Holland firm gets national attention for Internet of Things expertise

November 23rd, 2015 | SpinDance | News

Source: M-Live

Written by Shandra Martinez

HOLLAND, MI — When Mike Ellis first put the term “Internet of Things” on a Powerpoint 15 years ago, he remembers his clients giving him strange looks.

“Everybody looked at us like we were three-headed,” Ellis said.

Now, the Internet of Things — often seen in abbreviated form “IoT” — is the buzzword in the tech world referring to the growing trend of connecting everyday objects to the Internet.

Ellis’ firm SpinDance is so deep in the technology, the small Holland firm was invited to join the ARMmbed ecosystem to share its expertise in designing and building end-to-end systems for IoT.

Internet of Things expertise
ARM is an industry leader and an innovator in the world of embedded devices,” said Eric Smith, vice-president of engineering at SpinDance, about joining the partnership. “We believe the mbed platform and associated partnershipARM has formed will be a catalyst for IoT growth and we are excited to be a part of it.”

The mbed partnership brings together chip manufacturers, module makers, cloud software as a service platforms, and system integrators, like SpinDance, to create a complete ecosystem of hardware and services required to deliver connected, smart products to businesses and consumers, all utilizing the mbed IoT Device Platform.

“Real value can be unlocked in IoT systems using big data to drive decision-making,”…

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Lakeshore Bit Camp

SpinDance Hosts Lakeshore BitCamp

November 20th, 2015 | SpinDance | News

MICHIGAN, November 20, 2015 – SpinDance, Inc. of Holland, Michigan hosted the first BitCamp on the lakeshore on Saturday, November 14, 2015.

BitCamp is a one-day event where middle school girls from the area are introduced to software development. The program is taught by area software professionals. Deb Fisher of SpinDance notes, “It was really neat to see how excited the girls were to create their own web page. They asked questions that made it obvious that they were grasping the concepts they were being taught.”

At the end of a day of designing a webpage, the students present to the group and their parents. SpinDance’s Megan Bailey commented, “BitCamp was a great opportunity to watch young ladies grow their curiosity about web development. The best part was watching them react to changing their web page, you could see their excitement grow as they realized what they could do.”

Bit Camp
BitCamp is a program sponsored by SoftwareGR, of which SpinDance is a member. The program seeks to promote the software engineering field as a viable alternative for women. Gender imbalance in the software profession has been a challenge for the industry for many years. Area firms, such as SpinDance, are seeking ways to close that gap. BitCamp is designed to help girls nurture their aptitude for software engineering at a time when they might be likely to shy away from it for social stigma reasons….

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ARM TechCon

November 11th, 2015 | Kevin Virta | News

SpinDance is enjoying a strong presence at ARM TechCon 2015.

The week started early for us as we participated in the the mbed Connect conference in advance of the TechCon show.  This conference was held for ARM mbed ecosystem partners to share the latest ARM mbed technology and plans for 2016.  After the day’s events and meetings, we came away convinced that joining the ecosystem was the right move.  We are  impressed with the direction ARM mbed has taken and we believe our work at SpinDance to help strengthen the ARM mbed platform will add value to an already best-in-class solution.

ARM TechCon kicked-off on Tuesday with SpinDance’s Mike Stitt as one of the first presenters.  Mike gave a talk on how to design and build an automated firmware update system for ARM Cortex M4 processors.  The talk was well-attended and well-received.  It seems there is a fair amount of buzz at TechCon, especially within ARM mbed, around the growing need for systems like the one Mike presented as connected devices become more ubiquitous.

At a high-level, the session contends that automated firmware download in a continuous delivery system is challenging, but achievable. There were some hard-learned lessons and valuable knowledge gained in the process of creating such systems that we look forward to applying to future customer projects.

SpinDance also provided a demo in the ARM mbed Zone….

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Using Abstraction to Manage Complex Code

November 5th, 2015 | Brian Ensink | Development

As software developers, we spend significant effort understanding and building software to solve complex problems. Any piece of non-trivial software quickly becomes too big to comprehend as a single unit of code. We can only keep so many details in mind. So, how do we deal with our human limitations? In a single word, we use “abstraction,” of course! An abstraction substitutes a simpler, or generalized, idea for a more complex one. Abstractions reduce the number of details we need to keep in mind simultaneously.

We use abstractions at every level of software from functions, classes, libraries, and even large components. For example, a relational database certainly qualifies as a complex piece of code, but unless you are implementing an RDBMS, you can consider it more abstractly as a tool for storing and querying data.

Whether you are an experienced developer, or just starting out in the industry, it is good to remember the fundamental abstraction techniques we use to manage code complexity. Let’s review three of those techniques now.

Inheritance

Object-oriented languages support abstraction with base classes and interfaces that represent a generalization of more concrete subclasses. Inheritance forms an “is-a” relationship where we say, for example, a circle is-a shape.

Simply building a class hierarchy, or implementing an interface, does little to manage complexity on its own, though. The abstraction is effective when client code is able to use the base types without the need to be aware of the details of the concrete subclasses….

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