We need a bigger community

I’m tired of feeling like I’m using an esoteric platform.
I can’t find tutorials using the Photon or Electron. No Youtube videos (other than the very basic).
No projects and no articles using them. Not even a damn book that goes deep into the hardware and present challenging and rewarding projects.
I understand we live in the land of Arduino’s and Raspberry Pi’s and at first I had thought that’s a valid reason for this dearth of information. But now, the internet is going crazy over the ESP32.
Am I the only one who feels that the maker/hobbyist community is stepping over the Particles ?

(We still need a solid beginner to intermediate book tho)

Huh? You did notice the PROJECTS button at the top of the page, right?? I also see plenty of YouTube videos for the Photon and Electron that are beyond basic. Is there something particular that you think is lacking in the projects and tutorials that are out there (including the tutorials on this site)?

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There aren’t as much videos as other platforms though. Another thing on YouTube is that there’s pretty much no talks utilizing the particle platform. No evangelism whatsoever. We need people like Kelsey Breseman (She evangelizes for the Tessel 2). Some high level big picture talks about using the Photon/Particle to change something for the better (I refuse to say “make the world a better place” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ). Playlists using the Photon that explains and demonstrates the platform in depth would be nice. Something like this playlist for the ESP32
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB-czhEQLJbWMOl7Ew4QW1LpoUUE7QMOo.
It came out around 4 months ago and Youtube is going crazy for it already.

And a beginner to intermediate book.

Hi @MustafaAdam,

You are actually part of the largest and most active IoT community, there are tons of example projects, and products, and books! ( https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Started-Photon-Affordable-Hackable/dp/1457187019 ). There are amazing hackathons happening in maker spaces around the world almost every week, put on by amazing local groups, and bigger (also awesome) groups like Major League Hacking.

It sounds like you’re hoping to find something and you’re not finding it, why not ask here and let the community help you? Or if there’s a project you want to see, why not create it? :slight_smile:

I hope that helps!

Thanks,
David

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Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s just me then. But I do feel left out from cool in depth YouTube videos and playlists.

Allow me to insist on two points though.

  1. Not enough in depth books. I’m aware of Simon Monk’s and Christopher Rush’s books on the photon, but we need more in depth books.
  2. Not enough talks and evangelizing of the capabilities of the Photon and the Electron.

As for the hackathon, that’s the best way to actually learn and enjoy actually doing the projects. I wish I lived in a western country where cool things like that happens, but unfortunately we don’t do much of this in the UAE.

Could you define what you mean by that? What information are you missing that the existing books, docs, forums, and existing projects don’t offer?
The language used is based on Arduino, which is basically C++, for which there are more than enough books/resources. The same projects that apply to the Arduino also apply to the Particle devices, though ‘ours’ offer additional connectivity. Most of those books are thus applicable too.

Just because they’re not being recorded does not mean they’re not being held. I know for a fact that @kennethlimcp, for example, has held multiple talks about the Particle ecosystem, and even won some prizes.

There might be your problem :wink: Again, just because you don’t notice it (locally) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Sure, the more, the better, but it’s not like nothing’s happening. Particle also often attends Maker Faires, a big one in San Francisco coming up next month. Thousands upon thousands of people pass through there.

To reiterate the question asked before: what exactly are you hoping to find, maybe we can help out?

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AMEN!

Its unlikely that you’ll find anyone at Particle to disagree with that statement!!

I think that the recent work to get Arduino libraries to more easily port to Particle is an important step forward. Easy access to many many hardware options is what keeps Arduino/Pi so strong in the maker world. Their lack of innovation on the hardware side (vis à vis Particle Photon, RPi Zero, Adafruit’s Feather, ESP8266) may affect that platform in the long run as well. Let’s face it they are being constantly lapped on form, function and price.

In my opinion, none of the alternate platforms have the cloud developed as strongly as Particle, unless you want to piecemeal a solution together with other event management tools (i.e. IFTTT + Ubidots + balh, blah, blah).

More evangelical work may be in order as well… you could be an evangelist!

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He has a bit of a point. An awful lot of the magazine style examples online are of the “Look how easy it is to send data from this sensor to IFTT/Thingspeak” variety. This is the simplest possible project you could seek to undertake, there is no code on the web-side whatsoever and little need for any appreciation of the limitations of an embedded system on the device side. You get a nice feeling of satisfaction when you finish but what you have is basically useless.However these are the Hobby level projects, which is what you are talking about, they are legion and they are backed up by excellent documentation.

Where I feel it starts to fall down is where hobbyist ends and a professional product begins. Particle has developed all sorts of concepts around “Products” and “Customers” but there doesn’t seem to be a full working example of that ecosystem in action. We all learn things in different ways, personally I like to see it working as well as have it backed up with nice documentation.

There are two types of people who might want to use a particle in a commercial project. Software/Web developers who need an easy way to control something physical. And hardware people who need to connect their device to the cloud, I think the first is served much better than the second by what is currently available.

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Fair enough I guess.

That said, I don’t think it’s Particle’s responsibility to provide folks with tutorials on how to program/connect, especially everything non-Particle specific. The Particle system from the outside can be treated as a black-box with a REST interface. No need to know what’s going on behind the scenes, just need to know how to get the data to/from the API. How you then choose to work with that API is entirely up to you.
That’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice if there were more elaborate tutorials, sure, but I can understand it’s not a priority to teach people how to set up a database, code an app or make a website. Those things are separate from the Particle ecosystem, and there are plenty of resources available on how to do most of those things. The best approach then would be to make sure the interactions are as smooth and easy as possible, which a REST API caters nicely to.

What content is missing that is Particle specific, as in, applies only to Particle? Showing folks how to make a connected weather station with a web interface and app is ‘merely’ a combination of stand-alone pieces. That would not be ‘eligible’ for a high-priority tutorial if it were up to me. Showing a complete example of a product with user various methods of user authentication would me more preferred, and is also Particle-specific.

I think it’s a matter of figuring out what’s out there already, though it might not be labeled ‘… Particle…’. A lot of ‘things’ already exist, which, when combined, can create many of the projects people are looking for. The missing pieces are where Particle could/should(?) step in.

I hope that sort of makes sense :wink:

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Undoubtedly there are, but many of them are truly bad, out of date and even insecure, even a general article that refers to some trusted non-shonky examples/tutorials of the various parts would improve things immensely. On the electronics side you can go to somewhere like Adafruit or Sparkfun and buy all the sensors and displays you want on little board and click the whole thing together like lego and these are covered in Particle specific tutorials and endless questions on here.[quote=“Moors7, post:9, topic:31348”]
Showing a complete example of a product with user various methods of user authentication would me more preferred, and is also Particle-specific.
[/quote]

Yes this bit here I think is the key bit, if you have never built something like this it is pretty daunting, it would be far less so if with a working example. I think there’s also an opportunity here for a 3rd party service or Particle+ to integrate the kind of things Ubidots or Pubnub or even Azure (where you seem to have to do a lot more of the work) does with Particles Customer/Device/Product model in one seamless system.

Have you checked out www.hackster.io yet?

Or https://particle.hackster.io?

Thanks for the feedback @MustafaAdam – it’s much appreciated. Indeed, we do have close to 700 projects on Hackster, but the fact that you weren’t aware of them means we haven’t done as good a job as we should be doing at making you aware of them.

Content generation takes lots of time and resources, and it’s absolutely the kind of thing that we will continue to invest in as we continue to grow and scale our team. That includes working with influencers and authors to create books, online video tutorials, and instructional content.

Thank you for your feedback – I’ve shared it internally and it’s prompted some good discussion. I sincerely encourage you to continue sharing all feedback, positive or negative, with us. It’s much appreciated and helps us improve.

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I respect the tone of the conversation here. I can see ALL points of view on this. I have two Particles and one Electron. I’m on Hackster, et al. Recently, I completed a survey about Particle products. I loved them when they first came out. A few simple little projects that I was able to do pretty quickly had me buying these for friends with Maker interests. For those first projects, the interface worked well. The Blink was flawless! And, cool! IFTTT was awesome. Right now I have one on the kitchen counter right now working as it has been for a couple years now.

But, at a certain point, as was observed in other comments

  1. The online IDE didn’t make sense at a certain point and instructions were confusing. What I thought I read, saw on the interface and saw on my devices didn’t seem to match up when I went beyond those simple programs. It’s been a while since I got on to the site, but I think I remember being pretty confused just trying to figure out how to load and adapt an example script. Then, I had to figure out how to upload a particular script to the desired Particle.
  2. I never figured out how to control my Particle from a web page. And, I read a bunch of tutorials. I’m sure I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I do remember thinking that the tutorials I was reading seemed to miss a key element. And, being very busy in my professional life, I just didn’t have time to pursue it further.

Nonetheless, I do like the Particle very much. In fact, I have had some good things happen as a result of having my Particles and Electron. For me, though, I couldn’t get beyond a certain pretty simplistic ceiling and then gave up. Sort of. Obviously, I care. I’m reading this and haven’t been on the IDE in over a year (which, BTW, says a lot about build quality of my devices!). I think the ALL the posters in this thread care. And, perhaps we all have something to learn.

Mike D

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The market is definitely becoming saturated with system-on-a-chip devices, but whether or not it’s popular like Raspberry Pi or not I don’t think is important. Tight knit communities with good support on forums, like this, is key.

Particle’s can be programmed just like Arduino’s or Pi’s. In fact, when I’m programming something for my particle my go-to search term in Google will be something like “arduino motion sensor”, click on images for schematics, and then interpret that for the particle. Don’t get caught up books for specific boards unless you want to fully utilise that board to its full potential.

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This is the best post someone in your position (in any company) could make. While I also disagree with the OP it does highlight that not everyone is aware of the size of the community. This could be due to searches being more tricky because of the product and platform name. I usually add IoT as a tag to any searches. Thanks for not taking an elitist or egotistical stance on this topic.

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I hope that wasn’t a sideswipe at the forum title of the mods :wink: :see_no_evil:

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