Introduction

Hello and Welcome to Part 3 of our Automotive Grade Linux on Dragonboard410c blog series. This is the final part of the blog series and intended to serve as a guide for application development using AGL framework.

Before getting into the blog, here is the quick recap of what happened in previous blogs of the series:

  1. Automotive Grade Linux on Dragonboard410c - Part 1 - This is the introductory blog for the Automotive Grade Linux on Dragonboard410c blog series. This part introduced AGL and steps required to build and deploy it on Dragonboard410c.

  2. Automotive Grade Linux on Dragonboard410c - Part 2 - This blog demonstrated the HVAC (Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning) using the agl-demo-platform GUI with the help of Sensors Mezzanine and Dragonboard410c.

Application Development using AGL Framework

AGL provides the Application Framework for the users to create applications based on Qt, HTML etc… Developing applications for AGL involves creating the frontend as well as the backend. Frontend is the GUI which will be Qt/HTML in most cases and backend is the binding written in C which communicates to the Frontend through Websockets. There are different categories of applications which can be developed for AGL:

  • Service

A Service is a headless background process, allowing Bindings to expose various APIs accessible through the transports handled by the application framework, which are currently: ▪ HTTP REST (HTTP GET, POST…) ▪ WebSocket ▪ D-Bus

  • Native Application

A Native application is a compiled application, generally written in C/C++, accessing one or more services, either by its own means or using a helper library with HTTP REST/WebSocket capabilities.

  • HTML5 Application

An HTML5 application is a web application, generally written with a framework (AngularJS, Zurb Foundation…), accessing services with its built- in HTTP REST/WebSocket capabilities.

  • QML Application

An QML application is a Qt application written in QML/QtQuick descriptive language, accessing a service with its built-in HTTP REST/WebSocket capabilities.

  • Hybrid application

A Hybrid application contains at the same time (an) Application-specific Binding(s) as backend(s) and a User Interface (Native, HTML5, QML …) as a frontend. This is probably the most pertinent real-world case, since it allows developers to provide capabilities through Bindings, and an end-user experience through the UI. For instance, a GPS Binding giving device localization status, and a HTML5 GPS frontend displaying it on the screen.

In this blog we are going to see how to develop a hybrid application for AGL.

Setting up the Docker Container

AGL provides the pre built Docker containers with the necessary SDK to start application development seamlessly. Users can build the applciations within the docker containers and package them as a Widget and finally deploy it on the AGL.

More information on setting up the Docker container can be seen in the AGL SDK Quick Setup Guide. Just follow the guide and set up the Docker container with the latest prebuilt docker image.

After setting up the Docker container, you can also build your own Docker image by following this README.

Building and Deploying the Application

Now, the Demo applcation can be built using the SDK present inside the docker container by following the steps mentioned in 96Boards Projects Org.

Demo Application Overview

The demo application provided in the 96Boards Projects Org is a hybrid application which has the QML frontend backed by the binding written in C. The communication between frontend and backend happens through Websockets.

Frontend is a bre minimum QML application which consists of couple of Text sections and one Timer section. Timer section is used to setup and trigger the timer at 3 seconds interval. After the lapse of the timer interval, request for getting the temperature data will be sent to the binding through websocket.

  Timer {
   id: timer
   interval: 3000
   running: true
   repeat: true
   onTriggered: {
    var request_str = [MessageId.call, '9999', 'db410c/temp', '']
    console.debug(JSON.stringify(request_str))
    websocket.sendTextMessage(JSON.stringify(request_str))
    }
  }

Binding will send the temperature data in return, which will get parsed and displayed on the application window.

  onTextMessageReceived: {
    // VERB RESPONSE VALIDATION
    var json = JSON.parse(message)
    var request = json[2].request
    if (json[0] != MessageId.retok) {
      console.log("Return value is not ok !")
      return
    }
    console.log("got value", request.info)
    temp.text = request.info
  }

Backend binding has been completely written in C which utilises the AGL application framework. AGL framework requires the bindings to export verbs for individual functionalities offered. Same as that, this demo binding offers temp verb for collecting and sending the temperature data. Once, the binding receives the request from the QML frontend through websocket, it will gather the temperature data from TMP007 sensor and sends it back to the frontend through websocket.

  /* read raw temp data */
  if(read(fd, data, 2) != 2) {\
    AFB_ERROR(interface, "read failed");
    afb_req_fail(request, "failed", "Read failed");
  } else {
  /* convert the data to 14-bits */
  tmp = (data[0] * 256 + (data[1] & 0xFC)) / 4;
  if(tmp > 8191) {
    tmp -= 16384;
  }	
  
  /* convert to celsius */
  val = tmp * 0.03125;

  /* convert temp data to readable format and return it */
  snprintf(temp_data, 6, "%f", val);
  afb_req_success(request, NULL, temp_data);

And finally the data will get displayed in the application window.

Conclusion

So, we have reached the end of the AGL blog series. I hope this blog series provided introduction about AGL and served as a guide for application developement using it. There are N number of possibilities available with AGL since it is backed by the Top most Automotive companies and Linux Foundation in particular. If AGL continues to grow in the upcoming days, we can expect to see most majority of cars powered by it :-)