In this session I am going to chat about some simple hardware and software tools that can make prototyping and production much more economical and practical.
Question 1. Is using a Raspberry Pi a legitimate industrial solution?
YES! You wouldn't believe how many products out there use simple variations of single board computers like the Raspberry Pi. The reason why these devices are so common in development and production is that the communities behind these devices make it easy for developers to get started. Saving time by using a product backed by countless guides and third party support can help you get to the minimum viable product state much more quickly.
Question 2. Linux is free. Is it any good?
YES! If you peel back the tech stack of any large tech company you will see servers running Linux. Don't get me wrong. Windows has a valuable place on the desktop, but when it comes to developing new products Linux is the backbone of most solutions. We like Debian based flavors of Linux because of their incredible community support and countless software packages.
Question 3. I'm going to connect to my hardware with GPIO, but what should I use to quickly build a GUI for human interaction?
If you end up running Linux on your device why not use a lightweight window system such as XOrg combined with Electron. Electron is a lot like a kiosk version of Chromium, but it gives you access to so much more of the lower level NodeJS functions. Not only can you interact with devices through great libraries such as the npm node serialport package, but you can run React and other modern JS frameworks for a user experience with all the latest web technologies.
Question 4. In summary what does the stack look like for rapid product development?
Hardware --> GPIO --> Raspberry Pi --> Ubuntu Server --> XOrg --> Electron w/ npm Node SerialPort etc --> React --> Touch Screen...