Chapter 15. From Products to Toolkits

JavaScript and its libraries are already popular when it comes to building services, APIs, and products on the Web. For example, the jQuery library simplifies many online web browsing experiences. This book sketches how JavaScript has been evolving into hardware and systems for the IoT.

JavaScript as a Toolkit

JavaScript might not be the right tool for every job. But JavaScript and its libraries can be a toolkit to connect and prototype hardware devices. As Eric von Hippel notes in his important book Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press, 2005):

Users apply a toolkit in conjunction with their rich understanding of their own needs to create a preliminary design, simulate or prototype it, evaluate its functioning in their own use environment, and then iteratively improve it until they are satisfied.

By using JavaScript, people with diverse backgrounds (especially nonengineers) can be empowered to design and prototoype their own hardware. With hardware boards such as Arduino, Intel Edison, or Tessel, users can start to innovate in a much shorter time compared to more “professional” solutions that require vendor-specific programming hardware and compilers.

To help you get a feeling for different aspects of hardware development, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 discussed different “blink” examples. From this experience, more complicated hardware boards (such as boards with embedded Internet that we discussed in Chapters 5 and 6) or different components for ...

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