The AllJoyn™ framework runs on the local network. It enables devices and apps to advertise and discover each other. This section explains the network architecture and the relationship between various AllJoyn components.
Apps and Routers
The AllJoyn framework comprises AllJoyn Apps and AllJoyn Routers, or Apps and Routers for short. Apps communicate with Routers and Routers communicate with Apps. Apps can only communicate with other Apps by going through a Router.
Apps and Routers can live on the same physical device, or on different devices. From an AllJoyn perspective, it doesn’t matter. In reality, three common topologies exist:
- An App uses its own Router. In this case, the Router is called a “Bundled Router” as it is bundled with the App. AllJoyn Apps on mobile OSes like Android and iOS and desktop OSes like Mac OS X and Windows generally fall in this group.
- Multiple Apps on the same device use one Router. In this case, the Router is called a “Standalone Router” and it typically runs in a background/service process. This is common on Linux systems where the AllJoyn Router runs as a daemon process and other AllJoyn apps connect to the Standalone Router. By having multiple apps on the same device use the common AllJoyn Router, the device consumes less overall resources.
- An App uses a Router on a different device. Embedded devices (which use the Thin variant of the AllJoyn framework, more on this later) typically fall in this camp as the embedded device typically does not have enough CPU and memory to run the AllJoyn router.
The AllJoyn framework runs on the local network. It currently supports Wi-Fi, Ethernet, serial, and Power Line (PLC), but since the AllJoyn software was written to be transport-agnostic and since the AllJoyn system is an evolving open-source project, support for more transports can be added in the future.
Additionally, bridge software can be created to bridge the AllJoyn framework to other systems like Zigbee, Z-wave, or the cloud. In fact, a Working Group is working on adding a Gateway Agent as a standard AllJoyn service.
The AllJoyn network comprises AllJoyn Applications and AllJoyn Routers.
An AllJoyn Application comprises the following components:
An AllJoyn Router can either run as standalone or is sometimes bundled with the AllJoyn Core Library.
The AllJoyn router routes AllJoyn messages between AllJoyn Routers and Applications, including between different transports.
AllJoyn Core Library
The AllJoyn Core Library provides the lowest level set of APIs to interact with the AllJoyn network. It provides direct access to:
- Advertisements and discovery
- Session creation
- Interface defintion of methods, properties, and signals
- Object creation and handling
Developers use these APIs to implement AllJoyn service frameworks, or to implement private interfaces.
AllJoyn Service Framework Libraries
The AllJoyn Service Frameworks implement a set of common services, like onboarding, notification, or control panel. By using the common AllJoyn service frameworks, apps and devices can properly interoperate with each other to perform a specific functionality.
Service frameworks are broken out into AllSeen Working Groups:
- Base Services
- Onboarding. Provide a consistent way to bring a new device onto the Wi-Fi network.
- Configuration. Allows one to configure certain attributes of an application/device, such as its friendly name.
- Notifications. Allows text-based notifications to be sent and received by devices on the AllJoyn network. Also supports audio and images via URLs.
- Control Panel. Allows devices to advertise a virtual control panel to be controlled remotely.
- More Service Frameworks. More service frameworks are actively being developed by the AllSeen Working Groups.
Developers are encouraged to use AllJoyn Service Frameworks where possible. If an existing service is not available, then the developer is encouraged to work with the AllSeen Alliance to create a standard service. In some cases, using private services and intefaces makes the most sense; howerver, those services would not be able to interoperate and take advantage of the larger AllJoyn ecosystem of devices and apps.
AllJoyn App Code
This is the application logic of the AllJoyn application. It can be programmed to either the AllJoyn Service Frameworks Libraries, which provide higher level functionality, or the AllJoyn Core Library, which provides direct access to the AllJoyn Core APIs.
Thin and Standard
The AllJoyn framework provides two variants:
- Standard. For non-embedded devices, like Android, iOS, Linux.
- Thin. For resource-constrained embedded devices, like Arduino, ThreadX, Linux with limited memory.
Typically, applications will be written using the AllJoyn Service Framework APIs so that the applications can be compatible with devices using the same Service Frameworks. Only by using AllJoyn Service Frameworks developed by AllSeen Working Groups will the application be compatible with other applications and devices in the AllSeen ecosystem.
If an application wishes to implement its own service, it can do so by programming directly to the AllJoyn Core APIs. When doing so, it is recommended to follow the Events and Actions convention to enable ad hoc interactions between other AllJoyn devices.
The application can use both the Service Framework and Core APIs side by side.