What Is an API Gateway for IoT?

Learn more about how an API Gateway can help you sustainably build a backend to your IoT applications. Let’s cover the basic components of an IoT backend, API Gateways and we’ll provide new concepts, as well as helpful tips to get you off to a great start. How an API Gateway can help you sustainably build a backend to your IoT applications? In this post, we’ll cover the basic components of an IoT backend, API Gateways and we’ll provide new concepts, as well as helpful tips to get you off to a great start.

First Up: What is an IoT Backend?

There are a few primary components to constructing the backend of an IoT application.

  • Data Storage - You need the right tools to manage your machine data can make the difference between success and failure.
  • Protocols - Devices or “things” communicate through more compact and efficient the payloads We’re talking about protocol support just as MQTT and CoAP in addition to standard JSON over REST.
  • Analytics - It’s not enough to just collect and store data. In order to truly have an impact on your growth trajectory, you need a_nalytics to provide valuable insights.
  • Services - Next, you need the appropriate services to be able to execute on those insights. So, all of these components take expertise to understand. When it comes to stitching them altogether, it can be difficult for enterprise executives and developers to understand where to start. Equally as important is the role of an API Gateway and how an API Gateway could support your build.

    How Now, API Gateway?

    As you begin to think about how to design your backend, you need to consider different aspects of your API Strategy and technology stack. By focusing on the Developer Experience as well as the Customer Experience, you should be asking yourself questions like: How do I avoid vendor lock-in? Do I really have to hand-roll my own API Gateway…again? What languages or frameworks can I use to make it more accessible? For example, you use Node.js that will help you hire quickly or maintain a flexible and productive development environment. For developers, choosing a Runtime may not seem important, but Docker and Kubernetes make your Runtime portable because every cloud provider supports containers. In addition, Express.js and it’s vast ecosystem of Middleware is an important consideration if you’re looking for something that is extensible. Even if you’re primarily focused on other aspects of your IoT backend, you can still achieve seamless API development. Here’s a master image that we’ve included from the Getting Started Guide so you can see the big picture:

    Express Gateway as an Open Source API Gateway Solution

    As co-sponsors of Express Gateway, we’re partnering with Joyent and the Node.js developer community to provide an open source API Gateway built entirely on Express.js. Our vision behind this project is provide a s_imple, flexible and community driven open source tool that can be used anywhere by anyone._ IoT Backends have special needs because they service devices, applications and can affect everything from our connected cars to connected door locks. So expectations around the Security, Privacy and Consumer Experience are much higher. Additionally, there is an added layer of complexity when you introduce both software and hardware components. Because the API Gateway is at the heart of Microservices, understanding this aspect of your tech stack will continue to play an important part in your IoT Backend.

    Do you have a relatable IoT project with an Express Gateway implementation that you would like showcased?

    We are currently looking for special use cases, applications and current implementations so we can get feedback on the project and more accurately understand the challenges developers are facing.

    Key Takeaways

  • Building an IoT backend contains 4 main components: Data Storage, Protocols, Analytics, and Services
  • An API Gateway helps route the clients of a Microservices-based application and provides access the individual services.
  • Express Gateway gives you API gateway capabilities
  • You can pull together Docker/Kubernetes (Runtime) and an open source API gateway, like Express Gateway, into an easy to use tech stack that helps you conserve resources at the Enterprise level to maximize productivity

    Moving On

    We’re excited to make this important aspect of your tech stack easier, more flexible and with a little love from open source tools like Express Gateway, an open source API gateway built entirely on Express.js. If you have a special use case or feedback, we’d love to hear from you! Additionally, we’ve been making some noise with the co-sponsor of Express Gateway, Joyent. You may have seen the slides, but this demo was featured at the Samsung Developer’s conference to a packed crowd of hungry devs. We received critical feedback and, based on that feedback, **we’re launching a few great features in the next few weeks so stay tuned for the next release 1.4.0!

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