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Platform Update - Application README, Custom Node Debugging, Advanced Device Query

Brandon Cannaday
Brandon Cannaday 3 minute read

Losant is an IoT application enablement platform, which means our primary purpose is to provide the building blocks that you can use to quickly develop and bring to market new IoT applications. Beyond the core components of the platform, there's an entire layer of functionality that must exist to enable proper collaboration and debugging for you and your team. Today's update centers around these collaboration and debugging features:

Document Your IoT Applications With a README

When your application is being developed by more than one person, it's important to have a place to communicate how the application works. We were inspired by how effective a README can be for Git repositories and applied the same concept to Losant by introducing the Application README.

Losant Application Overview Page

To support a README, we've completely redesigned the application overview page. We added a search box and lists containing recently viewed, edited, or created resources. Application stats, which were on the overview page prior to this update, have been moved to a new "Usage" tab in the application's settings.

Workflow And Custom Node Debugging Improvements

We introduced Custom Nodes a long time ago, and while you could always test them using a Virtual Button within the custom node editor itself, today's update adds the option to allow Debug Nodes inside the custom node to be displayed in your workflows.

Losant Custom Node Debugging

By default, debug messages coming from custom nodes will be disabled. You can enable them using the new "Enable messages from custom nodes" checkbox under the "Debug Options" menu.

Besides showing debug messages from custom nodes, we've also added more intelligence to the overall debug output when it comes to interpreting things like undefined values and date objects.

Losant Debug Output with Date and Undefined Value

Prior to this release, any field that was added to the payload with an undefined value was not displayed. You'll now see these, which can help in scenarios where your workflow may be executing as intended, but resulting in undefined values.

We also addressed an issue where Date objects were most commonly displayed as strings. Date objects are now displayed in a friendlier and more intuitive way, improving clarity in certain circumstances when the underlying data type needed to be known.

Find Your IoT Devices With the Advanced Device Query

The ability to query Losant resources in more powerful ways, or what we call Advance Queries, has been slowly rolling out across the platform. The concept started with our introduction of Data Tables, then we rolled it out for Events. Today's update brings our advanced query features to Devices.

Devices could always be queried by a large number of properties including tags, experience groups, names, and many others. In most cases, however, you were not able to combine multiple properties into a single query. With today's release of the advanced device query, you can now create a query using any number of properties to find devices in much more complex ways.

With this release, advanced device queries are supported in the API, the Device: Get Node, and the Device List Block. Support will be rolled out to nearly all device selectors (e.g. Experience Groups) in subsequent releases.

Losant Advanced Device Query Example

Prior to this release, a device query such as the one pictured in the screenshot above was a challenge to achieve. This query is combining device tags with the "ancestorId" property, which provides a way to query devices based on your Systems hierarchy.

Other Updates

What's Next?

With every new release, we listen to your feedback. By combining your suggestions with our roadmap, we can continue to improve the platform while maintaining its ease of use. Let us know what you think in the Losant Forums.

Brandon Cannaday

Brandon is passionate about developer tools and user experience. He has over 10 years of enterprise software experience in the chemical detection, telecommunications, and cloud platform industries.