Connect MXChip DevKit to Azure IoT Edge

A customer of mine who is working on an IoT POC to show their management wanted to connect the MXChip Devkit to IoT Hub via IoT Edge. This turned out to be trickier than it should be, as the connection between the MXChip and the IoT Edge box is, like all IoT Hub/Edge connections, TLS-encrypted. So you have to get the MXChip to trust the “tls server” certificate that IoT Edge returns when a client tries to connect. Thanks to some great ground-laying work by Arthur Ma, I wrote a hands-on lab walking you through this scenario. The lab can be found on my team’s github site here

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any problems.

PIP install for Python SDK now works on Raspberry Pi!

The Azure IoT product group has been busy making improvements to our Python SDK for Azure IoTHub.  The biggest improvement is that they’ve put a fix in for the infamous “libboost” issue that prevented the PIP package from working on the Raspberry Pi.   Previously, if you wanted to use the Python SDK on a Raspberry Pi, you had to manually build from the source, a time and resource intensive process.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Boost allows you to invoke C code from Python (the Python SDK is built on the C SDK).

Base SDK install/usage

For now, they’ve updated the SDK to link against the current version of libboost that works on the latest version or Raspbian stretch (1.62.0).  Future improvements may remove this requirement, but for now, you need to make sure that libboost is installed on the Pi (it’s not, by default).  So use the following two statements to get the SDK installed and setup:

sudo apt-get install libboost-python1.62.0

pip install azure-iothub-device-client
After that, in your code, you can ‘import iothub_client’ and go to town!

IoT Edge/Docker

As a bonus (for writing IoT Edge modules for the RPI), i did a quick test to confirm that all of this works in a docker container too.  There will be official guidance and tooling from the IoT product group in the future, but for now, a simple Dockerfile like this works for creating a docker image that contains a Python app that uses our Python SDK…

FROM python:2.7.15-stretch

WORKDIR /usr/src/app

RUN apt-get update && apt-get install libboost-python1.62.0

COPY requirements.txt ./

RUN pip install --no-cache-dir -r requirements.txt

COPY . .

CMD [ "python", "-u", "./" ]

the requirements.txt file, just contains one line:   “azure-iothub-device-client”

next up, I’ll be testing with a full blown IoT Edge module on the raspberry pi, and I’ll post the results soon