Azure IOT Hub nRF24L01 Windows 10 IoT Core Field Gateway with BorosRF2

A couple of BorosRF2 Dual nRF24L01 Hats arrived earlier in the week. After some testing with my nRF24L01 Test application I have added compile-time configuration options for the two nRF24L01 sockets to my Azure IoT Hub nRF24L01 Field Gateway.

Boros RF2 with Dual nRF24L01 devices
public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
{
   private const string ConfigurationFilename = "config.json";

   private const byte MessageHeaderPosition = 0;
   private const byte MessageHeaderLength = 1;

   // nRF24 Hardware interface configuration
#if CEECH_NRF24L01P_SHIELD
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipEnablePin = 25;
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipSelectPin = 0;
   private const byte RF24ModuleInterruptPin = 17;
#endif

#if BOROS_RF2_SHIELD_RADIO_0
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipEnablePin = 24;
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipSelectPin = 0;
   private const byte RF24ModuleInterruptPin = 27;
#endif

#if BOROS_RF2_SHIELD_RADIO_1
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipEnablePin = 25;
   private const byte RF24ModuleChipSelectPin = 1;
   private const byte RF24ModuleInterruptPin = 22;
#endif

private readonly LoggingChannel logging = new LoggingChannel("devMobile Azure IotHub nRF24L01 Field Gateway", null, new Guid("4bd2826e-54a1-4ba9-bf63-92b73ea1ac4a"));
private readonly RF24 rf24 = new RF24();

This version supports one nRF24L01 device socket active at a time.

Enabling both nRF24L01 device sockets broke outbound message routing in a prototype branch with cloud to device(C2D) messaging support. This functionality is part of an Over The Air(OTA) device provisioning implementation I’m working o.

Windows 10 IoT Core Time-Lapse Camera Azure IoT Hub Storage Revisited

In my previous post the application uploaded images to an Azure storage account associated with an Azure IoT Hub based on configuration file settings. The application didn’t use any of the Azure IoT Hub device management functionality like device twins and direct methods.

Time-lapse camera setup

In this version only the Azure IoT hub connection string and protocol to use are stored in the JSON configuration file.

{
  "AzureIoTHubConnectionString": "",
  "TransportType": "Mqtt",
} 

On startup the application uploads a selection of properties to the Azure IoT Hub to assist with support, fault finding etc.

// This is from the OS 
reportedProperties["Timezone"] = TimeZoneSettings.CurrentTimeZoneDisplayName;
reportedProperties["OSVersion"] = Environment.OSVersion.VersionString;
reportedProperties["MachineName"] = Environment.MachineName;
reportedProperties["ApplicationDisplayName"] = package.DisplayName;
reportedProperties["ApplicationName"] = packageId.Name;
reportedProperties["ApplicationVersion"] = string.Format($"{version.Major}.{version.Minor}.{version.Build}.{version.Revision}");

// Unique identifier from the hardware
SystemIdentificationInfo systemIdentificationInfo = SystemIdentification.GetSystemIdForPublisher();
using (DataReader reader = DataReader.FromBuffer(systemIdentificationInfo.Id))
{
   byte[] bytes = new byte[systemIdentificationInfo.Id.Length];
   reader.ReadBytes(bytes);
   reportedProperties["SystemId"] = BitConverter.ToString(bytes);
}

Azure Portal Device Properties

The Azure Storage file and folder name formats along with the image capture due and update periods are configured in the DeviceTwin properties. Initially I had some problems with the dynamic property types so had to .ToString and then Timespan.TryParse the periods.

Twin deviceTwin= azureIoTHubClient.GetTwinAsync().Result;

if (!deviceTwin.Properties.Desired.Contains("AzureImageFilenameLatestFormat"))
{
   this.logging.LogMessage("DeviceTwin.Properties AzureImageFilenameLatestFormat setting missing", LoggingLevel.Warning);
   return;
}
…
if (!deviceTwin.Properties.Desired.Contains("ImageUpdateDue") || !TimeSpan.TryParse(deviceTwin.Properties.Desired["ImageUpdateDue"].Value.ToString(), out imageUpdateDue))
{
   this.logging.LogMessage("DeviceTwin.Properties ImageUpdateDue setting missing or invalid format", LoggingLevel.Warning);
   return;
}
Azure Portal Device Settings

The application also supports two commands “ImageCapture’ and “DeviceReboot”. For testing I used Azure Device Explorer

After running the installer (available from GitHub) the application will create a default configuration file in

\User Folders\LocalAppData\PhotoTimerTriggerAzureIoTHubStorage-uwp_1.2.0.0_arm__nmn3tag1rpsaw\LocalState\

Which can be downloaded, modified then uploaded using the portal file explorer application. If you want to make the application run on device start-up the radio button below needs to be selected.

Windows 10 IoT Core Time-Lapse Camera Azure IoT Hub Storage

After building a couple of time lapse camera applications for Windows 10 IoT Core I built a version which uploads the images to the Azure storage account associated with an Azure IoT Hub.

I really wanted to be able to do a time-lapse video of a storm coming up the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch and combine it with the wind direction, windspeed, temperature and humidity data from my weather station which uploads data to Azure through my Azure IoT Hub LoRa field gateway.

Time-lapse camera setup

The application captures images with a configurable period after configurable start-up delay. The Azure storage root folder name is based on the device name in the Azure IoT Hub connection string. The folder(s) where the historic images are stored are configurable and the images can optionally be in monthly, daily, hourly etc. folders. The current image is stored in the root folder for the device and it’s name is configurable.

{
  "AzureIoTHubConnectionString": "",
  "TransportType": "Mqtt",
  "AzureImageFilenameFormatLatest": "latest.jpg",
  "AzureImageFilenameFormatHistory": "{0:yyMMdd}/{0:yyMMddHHmmss}.jpg",
  "ImageUpdateDueSeconds": 30,
  "ImageUpdatePeriodSeconds": 300
} 

With the above setup I have a folder for each device in the historic fiolder and the most recent image i.e. “latest.jpg” in the root folder. The file and folder names are assembled with a parameterised string.format . The parameter {0} is the current UTC time

Pay attention to your folder/file name formatting, I was tripped up by

  • mm – minutes vs. MM – months
  • hh – 12 hour clock vs. HH -24 hour clock

With 12 images every hour

The application logs events on start-up and every time a picture is taken

After running the installer (available from GitHub) the application will create a default configuration file in

User Folders\LocalAppData\PhotoTimerTriggerAzureIoTHubStorage-uwp_1.0.0.0_arm__nmn3tag1rpsaw\LocalState\

Which can be downloaded, modified then uploaded using the portal file explorer application. If you want to make the application run on device start-up the radio button below needs to be selected.

/*
    Copyright ® 2019 March devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved
 
    MIT License

…
*/
namespace devMobile.Windows10IotCore.IoT.PhotoTimerTriggerAzureIoTHubStorage
{
	using System;
	using System.IO;
	using System.Diagnostics;
	using System.Threading;

	using Microsoft.Azure.Devices.Client;
	using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;

	using Windows.ApplicationModel;
	using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;
	using Windows.Foundation.Diagnostics;
	using Windows.Media.Capture;
	using Windows.Media.MediaProperties;
	using Windows.Storage;
	using Windows.System;
	
	public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
	{
		private BackgroundTaskDeferral backgroundTaskDeferral = null;
		private readonly LoggingChannel logging = new LoggingChannel("devMobile Photo Timer Azure IoT Hub Storage", null, new Guid("4bd2826e-54a1-4ba9-bf63-92b73ea1ac4a"));
		private DeviceClient azureIoTHubClient = null;
		private const string ConfigurationFilename = "appsettings.json";
		private Timer ImageUpdatetimer;
		private MediaCapture mediaCapture;
		private string azureIoTHubConnectionString;
		private TransportType transportType;
		private string azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat;
		private string azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat;
		private const string ImageFilenameLocal = "latest.jpg";
		private volatile bool cameraBusy = false;

		public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
		{
			StorageFolder localFolder = ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;
			int imageUpdateDueSeconds;
			int imageUpdatePeriodSeconds;

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application starting");

			// Log the Application build, OS version information etc.
			LoggingFields startupInformation = new LoggingFields();
			startupInformation.AddString("Timezone", TimeZoneSettings.CurrentTimeZoneDisplayName);
			startupInformation.AddString("OSVersion", Environment.OSVersion.VersionString);
			startupInformation.AddString("MachineName", Environment.MachineName);

			// This is from the application manifest 
			Package package = Package.Current;
			PackageId packageId = package.Id;
			PackageVersion version = packageId.Version;
			startupInformation.AddString("ApplicationVersion", string.Format($"{version.Major}.{version.Minor}.{version.Build}.{version.Revision}"));

			try
			{
				// see if the configuration file is present if not copy minimal sample one from application directory
				if (localFolder.TryGetItemAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result == null)
				{
					StorageFile templateConfigurationfile = Package.Current.InstalledLocation.GetFileAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result;
					templateConfigurationfile.CopyAsync(localFolder, ConfigurationFilename).AsTask();

					this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file missing, templated created", LoggingLevel.Warning);
					return;
				}

				IConfiguration configuration = new ConfigurationBuilder().AddJsonFile(Path.Combine(localFolder.Path, ConfigurationFilename), false, true).Build();

				azureIoTHubConnectionString = configuration.GetSection("AzureIoTHubConnectionString").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("AzureIoTHubConnectionString", azureIoTHubConnectionString);

				transportType = (TransportType)Enum.Parse( typeof(TransportType), configuration.GetSection("TransportType").Value);
				startupInformation.AddString("TransportType", transportType.ToString());

				azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameFormatLatest").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameLatestFormat", azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat);

				azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameFormatHistory").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameHistoryFormat", azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat);

				imageUpdateDueSeconds = int.Parse(configuration.GetSection("ImageUpdateDueSeconds").Value);
				startupInformation.AddInt32("ImageUpdateDueSeconds", imageUpdateDueSeconds);

				imageUpdatePeriodSeconds = int.Parse(configuration.GetSection("ImageUpdatePeriodSeconds").Value);
				startupInformation.AddInt32("ImageUpdatePeriodSeconds", imageUpdatePeriodSeconds);
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file load or settings retrieval failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			try
			{
				azureIoTHubClient = DeviceClient.CreateFromConnectionString(azureIoTHubConnectionString, transportType);
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("AzureIOT Hub connection failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			try
			{
				mediaCapture = new MediaCapture();
				mediaCapture.InitializeAsync().AsTask().Wait();
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera configuration failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			ImageUpdatetimer = new Timer(ImageUpdateTimerCallback, null, new TimeSpan(0, 0, imageUpdateDueSeconds), new TimeSpan(0, 0, imageUpdatePeriodSeconds));

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application started", startupInformation);

			//enable task to continue running in background
			backgroundTaskDeferral = taskInstance.GetDeferral();
		}

		private async void ImageUpdateTimerCallback(object state)
		{
			DateTime currentTime = DateTime.UtcNow;
			Debug.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow.ToLongTimeString()} Timer triggered");

			// Just incase - stop code being called while photo already in progress
			if (cameraBusy)
			{
				return;
			}
			cameraBusy = true;

			try
			{
				using (Windows.Storage.Streams.InMemoryRandomAccessStream captureStream = new Windows.Storage.Streams.InMemoryRandomAccessStream())
				{
					await mediaCapture.CapturePhotoToStreamAsync(ImageEncodingProperties.CreateJpeg(), captureStream);
					await captureStream.FlushAsync();
#if DEBUG
					IStorageFile photoFile = await KnownFolders.PicturesLibrary.CreateFileAsync(ImageFilenameLocal, CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting);
					ImageEncodingProperties imageProperties = ImageEncodingProperties.CreateJpeg();
					await mediaCapture.CapturePhotoToStorageFileAsync(imageProperties, photoFile);
#endif

					string azureFilenameLatest = string.Format(azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat, currentTime);
					string azureFilenameHistory = string.Format(azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat, currentTime);

					LoggingFields imageInformation = new LoggingFields();
					imageInformation.AddDateTime("TakenAtUTC", currentTime);
#if DEBUG
					imageInformation.AddString("LocalFilename", photoFile.Path);
#endif
					imageInformation.AddString("AzureFilenameLatest", azureFilenameLatest);
					imageInformation.AddString("AzureFilenameHistory", azureFilenameHistory);
					this.logging.LogEvent("Saving image(s) to Azure storage", imageInformation);

					// Update the latest image in storage
					if (!string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureFilenameLatest))
					{
						captureStream.Seek(0);
						Debug.WriteLine("AzureIoT Hub latest image upload start");
						await azureIoTHubClient.UploadToBlobAsync(azureFilenameLatest, captureStream.AsStreamForRead());
						Debug.WriteLine("AzureIoT Hub latest image upload done");
					}

					// Upload the historic image to storage
					if (!string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureFilenameHistory))
					{
						captureStream.Seek(0);
						Debug.WriteLine("AzureIoT Hub historic image upload start");
						await azureIoTHubClient.UploadToBlobAsync(azureFilenameHistory, captureStream.AsStreamForRead());
						Debug.WriteLine("AzureIoT Hub historic image upload done");
					}
				}
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera photo save or AzureIoTHub storage upload failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
			}
			finally
			{
				cameraBusy = false;
			}
		}
	}
}

The images in Azure Storage could then be assembled into a video using a tool like Time Lapse Creator or processed with Azure Custom Vision Service.

Azure Function Log4Net configuration

This post was inspired by the couple of hours lost from my life yesterday while I figured out how to get Apache Log4Net and Azure Application Insights working in an Azure Function built with .Net Core 2.X.

After extensive searching I found a couple of relevant blog posts but these had complex approaches and I wanted to keep the churn in the codebase I was working on to an absolute minimum.

With the different versions of the libraries involved (Late March 2019) this was what worked for me so YMMV. To provide the simplest possible example I have created a TimerTrigger which logs information via Log4Net to Azure Application Insights.

Initially the Log4Net configuration wasn’t loaded because its location is usually configured in the AssemblyInfo.cs file and .Net Core 2.x code doesn’t have one.

// You can specify all the values or you can default the Build and Revision Numbers
// by using the '*' as shown below:
// [assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")]
[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.0.0")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("1.0.0.0")]
[assembly: log4net.Config.XmlConfigurator]

I figured I would have to manually load the Log4Net configuration and had to look at the file system of machine running the function to figure out where the Log4Net XML configuration file was getting copied to.

The “Copy to output directory” setting is important

Then I had to get the Dependency Injection (DI) framework to build an ExecutionContext for me so I could get the FunctionAppDirectory to combine with the Log4Net config file name. I used Path.Combine which is more robust and secure than manually concatenating segments of a path together.

/*
    Copyright ® 2019 March devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved
 
    MIT License
...
*/
namespace ApplicationInsightsAzureFunctionLog4NetClient
{
	using System;
	using System.IO;
	using System.Reflection;
	using log4net;
	using log4net.Config;
	using Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Extensibility;
	using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;

	public static class ApplicationInsightsTimer
	{
		[FunctionName("ApplicationInsightsTimerLog4Net")]
		public static void Run([TimerTrigger("0 */1 * * * *")]TimerInfo myTimer, ExecutionContext executionContext)
		{
			ILog log = log4net.LogManager.GetLogger(System.Reflection.MethodBase.GetCurrentMethod().DeclaringType);

			TelemetryConfiguration.Active.InstrumentationKey = Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("InstrumentationKey", EnvironmentVariableTarget.Process);

			var logRepository = LogManager.GetRepository(Assembly.GetEntryAssembly());
			XmlConfigurator.Configure(logRepository, new FileInfo(Path.Combine(executionContext.FunctionAppDirectory, "log4net.config")));

			log.Debug("This is a Log4Net Debug message");
			log.Info("This is a Log4Net Info message");
			log.Warn("This is a Log4Net Warning message");
			log.Error("This is a Log4Net Error message");
			log.Fatal("This is a Log4Net Fatal message");

			TelemetryConfiguration.Active.TelemetryChannel.Flush();
		}
	}
}
Log4Net logging in Azure Application Insights

The latest code for my Azure Function Log4net to Applications Insights sample along with some samples for other logging platforms is available on GitHub.

Windows 10 IoT Core triggered image upload to Azure Blob storage revisited

After getting web camera images reliably uploading to Azure Storage I trialled the application and added some functionality to make it easier to use.

PIR Sensor trigger

For my test harness (in addition to a RaspberryPI & generic USB Web camera) I’m using some Seeedstudio Grove devices

  • Grove Base Hat for Raspberry PI USD9.90
  • Grove – PIR Motion Sensor USD7.90

I found that the application was taking too many photos, plus the way it was storing them in Azure storage was awkward and creating to many BlobTrigger events.

I split the Azure blob storage configuration settings into latest and historic images. This meant the trigger for the image emailer could be more selective.

public static class ImageEmailer
{
	[FunctionName("ImageEmailer")]
	public async static Task Run(
			[BlobTrigger("current/{name}")]
			Stream inputBlob,
			string name,
			[SendGrid(ApiKey = "")]
			IAsyncCollector<SendGridMessage> messageCollector,
			TraceWriter log)
	{
		log.Info($"C# Blob trigger function Processed blob Name:{name} Size: {inputBlob.Length} Bytes");

I also found that the positioning of the PIR sensor in relation to the camera field of view was important and required a bit of trial and error.

In this sample configuration the stored images are split into two containers one with the latest image for each device, the other container had a series of folders for each device which contained a historic timestamped pictures

Latest image for each device
Historic images for a device

I also added configuration settings for the digital input edge (RisingEdge vs. FallingEdge) which triggered the taking of a photo (the output of one my sensors went low when it detected motion). I also added the device MAC address as a parameter for the format configuration options as I had a couple of cloned devices with the same network name (on different physical networks) which where difficult to distinguish.

  • {0} machine name
  • {1} Device MAC Address
  • {2} UTC request timestamp
{
  "AzureStorageConnectionString": "",
  "InterruptPinNumber": 5,
  "interruptTriggerOn": "RisingEdge",
  "AzureContainerNameFormatLatest": "Current",
  "AzureImageFilenameFormatLatest": "{0}.jpg",
  "AzureContainerNameFormatHistory": "Historic",
  "AzureImageFilenameFormatHistory": "{0}/{1:yyMMddHHmmss}.jpg",
  "DebounceTimeout": "00:00:30"
} 

I also force azure storage file configuration to lower case to stop failures, but I have not validated the strings for other invalid characters and formatting issues.

/*
    Copyright ® 2019 March devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved
 
    MIT License
 ...
*/
namespace devMobile.Windows10IotCore.IoT.PhotoTimerInputTriggerAzureStorage
{
	using System;
	using System.IO;
	using System.Diagnostics;
	using System.Linq;
	using System.Net.NetworkInformation;
	using System.Threading;

	using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
	using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage;
	using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage.Blob;

	using Windows.ApplicationModel;
	using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;
	using Windows.Foundation.Diagnostics;
	using Windows.Media.Capture;
	using Windows.Media.MediaProperties;
	using Windows.Storage;
	using Windows.System;

	public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
	{
		private BackgroundTaskDeferral backgroundTaskDeferral = null;
		private readonly LoggingChannel logging = new LoggingChannel("devMobile Photo Timer Trigger Azure Storage demo", null, new Guid("4bd2826e-54a1-4ba9-bf63-92b73ea1ac4a"));
		private const string ConfigurationFilename = "appsettings.json";
		private Timer ImageUpdatetimer;
		private MediaCapture mediaCapture;
		private string deviceMacAddress;
		private string azureStorageConnectionString;
		private string azureStorageContainerNameLatestFormat;
		private string azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat;
		private string azureStorageContainerNameHistoryFormat;
		private string azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat;
		private const string ImageFilenameLocal = "latest.jpg";
		private volatile bool cameraBusy = false;

		public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
		{
			StorageFolder localFolder = ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;
			int imageUpdateDueSeconds;
			int imageUpdatePeriodSeconds;

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application starting");

			// Log the Application build, shield information etc.
			LoggingFields startupInformation = new LoggingFields();
			startupInformation.AddString("Timezone", TimeZoneSettings.CurrentTimeZoneDisplayName);
			startupInformation.AddString("OSVersion", Environment.OSVersion.VersionString);
			startupInformation.AddString("MachineName", Environment.MachineName);

			// This is from the application manifest 
			Package package = Package.Current;
			PackageId packageId = package.Id;
			PackageVersion version = packageId.Version;
			startupInformation.AddString("ApplicationVersion", string.Format($"{version.Major}.{version.Minor}.{version.Build}.{version.Revision}"));

			// ethernet mac address
			deviceMacAddress = NetworkInterface.GetAllNetworkInterfaces()
				 .Where(i => i.NetworkInterfaceType.ToString().ToLower().Contains("ethernet"))
				 .FirstOrDefault()
				 ?.GetPhysicalAddress().ToString();

			// remove unsupported charachers from MacAddress
			deviceMacAddress = deviceMacAddress.Replace("-", "").Replace(" ", "").Replace(":", "");
			startupInformation.AddString("MacAddress", deviceMacAddress);

			try
			{
				// see if the configuration file is present if not copy minimal sample one from application directory
				if (localFolder.TryGetItemAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result == null)
				{
					StorageFile templateConfigurationfile = Package.Current.InstalledLocation.GetFileAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result;
					templateConfigurationfile.CopyAsync(localFolder, ConfigurationFilename).AsTask();
					this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file missing, templated created", LoggingLevel.Warning);
					return;
				}

				IConfiguration configuration = new ConfigurationBuilder().AddJsonFile(Path.Combine(localFolder.Path, ConfigurationFilename), false, true).Build();

				azureStorageConnectionString = configuration.GetSection("AzureStorageConnectionString").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("AzureStorageConnectionString", azureStorageConnectionString);

				azureStorageContainerNameLatestFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureContainerNameFormatLatest").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ContainerNameLatestFormat", azureStorageContainerNameLatestFormat);

				azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameFormatLatest").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameLatestFormat", azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat);

				azureStorageContainerNameHistoryFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureContainerNameFormatHistory").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ContainerNameHistoryFormat", azureStorageContainerNameHistoryFormat);

				azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameFormatHistory").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameHistoryFormat", azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat);

				imageUpdateDueSeconds = int.Parse(configuration.GetSection("ImageUpdateDueSeconds").Value);
				startupInformation.AddInt32("ImageUpdateDueSeconds", imageUpdateDueSeconds);

				imageUpdatePeriodSeconds = int.Parse(configuration.GetSection("ImageUpdatePeriodSeconds").Value);
				startupInformation.AddInt32("ImageUpdatePeriodSeconds", imageUpdatePeriodSeconds);
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file load or settings retrieval failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			try
			{
				mediaCapture = new MediaCapture();
				mediaCapture.InitializeAsync().AsTask().Wait();
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera configuration failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			ImageUpdatetimer = new Timer(ImageUpdateTimerCallback, null, new TimeSpan(0,0, imageUpdateDueSeconds), new TimeSpan(0, 0, imageUpdatePeriodSeconds));

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application started", startupInformation);

			//enable task to continue running in background
			backgroundTaskDeferral = taskInstance.GetDeferral();
		}

		private async void ImageUpdateTimerCallback(object state)
		{
			DateTime currentTime = DateTime.UtcNow;
			Debug.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow.ToLongTimeString()} Timer triggered");

			// Just incase - stop code being called while photo already in progress
			if (cameraBusy)
			{
				return;
			}
			cameraBusy = true;

			try
			{
				StorageFile photoFile = await KnownFolders.PicturesLibrary.CreateFileAsync(ImageFilenameLocal, CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting);
				ImageEncodingProperties imageProperties = ImageEncodingProperties.CreateJpeg();
				await mediaCapture.CapturePhotoToStorageFileAsync(imageProperties, photoFile);

				string azureContainernameLatest = string.Format(azureStorageContainerNameLatestFormat, Environment.MachineName, deviceMacAddress, currentTime).ToLower();
				string azureFilenameLatest = string.Format(azureStorageimageFilenameLatestFormat, Environment.MachineName, deviceMacAddress, currentTime);
				string azureContainerNameHistory = string.Format(azureStorageContainerNameHistoryFormat, Environment.MachineName, deviceMacAddress, currentTime).ToLower();
				string azureFilenameHistory = string.Format(azureStorageImageFilenameHistoryFormat, Environment.MachineName.ToLower(), deviceMacAddress, currentTime);

				LoggingFields imageInformation = new LoggingFields();
				imageInformation.AddDateTime("TakenAtUTC", currentTime);
				imageInformation.AddString("LocalFilename", photoFile.Path);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureContainerNameLatest", azureContainernameLatest);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureFilenameLatest", azureFilenameLatest);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureContainerNameHistory", azureContainerNameHistory);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureFilenameHistory", azureFilenameHistory);
				this.logging.LogEvent("Saving image(s) to Azure storage", imageInformation);

				CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(azureStorageConnectionString);
				CloudBlobClient blobClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudBlobClient();

				// Update the latest image in storage
				if (!string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureContainernameLatest) && !string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureFilenameLatest))
				{
					CloudBlobContainer containerLatest = blobClient.GetContainerReference(azureContainernameLatest);
					await containerLatest.CreateIfNotExistsAsync();

					CloudBlockBlob blockBlobLatest = containerLatest.GetBlockBlobReference(azureFilenameLatest);
					await blockBlobLatest.UploadFromFileAsync(photoFile);

					this.logging.LogEvent("Image latest saved to Azure storage");
				}

				// Upload the historic image to storage
				if (!string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureContainerNameHistory) && !string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(azureFilenameHistory))
				{
					CloudBlobContainer containerHistory = blobClient.GetContainerReference(azureContainerNameHistory);
					await containerHistory.CreateIfNotExistsAsync();

					CloudBlockBlob blockBlob = containerHistory.GetBlockBlobReference(azureFilenameHistory);
					await blockBlob.UploadFromFileAsync(photoFile);

					this.logging.LogEvent("Image historic saved to Azure storage");
				}
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera photo save or upload failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
			}
			finally
			{
				cameraBusy = false;
			}
		}
	}
}

The code is still pretty short at roughly 200 lines and is all available on GitHub.

Azure Blob storage BlobTrigger .Net Webjob

With the Windows 10 IoT Core application now reliably uploading images to Azure Blob Storage I wanted a simple test application to email the images to me as they arrived. So I hacked up an Azure Webjob using the SendGrid extension and a BlobTrigger

PIR Sensor trigger

After a couple of failed attempts (due to NuGet package versioning mismatches) this was the smallest, reliable enough application I could come up with. Beware BlobTriggers are not really intended for solutions requiring high throughput and/or reliability.

/*
    Copyright ® 2019 March devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved
 
    MIT License
...
*/
namespace devMobile.Azure.Storage
{
	using System.IO;
	using System.Configuration;
	using System.Threading.Tasks;
	using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;
	using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs.Host;
	using SendGrid.Helpers.Mail;

	public static class ImageEmailer
	{
		[FunctionName("ImageEmailer")]
		public async static Task Run(
				[BlobTrigger("seeedrpibasehat190321/{name}")]
				Stream inputBlob,
				string name,
				[SendGrid(ApiKey = "")]
				IAsyncCollector<SendGridMessage> messageCollector,
				TraceWriter log)
		{
			log.Info($"C# Blob trigger function Processed blob Name:{name} Size: {inputBlob.Length} Bytes");

			SendGridMessage message = new SendGridMessage();
			message.AddTo(new EmailAddress(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["EmailAddressTo"]));
			message.From = new EmailAddress(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["EmailAddressFrom"]);
			message.SetSubject("RPI Web camera Image attached");
			message.AddContent("text/plain", $"{name} {inputBlob.Length} bytes" );

			await message.AddAttachmentAsync(name, inputBlob, "image/jpeg");

			await messageCollector.AddAsync(message);
		}
	}
}
Blob container and naming issues

This application highlighted a number of issues with my Windows 10 IoT Core client. They were

  • Configurable minimum period between images as PIR sensor would trigger multiple times as someone moved across my office.
  • Configurable Azure Blob Storage container for latest image as my BlobTrigger fired twice (for latest and timestamped images).
  • Configurable Azure Blob Storage container for image history as my BlobTrigger fired twice (for latest and timestamped images).
  • Include a unique device identifier (possibly MAC address) with image as I had two machines with the same device name on different networks.
  • Additional Blob metadata would be useful.
  • Additional logging would be useful for diagnosing problems.

I’ll look fix these issues in my next couple of posts

Windows 10 IoT Core triggered image upload to Azure Blob storage

Uploading the web camera images to Azure Storage was the next step.

PIR Sensor trigger

For my test harness (in addition to a RaspberryPI & generic USB Web camera) I’m using some Seeedstudio Grove devices

While working on this code I realised I had made some invalid assumptions about the stream and the image properties so I refactored the code (which also made it simpler).

The Windows 10 IoT Core application has support for a JSON configuration file using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration namespace functionality which took a bit of trial and error to get going.

IConfiguration configuration = new ConfigurationBuilder().
   AddJsonFile(localFolder.Path + @"\" + ConfigurationFilename, 
   false, 
   true).Build();

This gets the configuration subsystem to use the specified file in the application’s localstate folder. If there is no configuration file present i.e. the application has just been deployed for the first time or installed a template file is copied from the application install directory.

In the application configuration file you can specify the azure storage connection string, digital input port number, azure container name format (formatted machine name + Universal Coordinated Time(UTC)), the azure storage file name (formatted machine name + UTC) and the name of the file with the most recently uploaded image. These configuration settings are provided so that the image files can stored in “buckets” best suited to the way they are going to be processed.

{
  "AzureStorageConnectionString": "",
  "InterruptPinNumber": 5,
  "AzureContainerNameFormat": "{0}{1:yyMMdd}",
  "AzureImageFilenameFormat": "image{1:yyMMddHHmmss}.jpg",
  "AzureImageFilenameLatest": "latest.jpg"
} 

In my testing the pictures were stored in folders for each device/day and each image file had a timestamp in its name.

Azure Storage Explorer
/*
    Copyright ® 2019 March devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved
 
    MIT License
    ...
*/
namespace devMobile.Windows10IotCore.IoT.PhotoDigitalInputTriggerAzureStorage
{
	using System;
	using System.Diagnostics;

	using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
	using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage;
	using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage.Blob;

	using Windows.ApplicationModel;
	using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;
	using Windows.Devices.Gpio;
	using Windows.Foundation.Diagnostics;
	using Windows.Media.Capture;
	using Windows.Media.MediaProperties;
	using Windows.Storage;
	using Windows.System;

	public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
	{
		private BackgroundTaskDeferral backgroundTaskDeferral = null;
		private readonly LoggingChannel logging = new LoggingChannel("devMobile Photo Digital Input Trigger Azure Storage demo", null, new Guid("4bd2826e-54a1-4ba9-bf63-92b73ea1ac4a"));
		private const string ConfigurationFilename = "appsettings.json";
		private GpioPin interruptGpioPin = null;
		private int interruptPinNumber;
		private MediaCapture mediaCapture;
		private string azureStorageConnectionString;
		private string azureStorageContainerNameFormat;
		private string azureStorageimageFilenameLatest;
		private string azureStorageImageFilenameFormat;
		private const string ImageFilenameLocal = "latest.jpg";
		private volatile bool cameraBusy = false;

		public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
		{
			StorageFolder localFolder = ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application starting");

			// Log the Application build, shield information etc.
			LoggingFields startupInformation = new LoggingFields();
			startupInformation.AddString("Timezone", TimeZoneSettings.CurrentTimeZoneDisplayName);
			startupInformation.AddString("OSVersion", Environment.OSVersion.VersionString);
			startupInformation.AddString("MachineName", Environment.MachineName);

			// This is from the application manifest 
			Package package = Package.Current;
			PackageId packageId = package.Id;
			PackageVersion version = packageId.Version;
			startupInformation.AddString("ApplicationVersion", string.Format($"{version.Major}.{version.Minor}.{version.Build}.{version.Revision}"));

			try
			{
				// see if the configuration file is present if not copy minimal sample one from application directory
				if (localFolder.TryGetItemAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result == null)
				{
					StorageFile templateConfigurationfile = Package.Current.InstalledLocation.GetFileAsync(ConfigurationFilename).AsTask().Result;
					templateConfigurationfile.CopyAsync(localFolder, ConfigurationFilename).AsTask();
					this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file missing, templated created", LoggingLevel.Warning);
					return;
				}

				IConfiguration configuration = new ConfigurationBuilder().AddJsonFile(localFolder.Path + @"\" + ConfigurationFilename, false, true).Build();

				azureStorageConnectionString = configuration.GetSection("AzureStorageConnectionString").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("AzureStorageConnectionString", azureStorageConnectionString);

				azureStorageContainerNameFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureContainerNameFormat").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ContainerNameFormat", azureStorageContainerNameFormat);

				azureStorageImageFilenameFormat = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameFormat").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameFormat", azureStorageImageFilenameFormat);

				azureStorageimageFilenameLatest = configuration.GetSection("AzureImageFilenameLatest").Value;
				startupInformation.AddString("ImageFilenameLatest", azureStorageimageFilenameLatest);

				interruptPinNumber = int.Parse( configuration.GetSection("InterruptPinNumber").Value);
				startupInformation.AddInt32("Interrupt pin", interruptPinNumber);
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("JSON configuration file load or settings retrieval failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			try
			{
				mediaCapture = new MediaCapture();
				mediaCapture.InitializeAsync().AsTask().Wait();
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera configuration failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			try
			{
				GpioController gpioController = GpioController.GetDefault();
				interruptGpioPin = gpioController.OpenPin(interruptPinNumber);
				interruptGpioPin.SetDriveMode(GpioPinDriveMode.InputPullUp);
				interruptGpioPin.ValueChanged += InterruptGpioPin_ValueChanged;
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Digital input configuration failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
				return;
			}

			this.logging.LogEvent("Application started", startupInformation);

			//enable task to continue running in background
			backgroundTaskDeferral = taskInstance.GetDeferral();
		}

		private async void InterruptGpioPin_ValueChanged(GpioPin sender, GpioPinValueChangedEventArgs args)
		{
			DateTime currentTime = DateTime.UtcNow;
			Debug.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow.ToLongTimeString()} Digital Input Interrupt {sender.PinNumber} triggered {args.Edge}");

			if (args.Edge == GpioPinEdge.RisingEdge)
			{
				return;
			}

			// Just incase - stop code being called while photo already in progress
			if (cameraBusy)
			{
				return;
			}
			cameraBusy = true;

			try
			{
				StorageFile photoFile = await KnownFolders.PicturesLibrary.CreateFileAsync(ImageFilenameLocal, CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting);
				ImageEncodingProperties imageProperties = ImageEncodingProperties.CreateJpeg();
				await mediaCapture.CapturePhotoToStorageFileAsync(imageProperties, photoFile);

				string azureContainername = string.Format(azureStorageContainerNameFormat, Environment.MachineName.ToLower(), currentTime);
				string azureStoragefilename = string.Format(azureStorageImageFilenameFormat, Environment.MachineName.ToLower(), currentTime);

				LoggingFields imageInformation = new LoggingFields();
				imageInformation.AddDateTime("TakenAtUTC", currentTime);
				imageInformation.AddString("LocalFilename", photoFile.Path);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureContainerName", azureContainername);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureStorageFilename", azureStoragefilename);
				imageInformation.AddString("AzureStorageFilenameLatest", azureStorageimageFilenameLatest);
				this.logging.LogEvent("Image saving to Azure storage", imageInformation);

				CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(azureStorageConnectionString);
				CloudBlobClient blobClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudBlobClient();

				CloudBlobContainer container = blobClient.GetContainerReference(azureContainername);
				await container.CreateIfNotExistsAsync();

				CloudBlockBlob blockBlob = container.GetBlockBlobReference(azureStoragefilename);
				await blockBlob.UploadFromFileAsync(photoFile);

				blockBlob = container.GetBlockBlobReference(azureStorageimageFilenameLatest);
				await blockBlob.UploadFromFileAsync(photoFile);

				this.logging.LogEvent("Image saved to Azure storage");
			}
			catch (Exception ex)
			{
				this.logging.LogMessage("Camera photo save or upload failed " + ex.Message, LoggingLevel.Error);
			}
			finally
			{
				cameraBusy = false;
			}
		}
	}
}

I need to add some code to ensure there is a minimum gap between photos and trial some different sensors. For example, an Adjustable Infrared Switch has proved to be a better option for some of my projects.

The code is available on GitHub and is a bit of a work in progress.