Thingpedia Device API Reference

This documents details the APIs available to Thingpedia devices (JS packages uploaded to Thingpedia). Most APIs are part of the thingpedia JS package, with the exception of the Engine class and the Platform class, which are part of thingengine-core.

Top-level package

The thingpedia package contains:

Versioning of Thingpedia

The thingpedia module is versioned, and you can access the version that is loaded together with your interface using the version property on the module.

The version is an object with the following properties:

  • major: major version, updated if there are incompatible changes to the APIs
  • minor: minor version, updated for the new features and compatible API additions
  • valueOf(): returns the version as a single number (for comparison purposes)

At the time of writing, the thingpedia package is at version 2.1.

Class BaseDevice

The base class of all devices in Thingpedia.


constructor(engine : Engine, state : object)

Initialize the device. Commonly the constructor will set, this.description and this.uniqueId based on the data in state.

property name : string

A string that will be shown in the list of devices a user owns in My Almond page.

A common way is to concatenate the device name and the user name from the service. E.g., = "LinkedIn Account of %s".format(this.userName);.

property uniqueId

this.uniqueId : string

A string that uniquely identifies the device instance in the context of a given Almond; you are supposed to compute it based on the state and set it at the end of your constructor.

A common way to compute an unique ID is to concatenate the kind, a dash, and then some device specific ID, as in LinkedIn, it would be "com.linkedin-" + this.userId.

property description

this.description : string

A string that describe the purpose of the device, which will be shown in My Almond page.

property descriptors

this.descriptors : Array<string>

A list of discovery descriptors (unique identifiers associated with a specific discovery protocol) for this device.

See the Guide to Authentication and Discovery for further information.

property isTransient

this.isTransient : bool

Set this property to true to mark your device as transient. Transient devices are not saved to disk and disappear after the user restarts Almond.

Most developers should not mark their devices as transient.

getter state

get state() : object

An arbitrary serializable JS object with data you will need to talk to the device - including IP address, OAuth tokens, variable portions of API urls, etc.

getter kind

get kind() : string

The primary kind associated with your device, e.g. com.linkedin.

getter engine

get engine() : Engine

Gives you access to the full Engine API.

method stateChanged

function stateChanged()

If you change this.state, you must at some point call this.stateChanged to preserve the modification to disk.

method updateState

function updateState(newState : object)

If the state changes outside of you, and you want to recompute state, you should override updateState() to handle the new state; the overriding method should chain up (with super.updateState(newState)) as the first statement.

method start

function start() : Promise<any>

Called when the engine starts, or the device is configured the first time. You can override this method to run any async initialization for your device, by returning a promise that is resolved when your device is ready. The value that the promise resolves to is ignored.

method stop

function stop() : Promise<any>

Called when the engine stop, or the device is removed. Override this method to undo any initialization that was done during start(), and release all resources (e.g. timers, network connections) associated with the device.

method hasKind

function hasKind(kind : string) : bool

Check if this device instance supports the given type.

The default implementation uses the metadata in Thingpedia. You can override this method, but you are encouraged not to.

method queryInterface

function queryInterface(iface : string) : ?object

Request an extension interface for this device instance; extension interfaces are optional features that your device class supports; override this method if you have any, otherwise the default implementation will always return null.

The most important extension interface is subdevices. If you implement it (i.e., you return anything that is not null), your device is assumed to be a collection of related devices (like a Nest Account or a Philips Hue bridge). You must return an instance of ObjectSet containing the devices related to yours. You are responsible for calling objectAdded and objectRemoved if related devices can appear and disappear dynamically.

method checkAvailable

function checkAvailable() : Promise<Availability>

Asynchronously check if the device is available (i.e. it is reachable given the current network conditions).

You should override this method for physical devices, in particular those that that use local connectivity protocols. This method will not be called if you choose a category other than “Physical device” in the manifest.

The default implementation returns Availability.UNKNOWN.

static method runOAuth2

function runOAuth2(engine : Engine, req : http.IncomingMessage|null) : Promise<any>

f your device can be instantiated with an OAuth-like flow (user clicks on a button, is redirected to a login page), this should be set to the handler. Despite the name, this is called also for OAuth 1.

See the Guide to Authentication and Discovery for further information.

static method loadFromDiscovery

function loadFromDiscovery(engine : Engine, publicData : object, privateData : object) : Promise<BaseDevice>

This method is called to initially load a device that supports local discovery (e.g. Bluetooth or UPnP).

See the Guide to Authentication and Discovery for further information.

method completeDiscovery

function completeDiscovery(delegate : ConfigDelegate)

This method is called on a partially initialized device instance to complete interactive discovery.

If your device supports discovery, you must override this method and interact with the user through the passed delegate to complete configuring the device.

See the Guide to Authentication and Discovery for further information.

method updateFromDiscovery

function updateFromDiscovery(privateData : object)

This method is called on a fully initialized device instance when the discovery subsystem discovers the device again (e.g. the user asks for Bluetooth discovery and a previously configured device is in range).

Override this method to update any stored information with the new values obtained from the discovery protocol.

See the Guide to Authentication and Discovery for further information.

Enum Availability

  • UNAVAILABLE: the device is not available (powered off or disconnected)
  • AVAILABLE: the device is available (powered on, connected, and correctly configured)
  • OWNER_UNAVAILABLE: the device belongs to a different Almond, or requires proxying through an Almond that is off or not connected
  • UNKNOWN: it was not possible to determine whether the device is available

Interface Messaging

The Messaging interface is an abstraction over multiple messaging systems, such as Omlet or Matrix. It is used to implement Communicating Almond.

If you wish to implement a messaging device over which Communicating Almond can operate, you should return an implementation of this interface from your queryInterface() method when called with interface messaging.

getter isAvailable

get isAvailable() : bool

Returns true if a messaging account has been configured, false otherwise.

get account

get account() : string

Returns the protocol-specific account identifier for the currently configured messaging account.

method start

function start() : Promise<any>

Initialize the messaging capability. This method is a good place to connect to the upstream service and start synchronizing messages and chat rooms.

method stop

function stop() : Promise<any>

Release any resource that was acquired during start().

method getIdentities

function getIdentities() : Array<string>

Returns an array of all the identities (phone numbers and email addresses) associated with this account. Each identity is a string of the form phone: or email: followed by the actual identity.

method getFeedList

function getFeedList() : Promise<Array<Messaging.Feed>>

Returns the list of all the feeds that the user is member of.

method getFeed

function getFeed(feedId : string) : Promise<Messaging.Feed|null>

Returns the feed associated with this identifier, or null if the identifier is not valid.

method getFeedWithContact

function getFeedWithContact(contactId : string) : Promise<Messaging.Feed>

Retrieve a conversation with the given contact (which should be an account identifier), or create one if no conversation exists.

method searchAccountByName

function searchAccountByName(name : string) : Promise<Array<Messaging.User>>

Search the messaging service for all users with the given name.

method getAccountForIdentity

function getAccountForIdentity(identity : string) : Promise<Messaging.User>

Convert the identity string to an account for the service.

Interface ConfigDelegate

The ConfigDelegate interface is implemented by Almond and passed to completeDiscovery() to configure discovered devices interactively.

All methods in this class will throw an error with code ECANCELLED if the user cancels during configuration.

method configDone

function configDone()

Call this method when discovery is complete and the device is fully set up.

method configFailed

function configFailed(error : Error)

Call this method to fail configuration with an error.

method confirm

function confirm(question : String) : Promise<bool>

Asks the user a yes/no question. Returns true if the user answered yes, and false if the user answered no.

method requestCode

function requestCode(question : String) : Promise<string>

Asks the user a free-form question. No parsing is performed of the user input. Use this method to ask for a PIN or password (e.g. a Bluetooth pairing PIN).

Module ObjectSet

The ObjectSet module contains interfaces to deal with sets of objects that can change dynamically and can be observed from outside.

Use this module to implement collection devices, such as hubs or accounts that host multiple devices.

Class ObjectSet.Base

The ObjectSet.Base is the base class of all object sets.

method objectAdded

function objectAdded(object : object)

Report that the object was added to the set. An ObjectSet implementation must call this method any time an object is added.

method objectRemoved

function objectRemoved(object : object)

Report that the object was removed from the set. An ObjectSet implementation must call this method any time an object is removed.

abstract method values

function values() : Array<object>

Returns the array of values currently in this ObjectSet

abstract method start

function start() : Promise<any>

Start monitoring the underlying collection of objects.

abstract method stop

function stop() : Promise<any>

Stop monitoring the underlying collection of objects and release any resource acquired during start().

Class ObjectSet.Simple

A simple implementation of ObjectSet.Base for objects that can be identified by uniqueId (such as devices). Uses a Map as the backing store.

The following methods are available on top of the ObjectSet.Base interface:

method addOne

function addOne(object : object|Promise<object>) : Promise<undefined>

Add an object to the set. If called with a Promise, it will wait until the promise is resolved and then add the object.

The implementation calls objectAdded internally.

method addMany

function addOne(objects : Array<object|Promise<object>>) : Promise<undefined>

Convenience method over multiple addOne() calls

method removeOne

function removeOne(object : object)

Removes the given object from the set.

The implementation calls objectRemoved internally.

method getById

function getById(uniqueId : string) : object|undefined

Returns the object with the given uniqueId, or undefined if no such object exists.

method removeById

function removeById(uniqueId : string)

Removes the object with the given uniqueId, and calls objectRemoved. Does nothing, silently, if no such object exists.

method removeIf

function removeIf(predicate : (object) => bool)

Remove all objects for which predicate returns true.

method removeAll

function removeAll()

Remove all objects in the set.

Module Helpers

A collections of useful APIs.

Module Helpers.Http

The Helpers.Http module provides a fully-featured HTTP client. It extends the nodejs HTTP API to support buffering, OAuth 2.0 authentication, 3xx redirect handling, better header handling, and a Promise-based API.

function get

function get(url : string, options : ?object) : Promise<string|[Buffer, string]>

Perform a buffered HTTP GET. options can contain the following:

  • auth : string: the value of Authorization header
  • accept : string: the value of Accept header
  • useOAuth2 : BaseDevice: if set, the Authorization header will be computed for the passed device based on the OAuth 2.0 standard; using this option also enables automatic refresh token handling (if the refresh token exists). This option is ignored if auth is also set.
  • authMethod : string: set this to override the prefix of the Authorization header; defaults to Bearer. This option is ignored unless useOAuth2 is set.
  • user-agent : string: set the User-Agent header; if unset a default user agent is used.
  • extraHeaders : Array<string>: an array of other request headers to set
  • ignoreErrors : bool: set to true to ignore errors (HTTP statuses 300 and higher); defaults to false
  • followRedirects : bool: set to false to disable automatic handling of HTTP redirects (status 301, 302 and 303); defaults to true
  • raw : bool: return the binary response body instead of converting to a string; defaults to false

If options.raw is set, returns a tuple of the response (as a Buffer) and the Content-Type header. Otherwise, it returns the response body as a string.

If the HTTP request fails (returns a status code greater or equal to 300), the promise is rejected. The resulting Error object will have a code property containing the actual HTTP status code. If the HTTP status code is a redirect (between 300 and 399 inclusive), the redirect property on the error will contain the value of the Location header.

function post

function post(url : string, data : string|Buffer, options : ?object) : Promise<string|[Buffer, string]>

Perform a buffered HTTP POST. data is the content of the request body; you can pass null for an empty body.

options accepts the same options as get() plus the following:

  • dataContentType : string: the value of the Content-Type request headers

function request

function request(url : string, method : string, data : string|Buffer|null, options : ?object) : Promise<string|[Buffer, string]>

Perform a buffered HTTP request with a custom method. data and options are the same as post().

function postStream

function postStream(url : string, data : stream.Readable, options : ?object) : Promise<string|[Buffer, string]>

Perform a streaming POST request. The response will be buffered as with post().

function getStream

function getStream(url : string, options : ?object) : Promise<http.IncomingMessage>

Perform a streaming GET request. options at the same as get(), except options.raw is ignored.

The result is the http.IncomingMessage from the underlying nodejs HTTP API. The result is also a stream.Readable and can be used as such.

Module Helpers.OAuth2

The Helpers.OAuth2 module contains high-level helpers for APIs that conform to RFC 6749.

For documentation on these helpers, see the Guide to Authentication and Discovery.

Module Helpers.Content

The Helpers.Content module allows you to deal with URLs that might not be accessible publicly, such as file:// or content:// URL. It is useful to allow uploading of pictures that the user chose from their local device.

function isPubliclyAccessible

function isPubliclyAccessible(string : url) : bool

Returns true if the URL is publicly accessible (i.e. it can be accessed using the HTTP helpers, and false if the URL is local-only (e.g. a file:// URL).

Note that this function does not attempt to resolve the URL, and will return true even if the URL is expired, invalid or requires authentication.

function getStream

function getStream(platform : Platform, string : url) : Promise<stream.Readable>

Stream the content of the given url. If url is an HTTP URL, it performs a streaming GET request with no authentication. Otherwise, it will load the URL using a platform specific method.

The resulting stream will have the contentType property set to the Content-Type of the stream.

function getData

function getData(platform : Platform, string : url) : Promise<Buffer>

Similar to getStream, but buffers the response into a single Buffer.

The resulting Buffer will have the contentType property set.

Module Helpers.Rss

The Helpers.Rss module contains a simple RSS reader library, optimized to implement RSS based queries.

The library supports both RSS 1.0 and Atom formats.

function get

function get(url : string, options : ?object) : Promise<Array<RSSItem>>

Retrieves the RSS feed at url. options has the same meaning as Helpers.Http.get.

The result RSSItem object has the following properties:

  • title: the title of the post
  • link: the URL of the post
  • updated_time: the date at which the post was last updated (as a Date object)
  • description: the description of the post
  • picture_url: the main picture associated with the post, if any

If the RSS feed does not provide a value for any of these properties, the value will be empty.

The resulting array is sorted by updated_time, with most recently updated posts first.

Module Helpers.Xml

function parseString

function parseString(xml : string) : Promise<object>

Parse the given xml document using xml2js.

This module exists to expose the bundled xml2js dependency to Thingpedia interfaces, so that they don't need to bundle it themselves.

Class Helpers.PollingStream

Helpers.PollingStream is an implementation of stream.Readable (in object mode) that will push a new result every time a timer fires.

This class is used to implement polling of queries, but can be useful in combination with a custom subscribe_ implementation to have more control over the polling algorithm.


constructor(state : StateBinder, interval : number, callback : () => Promise<Array<object>>)

Create a new PollingStream. state should be the state parameter passed to the subscribe_ method. interval is the polling interval in milliseconds.

callback is the actual polling callback. It will be called at most every interval milliseconds and is responsible for producing the new values in the stream. If callback fails (throws or returns a rejected promise), the stream will emit an error event.

Class Engine

this.engine on a device gives you access to the Engine object, which is shared among all device instances, but private to a specific user.

The API on the Engine object is less stable than Tp.BaseDevice, but it is nevertheless useful.

You cannot access the actual Engine class, and you cannot create new instances of this class.

getter platform

get platform() : Platform

Access the Platform instance for the current user.

getter ownTier

get ownTier() : string

The currently running tier of Almond, ie cloud or phone

getter devices

get devices() : DeviceDatabase

The database of all devices. The resulting object is a DeviceDatabase.

getter apps

get devices() : AppDatabase

The database of all long-running ThingTalk programs for the current user. The resulting object is a AppDatabase.

Use this object to run ThingTalk code.

getter thingpedia

get thingpedia() : ThingpediaClient

Provides access to a client side library to query the Thingpedia API.

getter stats

get stats() : Preferences

Provides access to a Preferences store for usage statistics and tracking.

Data stored here should be assumed to be volatile and unreliable: the user might erase it at any time, and if the engine crashes there is no guarantee it will be persisted to disk.

Class Platform

this.engine.platform gives you access to the Platform API, which allows you to interact with low-level features of the system hosting Almond.

Most of the API is for internal use only.

getter type

get type() : string

Returns the type of the platform. Known types are android, gnome, cloud and server, but your code should be prepared to deal with unknown platform types, and should prefer using hasCapability() instead.

getter locale

get locale() : string

Returns the locale of the user, as a BCP 47 Tag. For example, en-US for American English, and it-IT for Italian.

Note: some platform code uses POSIX Locale identifiers instead. These are similar but use an underscore instead of a dash. Code should be prepared to handle both.

getter timezone

get timezone() : ?string

Get the timezone of the user. The format of the resulting timezone string is unspecified, but it is known to be ok to pass to Date.toLocaleString(). Commonly, the timezone will be in POSIX format, e.g. America/Los_Angeles.

If the getter returns null or undefined, the code should use the operating system timezone.

method hasFeature

function hasFeature(feature : string) : bool

Check if the given Almond feature is enabled by this Platform and Engine.

Valid features are:

  • apps: ThingTalk code execution is allowed
  • messaging: messaging (Communicating Almond) is enabled
  • memory: memory (storing of query history) is enabled
  • discovery: device discovery is available
  • ml: local machine learning (for personalization) is possible
  • permissions: SMT-based access control checking for Communicating Almond is enabled

method getPlatformDevice

function getPlatformDevice() : ?string

Returns the identifier for a Thingpedia device that is tightly coupled with this platform. The full device identifier is formed by concatenating org.thingpedia.builtin.thingengine. to the result of this method.

This method is called during engine initialization to enable builtin devices.

method hasCapability

function hasCapability(cap : string) : bool

Returns true if the platform has the specific capability, or false otherwise.

method getCapability

function getCapability(cap : string) : ?object

Returns the interface associated with the given capability. Will return null if the capability is not supported (hasCapability(cap) returns false), or the capability has no associated object.

method getSharedPreferences

function getSharedPreferences() : Preferences

Access an instance of Preferences, which is a Almond-wide store of key-value pairs backed to disk.

method getWritableDir

function getWritableDir() : string

Returns a filesystem path that is writable and suitable to contain long-term useful files (i.e. not caches).

method getCacheDir

function getCacheDir() : string

Returns a filesystem path that is writable and suitable for caching files.

method getTmpDir

function getTmpDir() : string

Returns a filesystem path that is writable and suitable for temporary files.

The path might be the same or different than the OS temporary directory which is accessible as os.tmpdir().

method getSqliteDB

function getSqliteDB() : string

Returns the filesystem path of the primary sqlite database (the one containing devices, ThingTalk programs and other data that belongs to the user).

Use this database if you need a SQL-based local store.

method getSqliteKey

function getSqliteKey() : string

Returns the encryption key associated with the sqlite database returned by platform.getSqliteDB().

If access the database directly, you must call this method and pass the encryption key to the database before using it, or any SQL query will fail.

method getDeveloperKey

function getDeveloperKey() : ?string

Returns the currently configured Thingpedia developer key, or null if none exists.

method setDeveloperKey

function setDeveloperKey(key : string) : bool

Changes the Thingpedia developer key, and returns true if the change actually happened.

Not all platforms support changing the developer key using this API; some will unconditionally return false and do nothing.

method getOrigin

function getOrigin() : ?string

Return the URL of the web site hosting this instance of Almond.

Use this URL for OAuth redirect URIs.

method getCloudId

function getCloudId() : ?string

Return the identifier of the user in Web Almond.

This identifier is used to synchronize the device database between different Almond installations.