LIFX have just put out the call to developers in their latest update. In project update #18, the team at LIFX Labs are after developers to start writing apps for their new multi-coloured, smart globes. If you’re a programmer then pay attention.
One of the best things about LIFX over other competitors is that they are writing an API alongside the development of the hardware. This is recognition that one team can’t have all the answers and resources to what people will want to use LIFX for.
With a focus on open standards, speed and extensibility, LIFX outline two main programmatic interfaces.
We refer to this little fella as "LIFX Cloud" and it acts as an always on, authenticated JSON API for your LIFX lights. Send a command to the cloud server and we’ll relay it to your device(s) wherever they may be. This is perfect for easy integration with third party services such as IFTTT, etc. We’ll be using it ourselves in official apps outside of the wifi network. Commands will be rate-limited to some sane value (tbd).
REST is great in the context of web documents but it isn’t really designed for lean, efficient device comms. As such, we’re using the Protocol Buffers standard (word up, Google) to send messages between devices on the network. This is many times faster/smaller then processing/sending the likes of xml, which is important when you’re planning on light bulbs talking to each other over a mesh network.
Naturally, you’ll also be able to talk to LIFX at this lower level- it’s a little trickier to code but the upside is blazing speed and low bandwidth. If you’ve never worked with Protocol Buffers before, you’ll find it very well supported with a tonne of libraries – https://code.google.com/p/protobuf/wiki/ThirdPartyAddOns out there already.
In a real world scenario expect the ability to issue a light approx 10 to 30 commands per second.
They’ll be publishing specific API documentation and some starter libraries, sadly Java, Objective-C and Ruby initially, please guys add C# to the list! The great news is you’ll be free to develop (and publish) your work without restriction, licensing. That’s fantastic news and it sounds like LIFX will be one of the most hackable pieces of hardware in your home.