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This directory contains the official client for interacting with the NervesHub server as a device.

Getting Started

Adding NervesHub to your project

Start by adding nerves_hub to your target dependencies in your mix.exs file. NervesHub uses SSL certificates to secure communication between the device and the server. It is important that the time on the device is set for SSL to function properly. If you are not already setting the time, you can also include nerves_time.

  defp deps(target) do
      {:nerves_runtime, "~> 0.6"},
      {:nerves_init_gadget, "~> 0.4"},
      {:nerves_hub, "~> 0.1"}
    ] ++ system(target)

Update your config for :nerves :firmware to delegate :provisioning to :nerves_hub. This will be helpful later on when programming the firmware on a device for the first time.

config :nerves, :firmware,
  rootfs_overlay: "rootfs_overlay",
  provisioning: :nerves_hub

Make sure your device connects automatically to by adding NervesHub.Supervisor to your main application supervisor:

  defmodule Example.Application do
    use Application

    def start(_type, _args) do

      opts = [strategy: :one_for_one, name: Example.Supervisor]
      children = [
      ] ++ children(@target)
      Supervisor.start_link(children, opts)

SSL options can be configured by passing them into the NervesHub supervisor. This is useful for applications that store their ssl credentials in differnt places, such as NervesKey.

  defmodule Example.Application do
    use Application

    def start(_type, _args) do
      {:ok, engine} = NervesKey.PKCS11.load_engine()
      {:ok, i2c} = ATECC508A.Transport.I2C.init([])
      nerves_key_socket_opts = [
        key: NervesKey.PKCS11.private_key(engine, {:i2c, 1}),
        cert: X509.Certificate.to_der(NervesKey.device_cert(i2c)),
        cacerts: [X509.Certificate.to_der(NervesKey.signer_cert(i2c)) | NervesHub.Certificate.ca_certs()],

      opts = [strategy: :one_for_one, name: Example.Supervisor]
      children = [
        {NervesHub.Supervisor, nerves_key_socket_opts}
      ] ++ children(@target)
      Supervisor.start_link(children, opts)

Setting up the CLI

While you can use the NervesHub website to manage devices, many operations are more convenient when run through the CLI. We recommend adding the nerves_hub_cli package to your dependency list as follows:

  defp deps do
      {:nerves, "~> 1.3", runtime: false},
      {:nerves_hub_cli, "~> 0.1", runtime: false}
    ] ++ deps(@target)

Run mix deps.get to download the nerves_hub_cli dependency.

A NervesHub account is required to use the CLI. Create a new account by running:

mix nerves_hub.user register

If you have an account, authenticate by running:

mix nerves_hub.user auth

Creating a NervesHub product

A NervesHub product groups devices that run the same kind of firmware. All devices and firmware images have a product. NervesHub provides finer grain mechanisms for grouping devices, but a product is needed to get started.

By default, NervesHub uses the :app name in your mix.exs for the product name. If you would like it to use a different name, add a :name field to your Mix.Project.config(). For example, NervesHub would use “My Example” instead of “example” for the following project:

  def project do
      app: :example,
      name: "My Example"

For the remainder of this document, though, we will not use the :name field and simply use the product name example.

Create a new product on NervesHub by running:

mix nerves_hub.product create

Creating NervesHub firmware signing keys

NervesHub requires cryptographic signatures on all managed firmware. Devices receiving firmware from NervesHub validate signatures. Since firmware is signed before uploading to NervesHub, NervesHub or any service NervesHub uses cannot modify it.

Firmware authentication uses Ed25519 digital signatures. You need to create at least one public/private key pair and copy the public key part to NervesHub and to devices. NervesHub tooling helps with both. A typical setup has multiple signing keys to support key rotation and “development” keys that are not as protected.

Start by creating a devkey firmware signing key pair:

mix nerves_hub.key create devkey

On success, you’ll see the public key. You can confirm using the NervesHub web interface that the signing key exists.

Next, add the key’s name to your config.exs so that it can be built into your firmware image:

config :nerves_hub,
  public_keys: [:devkey]

The nerves_hub dependency converts key names to public keys at compile time. If you haven’t compiled your project yet, run mix firmware now. If you have compiled it, mix won’t know to recompile nerves_hub due to the configuration change. Force it to recompile by running:

mix deps.compile nerves_hub --force
mix firmware

Publishing firmware

Uploading firmware to NervesHub is called publishing. To publish firmware start by calling:

mix firmware

Firmware can only be published if has been signed. You can sign the firmware by running.

mix nerves_hub.firmware sign --key devkey

Firmware can also be signed while publishing:

mix nerves_hub.firmware publish --key devkey

Conditionally applying updates

Applying an update right when it is published is not always a perfect strategy. NervesHub allows a custom NervesHub.Client for this. If a client returns a bad value, or raises an exception, the client will apply the action. This is to prevent bad code from being irrecoverable.

Configure NervesHub

config :nerves_hub, client: MyApp.NervesHubClient

Implement a client

defmodule MyApp.NervesHubClient do
   @behaviour NervesHub.Client

   # May return:
   #  * `:apply` - apply the action immediately
   #  * `:ignore` - don't apply the action, don't ask again.
   #  * `{:reschedule, timeout_in_milliseconds}` - call this function again later.

   @impl NervesHub.Client
   def update_available(data) do
    if SomeInternalAPI.is_now_a_good_time_to_update?(data) do
      {:reschedule, 60_000}

Initializing devices

In this example we will create a device with a hardware identifier 1234. The device will also be tagged with qa so we can target it in our deployment group. We will select y when asked if we would like to generate device certificates. Device certificates are required for a device to establish a connection with the NervesHub server.

$ mix nerves_hub.device create

NervesHub org: nerveshub
identifier: 1234
description: test-1234
tags: qa
Local user password:
Device 1234 created
Would you like to generate certificates? [Yn] y
Creating certificate for 1234

It is important to note that device certificate private keys are generated and stay on your host computer. A certificate signing request is sent to the server, and a signed public key is passed back. Generated certificates will be placed in a folder titled nerves-hub in the current working directory. You can specify a different location by passing --path /path/to/certs to NervesHubCLI mix commands.

NervesHub certificates and hardware identifiers are persisted to the firmware when the firmware is burned to the SD card. To make this process easier, you can call nerves_hub.device burn IDENTIFIER. In this example, we are going to burn the firmware and certificates for device 1234 that we created.

mix nerves_hub.device burn 1234

Your device will now connect to NervesHub when it boots and establishes an network connection.

Creating deployments

Deployments associate firmware images to devices. NervesHub won’t send firmware to a device until you create a deployment. First find the UUID of the firmware. You can list the firmware on NervesHub by calling:

mix nerves_hub.firmware list

  product:      example
  version:      0.3.0
  platform:     rpi3
  architecture: arm
  uuid:         1cbecdbb-aa7d-5aee-4ba2-864d518417df

In this example we will create a new deployment for our test group using firmware 1cbecdbb-aa7d-5aee-4ba2-864d518417df.

mix nerves_hub.deployment create

NervesHub org: nerveshub
Deployment name: qa_deployment
firmware uuid: 1cbecdbb-aa7d-5aee-4ba2-864d518417df
version condition:
tags: qa
Local user password:
Deployment test created

Here we create a new deployment called qa_deployment. In the conditions of this deployment we left the version condition unspecified and the tags set to only qa. This means that in order for a device to qualify for an update, it needs to have at least the tags [qa] and the device can be coming from any version.

At this point we can try to update the connected device.

Start by bumping the application version number from 0.1.0 to 0.1.1. Then, create new firmware:

mix firmware

We can publish, sign, and deploy firmware in a single command now.

mix nerves_hub.firmware publish --key devkey --deploy qa_deployment