This short tutorial shows how to setup the new HTML5-based version of Fab Modules

Find the modules

You can find the new modules at the following address

http://mod.cba.mit.edu/mods.html

Pre-requisites

There are some pre-requisites

  • wget (apt-get install wget on a debian / ubuntu system)

  • node.js & npm (download from nodejs.org and follow instructions there)

  • Python

  • PySerial library. After getting python working, just run

sudo pip install pyserial 

Download instructions

Open a terminal and create a folder where you like the fabmodules to be downloaded.

In my case its /opt/fabmodules, and I’m creating it with sudo and I’m changing the ownership for this folder to my user :

sudo mkdir /opt/fabmodules
sudo chown -R fiore /opt/fabmodules

At this point make sure you have wget installed. Start downloading the first file:

cd /opt/fabmodules
wget http://mod.cba.mit.edu/mod_get

Now make it executable and run it:

chmod +x mod_get
./mod_get

If you followed all the instructions correctly you should now have inside /opt/fabmodules a folder named mod.cba.mit.edu.

cd mod.cba.mit.edu

You now need to copy it alogn with the mod_server folder to /usr/local/bin, make sure you use sudo if you don’t have enough privileges. Also you need to make the mod_serve file executable:

sudo cp -R mod_serve mod_server /usr/local/bin
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/mod_serve

We are almost done.

Start Fab Modules

You now can run the mod_serve, check /usr/local/bin is in your path:

mod_serve &
listening for connections from 127.0.0.1 on 12345

You can install mod_serve on all machines where you have machines attached. Then from the Fab Modules interface type in your server/port combination instead of 127.0.0.1:12345.

You can change the host and port inside the mod_server.js file, look at the top the two lines:

var server_port = '12345'
var client_address = '127.0.0.1'

Changing client_address to 0.0.0.0 will make the server listen for connections coming from any machine in the local network (or the whole internet if the machine has a public ip-address, not recommended).

You can also change the port to any greater than 1024 (otherwise you must launch mod_serve with sudo, again not recommended).

Starting mod_serve every time the machine is switched on

As you might notice you must launch the mod_serve manually every time you want to use Fab Modules.

You can automate this process, assuming you are running a Linux system supporting “Upstart” by creating a service entry for it.

Add a user to the system. I.e. fabmodules

sudo adduser fabmodules

Create (with sudo/root) a new file named /etc/init/fabmodules.conf, and add inside it

# upstart service file at /etc/init/fabmodules.conf
description "HTML5 Fab Modules"
author "Fab Foundation <fabfoundation.org>"

# When to start the service
start on runlevel [2345]

# When to stop the service
stop on shutdown

# Automatically restart process if crashed
respawn
respawn limit 10 5

# drop root proviliges and switch to mymetorapp user
setuid fabmodules
setgid fabmodules

script
    export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin
    export NODE_PATH=/usr/lib/nodejs:/usr/lib/node_modules:/usr/share/javascript
    # set to home directory of the user Meteor will be running as
    export PWD=/home/fabmoduels
    export HOME=/home/fabmodules
    exec /usr/local/bin/mod_serve >> /home/fabmodules/fabmodules.log
end script

You can test / start your service with

sudo service fabmodules start

Stop your service with

sudo service fabmodules stop

If you find any issue go and look into the /home/fabmodules/fabmodules.log file. Be aware the log might grow big in time. So you might replace the » with single >, to replace the whole file at each startup rather than appending to it.

Using Fab Modules

You can use the new Fab Modules in different ways:

Locally from your computer

Just open the index.html in your browser, and you should be going.

Locally from a web server

You can run your own webserver on the local folder. Assuming you have Python installed just run inside the folder:

python -m SimpleHTTPServer

The open the page http://localhost:8000

Using the CBA server

Open your browser on the http://mod.cba.mit.edu page and use the hosted version of the modules.

Optional configuration

The file mod_settings contains the ports and speeds used for the modules operation. Make sure they match your actual devices.

You can load your mod_settings using the last menu item appearing when you open the index.html page.