Every week here and in our newsletter, we feature a new developer/blogger from the DZone community to catch up and find out what he or she is working on now and what's coming next. This week we're talking to Erich Styger, an engineer at Freescale, professor at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and frequent contributor to our Eclipse and IoT zones. Some of his most recent posts on DZone include:
- Power Over USB: The McGyver Way
- Adding Multiple Include Paths to Build Settings in Eclipse
- Tutorial: IoT Datalogger with ESP8266 WiFi Module and FRDM-KL25Z
1. What have you been working on lately?
Lately I'm working on my Darth Vader Sumo robot and to have it IoT enabled.
With this, I have a Sumo robot with SD card, nRF24L01+, Bluetooth and ESP8266 Wi-Fi able to play MP3 sound files, configurable through the internet :-).
Beside of that, I'm working on a game using the WS2812B RGB LED stripes which I want to have IoT enabled too.
2. You’re one of our biggest contributors to our Internet of Things and Eclipse Zones. What are some of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable things about coding for IoT? Where do you see IoT going in 2015? What do you enjoy most about Eclipse?
IoT is definitely about finding the right usage of it. Clearly, right now it is about pushing date to the internet, and to pull data from the network. Exploring new ideas and applications is definitely a lot of fun. The least enjoyable things are coding around all the unknowns or dealing with buggy firmware, or the need to translate data sheets from Chinese to something I can understand.
I think in 2015 IoT will be even more about exploring new ideas and finding good applications for it. IoT today still has not found the 'killer application' for it. And concerns about data integrity and security will grow, and probably will the IoT topic next year.
I enjoy the most about Eclipse that it is constantly evolving, improving and that it is so versatile. Eclipse Luna came out mid of 2014, and continue to explore new gems and treasures in it. Eclipse is to me a role model how open source tools and projects should be done.
3. Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?
Eclipse is definitely *the* tool for me: it is open source, highly configurable and the I simply love it. Combine this with GDB and GCC, and I have functional tool chain everyone can build and use.
And I could not live without my soldering station, a multimeter and a logic analyzer! Most of my projects are using Freescale Freedom (http://www.freescale.com/freedom) boards: small and inexpensive boards which are great for prototypes or small projects.
4. Do you have a favorite open source project (or projects) that you've contributed to recently?
My favorite open source project it the GnuARMEclipse one (http://gnuarmeclipse.livius.net/), because these plugins make it easy to develop projects with Eclipse and GNU tools for ARM based microcontrollers. And I'm contributing frequently to the McuOnEclipse (https://github.com/ErichStyger/mcuoneclipse) and Processor Expert Components (https://github.com/ErichStyger/McuOnEclipse_PEx) projects. Beside of that, I'm contributing to a community and university project to teach programming to young engineers (https://github.com/ErichStyger/CrashCourseC).
5. Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?
I recommend to read the articles written by Jack Ganssle (http://www.ganssle.com/): they are relevant for any embedded developer, and the same time many articles are easy and fun to read.
6. Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?
My first coding love was the Pascal and Modula-2. And the first larger program I developed with it was a text based adventure game, because at that time it was all console/terminal based, and no graphics available. I distributed the games to my friends, and they were playing it on their machines. I admit that my games were not the best or the world, but it helped me to develop my programming skills. An inflection point for me was Elite: playing that space trading video game with wire-frame 3D graphics opened up my mind for math, science and space. But instead of writing games, I ended up writing cross-compilers and debuggers: definitely fun too :-).
7. Is there anything else you'd like to mention?
Aye! The internet out there is a fantastic ocean of information and knowledge: take advantage of that, explore it, learn it and apply it. Be a good traveler and treat everyone with respect. But most important do not only consume information: give something back on return: share what you have learned and what you have created, so others can benefit from it.
And thank you Erich! You can check out Erich's blog to see all that he's working on.