A Quick Tour of Porter

Important Note

This version of Porter has been retired, and this tour is here for historical purposes only.

You probably, actually want to read the latest tour of Porter.

Greetings. Let’s take a quick look around the Porter App.

Porter is an iOS and Android app for connected hardware developers. It provides an instant, dynamic mobile user interface to Particle devices using the Particle Cloud API. If you want to learn more, you can visit the Porter website or read The Road to Porter.

Getting Started

To use Porter, you will need some Particle devices available and online in your Particle Cloud account.

You’ll also need to be running firmware on those device that uses the Particle.variable() and Particle.function() cloud functions. If you’re not using them already, they’re trivial to add.

When you first open the Porter app, you’ll need to sign into your Particle Cloud account. Your credentials aren’t stored by Porter; they’re used to obtain an access token which is only stored locally on your device.

Next, you’ll need to choose the Particle devices to use in Porter. You can have up to ten devices selected at any one time.

If you don’t see your device in the list, it’s likely not claimed through the Particle Cloud. All claimed devices show up here, whether they’re currently online or not.

Tap Done when you’ve selected the devices to use with Porter.

Working with Porter UIs

Now, you’re in business. Choose one of your devices, and Porter will create an instant UI based on the firmware’s variables and functions, provided they’ve been exposed through the Particle Cloud API, as described above.

Probably the most common scenario for Porter is to be used in testing your code. You can use the default interface to send commands and read values. But in development, we often have to try things over and over. In that case, Porter’s UI customization features will be very handy.

Pop down the configuration bar and you can quickly turn off functions and variables you don’t want to use much, and set their order on the screen.

You can also define function input types. Porter supports both simple input boxes and drop-down lists for pre-defined strings or numbers to use as inputs. You can also create pairs of buttons for boolean-like controls like on/off, up/down, and so on.

Lastly on the configuration bar we have a handful of themes that help give your devices more distinct visual identities and a better fit to your tastes. All themes are designed for high legibility and good contrast.

You’re ready to go! Wherever you are, you’ll be able to open Porter and check the status of your devices, and even better, control them directly. It’s opened up a whole new way of developing for me, and I hope it makes your Particle development much easier and more enjoyable. I’d love to hear what you’re working on, and how Porter could do more for you. Don’t hesitate to find me on Twitter or at the Porter website.

(Porter is produced by Bright/Contrast LLC. Particle and Particle Cloud are trademarks of Spark Labs, Inc.)