case study of building the technology that powers a major IoT platform.

Published 2015-10-22

OpenSensors is an exciting open data platform for the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) industry, providing a space for sharing feeds from a new generation of connected devices.

Since August 2013, JUXT have been heavily involved in the development of the platform, which is built on Clojure technologies.

The coming years will see an avalanche of new connected devices, from watches and wearables, to lamp-posts, buildings and more. These new devices are already heralding dramatic changes in industries from retail & distribution, construction, transport, to journalism and the environment.

The technology challenges in distributing and processing data on this scale are enormous. But opensensors.io has a more important vision, to ensure that public data is shared with the greatest possible audience of innovators.

A modern architecture to meet the IoT challenge

JUXT's Malcolm Sparks was able to draw on 20 years of software development experience with network programming and distributed middleware to assist with the development of the back-end data ingestion and processing technology behind OpenSensors.

The OpenSensors platform was built on a pervasive asynchronous data processing fabric, which employs a reactive 'poll-free' approach to data processing. Data is pushed to consumers at all levels of the stack, from the publication of messages over the MQTT protocol, through various back-end components including a Reactor-based distribution engine, to other devices and even 'pushed' to web browsers via HTML5's server-sent events.

Already, the OpenSensors public platform has attracted and serves thousands of data publishers and consumers.

Clojure across the stack

While the backend is built on Clojure, the web applications are built with ClojureScript, a version of Clojure which runs in web browsers (and many other places).

As the user experience of OpenSensors shows, for the rapid development of sophisticated 'single page applications' that users, exposed to mobile apps on their smart phones, now expect, ClojureScript represents a signficant advantage for time-to-market.

The choice of Clojure for both the back-end systems and front-end web applications, meant that is was possible for developers to work on both ends of the stack at various times, even simultaneously. This reduced costs of having multiple development teams to work on different parts of the system.

  • ClojureScript enables faster time-to-market and enables **greater ambition in the development of rich web applications**.
  • The choice of Clojure for both front-end and back-end development enables greater flexibilty in managing limited human resources.
  • Clojure has proven scalability characteristics, suitable for the most demanding real-time workloads.
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