The world of software and information technology is no longer restricted to our computer screens. As we get farther into the 21st century, software development continues to evolve with time. Technological advancements such as virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming the norm and are continuing to influence more and more aspects of our everyday life. Since connectivity has improved in the past few years, IoT became more widespread with time. IoT technology has gained a lot of traction with the increase in mobile technology and it is expected to see a rise in the number of IoT applications as well in the coming years. There were around 15.4 billion internet-connected devices in 2015 and it is expected to reach 75.4 billion by 2025.
What is Internet of Things (IoT)?
IoT is a network of things embedded with software, sensors, and other technologies that can be controlled and accessed via the internet utilizing smart applications and software. It is a multilingual space due to its multi-component nature and diverse ways the components connect and interact with each other. The interconnection means for objects can include wireless links (NFC, Cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi) and a combination of cables (power supply, coaxial, and twisted pair). The components of an IoT system — end devices, edge computing, data storage analytic modules, and end-user applications play different roles and work in different environments. IoT has an impact on various industries, including healthcare, retail, recreation, manufacturing, and more. IoT devices can vary from household objects to industrial tools.
There are three categories for the Internet of Things:
- Smart Things: These are already widely used in our day-to-day life and include products like fitness bands, vacuum cleaners, and smartwatches capable of adjusting to individual sleep patterns. Smart things come in all shapes and sizes and intend to make your daily life easier.
- Smart homes: These are services that are a piece of a bigger system like a smart home. Smart homes include sensors for household purposes like tracking energy, light usage, climate control, and even managing security cameras. And all these devices could communicate with each other, send you information, and take your commands. Smart services are not as popular as smart things, yet are increasing in popularity at a rapid pace.
- Smart cities: This type of IoT implementation is only in its initial stages but is very promising. A basic example of an IoT smart city would be smart parking. This service automatically shows users where they could find free parking spaces in the neighborhood.
Factors that influence the choice of C++ for IoT projects
Not surprisingly, many factors determine which language is a better choice in a given circumstance or business case. Their characteristics and requirements determine what programming languages IoT developers will use for coding. However, numerous things are taken into account more often than others:
Hardware: The choice of IoT hardware helps narrow down language options. For instance, low-level languages like C or C++ are the most sensible if not the only choice for small low-power devices that can only run a compact script due to memory constraints. The same rule applies to computing power — the less computing power is available, the more optimized the code has to be.
Developer tools: Another factor that may help choose C++ software development for IoT apps is the availability of tools, libraries, development environment, and community support. Open-source languages are usually more advanced in this case.
Speed and cost of development: As a rule, coding in more flexible languages like Python may take less time and effort than using more complex C++. So if you need to speed up the development, for example, to show an MVP for investors or start testing your system the earliest, you might lean towards taking on a more versatile programming language like C++. However, in this case, you may need more costly and powerful hardware to run the code. So it is going to be a trade-off between the cost of development and the cost of hardware.
IoT app development projects with C++
C++ is a general-purpose programming language that was developed to improve C language and include an object-oriented paradigm. This in turn had replaced assembly language to achieve machine learning in the UNIX operating system. Like the highly valuable functional and structural paradigms that old C establishes, advanced C++ improves those paradigms by making object-oriented programming possible within the language.
Object-Oriented Programming is programming in which we design and build smart applications or C++ software development projects based on the object. Objects are instances (variables) of class. It is an imperative and a compiled language. With C++ inheritance, one object obtains all the properties and behaviors of its parent object automatically. It lets you reuse, extend or modify the attributes and behaviors defined in other classes.
C++ programming advantage for IoT projects is that it provides access to not only low-level system resources but also makes sure that the memory stack is free from unwanted system calls. It allows you to utilize inline functions for the replacement of macro definitions. C++ is an ideal choice for embedded system programming like sensor projects because of its ability to use constructors and overloaded functions. It has a namespace feature that does not let your program fail if it has any naming conflicts issues.
End devices are small connected devices like sensors or actuators. They need firmware to do all the “fieldwork” like collecting metrics, turning something on or off, or perform similar simple actions. As a rule, they have less computing power and limited memory capacity. As mentioned before, a low-level language such as C or C++ makes the best programming language for IoT devices of this type. As mentioned before, a low-level language such as C++ makes the best programming language for IoT devices. Writing on С++ lets you create a compact and optimized script ideal for the firmware that can run on RAM only. Besides that, the C++ language is compatible with all well-known microcontrollers used in the IoT hardware layer.
Advantage of C++ for IoT
Designwise, C++ lends itself to embedded development because the language lies in between higher-level software and hardware, allowing you to access and control hardware directly without cutting the advantages of a high-level language. It’s particularly useful for hardware that will need to be around for a while, as programs written in C++ can operate for a long time due to the language’s high stability. It also gives C++ developers the capability to efficiently use abstractions without too much cost to infrastructure. The data structure of C++ is algorithm-based, which makes it an ideal choice for resolving all the little issues you encounter during embedded development. C++ also has processor independence, and microprocessors today come loaded with C++ compilers. Here are some more reasons for choosing C++ to build smart IoT applications.
Low-level manipulation: Since C++ is closely related to C, which is a procedural language closely linked to the machine language, C++ provides low-level manipulation of data at a specific level. That is the reason why Embedded systems and compilers are developed with the help of C++.
Multi-paradigm: C++ is a multi-paradigm programming language. The phrase “Paradigm” refers to programming style. It involves the logic, structure, and procedure of the program. The three paradigms of C++ are generic, imperative, and object-oriented. Generic programming means using a single approach to serve several objectives. Imperative programming, on the other hand, means to use the statements that change a program’s status.
Memory management: C++ gives the developer the capability of total control over memory management. It can be an asset and a liability as it increases the engagement of the user to manage memory rather than being managed itself by the Garbage collector. This method is implemented using DMA (Dynamic memory allocation) using pointers.
Object-oriented: The greatest advantage of C++ is the feature of object-oriented programming that involves concepts like classes, inheritance, polymorphism, data abstraction, and encapsulation that enable code reusability and makes a program even more secure. It also helps us deal with real-world problems by interpreting data as an object. C was previously lacking this feature and so it was created, proving to be highly significant. This feature gave birth to numerous job prospects and the future of c++ programming and development.
Portability: C++ offers the feature of portability also known as platform independence which lets the user run the same program on different operating systems or interfaces easily. For example, you write a program in LINUX OS, and for some reason, you switch to Windows, in that case, you would be able to run the same program in windows as well without any restraint.