Getting started for     with    

Getting started with Overlock

This guide can be broken down as follows:

  1. What you can do with Overlock
  2. Getting setup with an account
  3. Setting up your first node agent
  4. Viewing data
  5. Instrumenting Code

1. What can be reported to Overlock?

Overlock has been designed to be a perfect fit for the unique needs of logging and debugging in IoT. As Such, with Overlock you can report:

  1. Logs - Regular text logs are available (e.g. console.log() or printf()) type logging.
  2. Logging with metadata - Gateway nodes are able to send logs which are tagged as being related to, or on behalf of, another node. This permits use-cases where logging is being done to track data movement between parts of a system.
  3. Structured Logging (coming soon) - In structured logging a full object is sent to Overlock, permitting a far richer amount of data to be sent.
  4. Program State - Overlock allows storage of a state object which can be used to keep track of information like sensor readings, loop variables and other information which can be helpful when something goes wrong.
  5. Metadata - This is information about a node. Often this will include the Product, software versions, user id's and other data which can help in finding nodes as well as unpicking patterns when multiple nodes see the same errors.

Collectively, we call this Diagnostics Information. See Overlock Architecture for more detail on this.

Internally, the Overlock Agent will handle storing a local cache of this diagnostics information and only sending it back to the Overlock platform when the data will be useful (i.e. there has been a problem, or something important has happened).

2. Getting an Overlock account

Currently Overlock is in a private beta phase, so if you've not already been in touch with us, use the chat widget on the Overlock website to contact us and ask to join.

We're limiting the number of signups whilst we evaluate how useful certain features are and ensure that they're ready for prime time.

3. Setting up an Agent

This task has it's own page here.

The Overlock agent needs to be downloaded and installed on all nodes which are going to report data to Overlock. Currently the devices need to be running Linux, however we're working on support for RTOS's and other platforms.

When you've followed the instructions to add the agent, get it plugged in and connected to the internet and it will start sending data to the Overlock system. Initially, this will just be notification that the node is alive and any unknown metadata.

4. Viewing data

You can now use the Overlock UI to login and view the device you just on-boarded. This means you now have the ability to see in near real-time any defects as they occur, as well as getting a really helpful timeline for each device which makes sure you have answers at your finger-tips when customer support comes to you for help.

5. Instrumenting Code

This step also has it's own page, see the Overlock Library for Python guide

What you've seen so far really only scratches the surface of what Overlock can do. For the most value, what's needed is to 'instrument' (read: add print/log statements) to your application code which will help you to understand problems when they happen.

Naturally the reason to do this is that Overlock can then give you more information and help you get to the root cause of any problems in pilot or production IoT systems as quickly as possible.