Active Perl

Unfortunately, HCA doesn’t have the means to directly connect to Arduinos.  Recently HCA did add a “foundation to integrate IP and serial based devices that communicate in any protocol”, but I haven’t been able to make it work with Arduinos.  In place of that I have written a number of Perl programs that allow 2-way communication between HCA and Arduinos.  If you’ve never coded a program before please don’t get all nervous.  I’ll supply the coding, but I think you’ll see it isn’t that complicated.

Strawberry Perl is a commercial product that has a free “community” version that has been more than adequate for my purposes.  You download the installer, let it default to the c:\perl folder, include it in the path and you are good to go.  There are libraries for additional functions but the latest version of Strawberry Perl includes everything you’ll need.  You might want to install the PPM just to have it.

For our use, Perl is a scripting language – where a text file containing Perl statements is read by the Perl interpreter and stuff happens.  The interpreter is perl.exe and since it is in the Windows path it can be started directly from the command line, and while testing you will likely be doing this.  More importantly it can also be called from HCA, along with passing parameters – such as the address of the Arduino you want to send a command to, along with the command.

Perl can also run continually, looking for incoming packets and placing them into a file.  HCA has this rather powerful ability to read that file, import those “flags” and take actions based on them.  More details to follow, of course.

As In Various and Sundry